Stargate Worlds, the MMO that never was
Stargate Worlds was announced in 2006 by developer Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, and the game was to be set between season 8 and season 9 of Stargate SG1 (before the beginning of the Ori story arc). The game was set to have six playable races: Tau’ri, New Mind Goa’uld, Asgard, Jaffa, free Jaffa and Op-Core. While many of the races were classes unto themselves the Tau’ri and OP-Core had four classes: Archaeologist, Scientist, Soldier and Commando. The six playable races were also split into two factions: Stargate Union, which contained Tau’ri, Free Jaffa and Asgard, and Praxis, which contained OP-Core, Jaffa and New Mind Goa’uld. While many of the races didn’t have classes per say they could use a talent system to specialise, for example, a New Mind Goa’uld could specialise as an Ashrak (a rogue like melee class).
Stargate World was set to delve deeper into the universe the TV series had created, for example, the OP-Core was made up of Rogue NID agents and those who used their knowledge of the Stargate program for nefarious purposes. A draft of the OP-Core opening, which can be seen below, did flesh out the evil human faction.
The reason why I use the word “seemingly” is that well the alpha and beta didn’t contain a lot of the story. Although, following the collapse of the game, parts of the story were leaked. According to the leak, the story was to involve the resurrection of Ra (the villain from the original Stargate movie) and his attempt to re-conquer the galaxy with the remaining Goa’uld and Loyal Jaffa. To make sure his plan succeed Ra also had an army made up of a new crystal-like race called the Straegis, later in the story it was to be revealed that the Straegis were, in fact, the Furlings who were damaged and enslaved by Ra. In terms of faction specific stories, the New-Mind Goa’uld was a new Goa’uld group birthed by Anat who withheld the complete racial memory of the Goa’uld from this new group. Ba’al was set to be involved with the Praxis as one of its leaders but was driven out after the player character learned of his attempt to assassinated Anat. The story was also set to dive deeper into the dissolution of the Alliance of Four Races. An early draft of the story was set to be labelled cannon by MGM (Stargate rights holder), but it is unsure if the finalised story was labelled cannon by MGM. As a Stargate fan, I am disappointed the story never materialised as it sounded like something lore fans would enjoy.
While the story was far from fully implemented, the beta did contain several quests, and in my mind, the OP-Core starting zone of The Castle offered the best set of quests. The quest chain in The Castle was a simple prison break that starts with your character being forcefully awoken from stasis sleep following an attack by the OP-Core, upon waking up you are taught the basics of the game, which include the cover system and hacking mini-game. After you learn the basics you had to fight numerous NID guards in single-player instanced corridors, when you reached the final instanced corridor you open the security doors and the game opens up and has you interacting with other players. I remember being amazed by the transition the first time I tested Stargate Worlds because it felt like an actual prison break with the sounds of alarms and guards screaming as escapees shot their way to the exit. Once you reached the exit of the prison you were greeted with a snow-covered mountainous landscape. Now outside the prison, you had to find the DHD control crystal to finish your escape, and if I remember correctly to get the crystal you had the option of killing a named mob or killing trash mobs until it dropped. Once you got the crystal you were free to escape the prison and go to the Praxis capital of Harset. Now, you might think that what I described was boring, but the atmosphere made the whole experience incredibly immersive.
So, let’s talk about Stargate Worlds’ gameplay. From what was talked about and playable during the alpha and beta, Stargate Worlds was setting up to have some truly interesting gameplay, especially when it came to combat. Stargate Worlds was set to be a tab-target hot-key based MMORPG that offered a truly interesting cover system. The cover system was interesting as nearly any object you encountered could offer some degree of cover, the way the game determined the effectiveness of a piece of cover was via a circular radar like element on your HUD, this radar showed how strong the cover was and how much of your body was protected. What added to the interesting nature of Stargate Worlds’ cover system is the fact it was built from the ground up on the Unreal 3 engine. While the cover system and by extension ranged combat was the main component of combat, Stargate Worlds was set to give the archaeologist an interesting combat system. The archaeologist was set to use a conversation mini-game to resolve combat, but the archaeologist never made it into the alpha or beta and so there is no definitive way of knowing how the conversation mini-game would have worked.
Speaking of mini-games Stargate Words was set to include at least six mini-games, including the DHD. While six mini-games where planned only two made it into the beta, the first was a hacking mini-game called Livewire where players had to clip the correct wires in order to hack into a device, and the second was the DHD, which while not necessarily a mini-game it offered players the option of either manually or auto-dialling new locations (the amount of times I shouted chevron encoded while manually dialling was way too high).
In terms of playable content in the Stargate Worlds alpha and beta, only 6 out of the 8 classes were playable and out of those six, one had a major game breaking bug and the remaining 5 weren’t fully complete. In terms of planets, there were a total of 10 accessible worlds, which were: Beta Site, The Castle, Dakara, Harset, Iphet Crater, Lucia, Menfa, Omega Site, Stargate Command and Tollana. The 10 planets were in varying degrees of completion with the capital planets of Omega Site and Harset appearing to be almost fully finished. The game also only really had human weapons and armour fully implemented alongside some Jaffa weaponry. Finally, the game’s crafting system never truly made it into the beta, while the system was added into the game before the beta ended, it wasn’t fully functional.
As you might imagine the alpha and beta did contain a number of bugs and issues, these included floating objects, and a duplication bug, which I hilariously saw take down a developer investigating it.
When it came to the game’s graphics and audio, the alpha and beta never seemed to have any final version assets as characters and some buildings were very rough, in particular, characters had a rather low polygon count and rough textures. Now, my basis for saying the characters seemed rough is due to the fact that there was a Stargate Worlds video placed on the MGM licensing website that showed far more detailed and higher resolution character models. In terms of audio, Stargate Worlds was fantastic even though the game was far from feature complete. Nick LaMartina, who served as Sound Designer and later Senior Sound Designer created amazing ambient sound effects, amazing original music, and some truly Stargate weapon sound effects. It really is cruel that his work won’t be heard by more people.
There is so much I could say about my time with Stargate Worlds, but I will finish this opinion piece by saying Stargate Worlds was a game that showed a lot of potential, and it is really unfortunate that the game has being lost to the annals of time as Stargate and MMORPG fans have seemingly forgotten the game.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.