Star Trek Online is a game that seems to keep going from strength to strength. It was initially released in 2010, and yet it’s a bigger deal today than it was the year it came out. Constantly evolving, and with new content and missions added all the time, the game has found ways to breathe life into itself long after MMORG games have died.
There were several hugely expensive and much-vaunted MMORG releases that came out in the years after Star Trek Online launched, and they’re already dead. Maybe it’s Star Trek’s notoriously obsessive fan base who keep it alive? Maybe it’s the move onto PS4 and XBox that prolonged its life? Or maybe it’s just a really, really good game?
Whatever the reason for Star Trek Online’s longevity is, there’s one question which has been asked, and keeps being asked. Where is one of the biggest icons of the whole franchise? Where is Patrick Stewart’s legendary Jean-Luc Picard?
Will The New Series Bring Him Along?
Even if you’ve been living under a rock for most of the past six months, we suspect you’ve heard that Stewart has finally agreed to reprise his most famous role. It made headlines everywhere when the news was announced, and speculation about what the show may bring with it is already at fever pitch.
Of the many interesting things Stewart said when announcing his decision to return, one was that he’d resisted until now because he felt that he’d taken the Picard role as far as he could. He simply didn’t believe he had anything fresh to bring to the character. Something has clearly changed his mind. Now that he’s preparing to become our favorite Frenchman once more, will he soften his attitude towards doing voiceover work for Star Trek Online? Time will tell.
Why Should We Expect To See Him Anyway?
That’s a fair question. Patrick Stewart doesn’t owe us anything, and ARC Games can’t write him into the game’s universe if he doesn’t want to be there. But it seems puzzling that we’re missing Jean -Luc Picard in person when we’ve had so many other characters from the Star Trek universe turn up in the game.
’Q’ turns up to entertain us every Christmas. There was a whole expansion pack based around Voyager and its adventures, which brings pretty much every major name from the TV show back to reprise their characters. More recently, the game is celebrating Deep Space ‘s 25th anniversary by bringing back as many of the cast of that show, too. Whilst the crew of The Next Generation often have reunions of their own, there’s been no TNG reunion within the game. In fact, the show as a whole has been cruelly under represented. We’ve recently enjoyed the company of LeVar Burton, who turned up as an older Captain Geordi LaForge, but there’s been no sign of his co stars.
Given how much a bigger deal of a show The Next Generation was compared to Voyager or Deep Space Nine, that just seems wrong.
Wouldn’t He Be Too Old In The Game’s World?
Only if the game allows him to be. Star Trek Online is, admittedly, set at a further point in the future than any of the television shows have thus far explored in detail. There’s been a second Klingon War, for a start, and the Borg are more or less neutered. The Iconians are back, and things in the world of the game are just that bit more futuristic. Allowing for the lifespan of a normal human being – even in a technologically advanced future – it seems likely that Captain Picard would long dead by the timeline of the game. But that shouldn’t be a barrier.
When we talk of names from the past who’ve turned up to say hello again, we can add Pavel Chekov and Spock to the list. Leonard Nimoy may sadly no longer be with us, but he recorded plenty of audio for the game, and still acts as a guiding voice when certain achievements are unlocked. More importantly, though, he appeared a Spock. And that’s because this is science fiction, and time travel is a science fiction staple.
If Patrick Stewart was on board, ARC could bring us Picard one of two ways. Either bring the Captain into the future, or send us as players into the past. It’s not like we haven’t done it before (Agents of Yesterday, anyone?), and I doubt many players would object to repeating the trick in order to bring us an old favorite.
What If He’s Never Coming At All?
Well, isn’t that a cheerful thought? But it’s one we have to face up to. There’s every chance that we’ll never get to see Captain Picard in Star Trek Online. And if that’s the case, it’ll be a double misery, because we’re unlikely to ever get Captain Kirk now, either.
The Kirk issue has been and gone, though. William Shatner went on record in 2009 to say he wouldn’t be appearing in the game, and so the whole story involving the crew of the original series was written without him. For whatever reason, he didn’t want to be involved, and now he’s missed his chance. That doesn’t have to be the case for Patrick Stewart. There hasn’t been a Next Generation game mode. It can still be written, and he can still be in it.
So, if we keep the game alive – and with all the great Discovery content and new game modes that have been released recently, it’s hard to see how we won’t – and cross our fingers, maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe we’ll get as lucky as a guy who’s just pulled off a jackpot at Vegas-Slots.co.uk. Maybe, if the new Picard series is a success, and ARC Games write the series into their in-game vision of Star Trek’s future, all the stars will align and we’ll finally get an in game appearance from Patrick Stewart.
All we can really say to that is “Make it so”!