Did you think that Star Trek Online: Agents of Yesterday was only going to focus on jumping back in time to the original, classic series? So did I, at least until this week when the rumor that there was going to be a tie-in with the new Star Trek movies (JJ-Trek) was confirmed. Now we’re going to be doing at least one crossover with what Cryptic is calling the Kelvin timeline.
And boy does that take the wind out of the sails of my excitement here. Cryptic, it’s a bad idea and I wish it wasn’t too late to pull the plug on it.
Let’s back up and let me explain my stance on all of this. From what I have observed, among the Trek faithful, the new movies are generally either reviled for turning Star Trek into a mess of contradictions and purpose or somewhat tolerated. Maybe there’s a large group out there who loves them, I don’t know.
I’m generally on the fence about the new movies. It was an interesting idea and there was some effort to connect the movies with the prime universe instead of doing a true reboot. I liked some of the technology, hated the new Enterprise design, enjoyed Karl Urban as McCoy, disliked how McCoy got shoved into the background, found the action fun but the plot full of holes. The more I think about the movies after watching them, the more I find things to dislike about them. Into Darkness was a second (!) attempt to copycat Wrath of Khan, and boy did all of that backfire.
Elements like Tribble blood bringing the dead back to life, transporters whisking people across the galaxy (why do we need starships now?), and a Starfleet that would put a jerk ensign into the captain’s chair of the fleet’s flagship gets under my skin in a big way — and I’m not really that much of a Trekkie as I used to be. The movies are brainless fun at the expense of jettisoning the spirit and thoughtfulness of Trek.
And no, I do not hold high hopes for Star Trek Beyond. Mention the Beastie Boys trailer to Trekkies to see them wince in agony.
But I made peace with it because the movies were to remain separate from the prime universe (which, to be honest, has some pretty big story turds floating around in it), so whatever wacky liberties the filmmakers wanted to take with the movie series, at least there was a refuge where that silliness did not apply. I’ve been very glad that Star Trek Online has kept its fingers out of the JJ-Trek universe, apart from a comment about Spock and Romulus here and there.
Now we have to face a crossover, and that barrier keeping the silly-stupid out of the game has been removed. The membrane has been breached, and the poison of that universe could infect the rest of the game. OK, sure, I might be a little melodramatic here. This could be a one mission, one-time thing, just a little tie-in with the summer’s film and the Star Trek 50th anniversary. But this is also Cryptic we’re talking about, a studio that’s always been looking for more Star Trek designs and content to explore and use — particularly in its cash shop. We already know that we’re getting TOS ships, so how much you want to bet that the costumes, ships, and tech of JJ-Trek will be coming to the game at some point?
It doesn’t help that the official word on this crossover has been pretty limited. They’re bringing in one incredibly minor actor to reprise his role, which does not have me tittering with glee.
I’m just afraid that once JJ-Trek gets its foot firmly in the door of Star Trek Online, there will be no purging it, no matter how the players feel about it. And that kind of makes me disappointed, because STO has spent a lot of time building up its universe as an exciting, intricate place to game. It’s risen above the TV series in many ways, and I sincerely don’t want to see its quality dragged down to the new movies’ low standard of Trek.