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Stargate Worlds Interview

Game: Stargate Worlds
Company: Fire Sky Company

GDC has visited Austin for its second year and has brought with it the wanted gluttony of free t-shirts, stress balls, and glorious swag. One of the cool things about these conferences is the ability to take a few minutes to speak to people with whom you would not normally have the opportunity. My few minutes was with Fire Sky's Joe Ybarra who is currently Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations. Joe's taxi pulled out and an older man got out and came into the lobby of the Hilton. Though not very big in physical stature, when he stuck his hand out and began to speak, he was an explosion of energy and enthusiasm.

We sat down and ordered a Coke and I wasted no time letting him know that I was a rabid fan of the Stargate series. I was really surprised to find out that he had really done his homework on this project and knew what was going on in the series, as well as the major and minor characters. Think about that for a second. At the VP level, it is more about budget and buzz words than in the trenches writing story and design. To know as much as he did proved to me right off the bat that they were taking this project seriously.

GV: Just like Star Wars and Star Trek, Stargate has a very large and loyal following. How, in the early stages of Beta and marketing, are you speaking to the fans about your plans for their worlds?

Joe Ybarra: We have been working directly with the Stargate community for over two years now. Two months after this project began, we had the community site up and were speaking directly to the fans about what we wanted to do. We are working directly with MGM who owns the IP. They have provided us with every bit of material for the series they have. We are seeing the scripts at the same time the actors are. We have CGI assets from the movies that we have implemented directly into the game. When we approached the writers of the series about the game, they were extremely eager to work with us. They wanted us to do things in the game world that they were incapable of doing in the series.

GV: Who can I be in the game?

Joe Ybarra: You can play many of the same races that are in the show. There are both Loyalist and Free Jaffa. There are Goa'uld and Asgard.

GV: What about the Tok'ra?

Joe Ybarra: They were actually fading out as the SG1 series was coming to an end and they no longer play a huge role in the main story, so we will not be seeing much from them.

GV: So when in the storyline is SGW going to pick up?

Joe Ybarra: It starts just after the original SG1 series leaves off with the Ori still in the galaxy.

GV: What about the Atlantis mission?

Joe Ybarra: We are going to leave the Atlantis storyline out until we expand. The Atlantis storyline and the Pegasus galaxy opens up the entire discussion of space and space travel. We will have to visit that later.

GV: So what is an hour of gameplay like?

Joe Ybarra: Each individual archetype has its own unique storyline and way through the game. Our current level cap is 50. Depending on the type of character you choose, you can reach this by never killing a single enemy or taking on the universe. We want to encourage players to make and play many ALT characters to experience all that the game has to offer.

GV: Somewhere there is a person who has catalogued every single numeric designation for a world that was even just mentioned on the show. The second they get into the game, they are going to race to a gate and attempt to start dialing each one to see if it is there. That's a lot of worlds. Are you prepared for that?

Joe Ybarra: There are approximately 200 worlds for you to travel to. If it was used on the show, and you could reach it, you will be able to go there.

Our time wound down and we parted ways. I left there confident that the game was in good hands. There had been a very brief flicker of awkwardness where I brought up some past projects like The Matrix MMO. He took it all in great stride saying that every project has taught him something that he needed to know to be successful in building MMO's. Besides being the aforementioned rabid fan, I will be playing this game to see if indeed all of the years of trial have lead to a success. The BETA sign up is underway at the main site.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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