We need to MacGyver this into existence
Stargate is a media franchise with so much potential for video game expansion.
That isn’t to say there haven’t been Stargate games in the past. Back in 1995 there was a tie-in game for the original movie. Its Metroidvania stylings were very much of the time, and while it was a fun game, there were many others out there doing the same thing and better.
Fast forward to 2010 Stargate: Resistance was released to little fanfare, so much so that there isn’t even a “Reception” in its Wiki. The game’s servers were shut down but it lives on through a fan-supported central server, but there’s no telling how popular it is. There was a mobile game, Stargate: Unleashed, and several more cancelled projects. It seems the property has been straddled with bad luck when it comes to the gaming industry.
Well, no more I say!
It’s high time we got treated to a modern, big budget Stargate game. It never lit the world up like Star Wars and Star Trek, but it’s popularity has endured through a faithful following including yours truly.
I recently re-watched all of Stargate SG-1 and I cannot stop thinking about how this incredible world and lore could be translated to gaming.
A brief history of wormhole travel
What is Stargate you ask? Well you uncultivated swine my friends here’s the skinny.
In 1928 a large metal ring, which later became known as a Stargate, was found in Giza. Fast forward over 60 years, a young Dr. Daniel Jackson is a laughing stock among archaeological communities for his radical theories on Egyptology. He is approached about a job for the United States Air Force. He becomes acquainted with the large circular construct and deciphers the hieroglyphics on it. He discovers that these symbols are used as part of a dialling system for intergalactic travel to other gates. Accompanied by Colonel O'Neill, he and a ragtag group of military personnel travel through it and wind up on a planet called Abydos.
On this planet they discover a race of serpentine creatures known as the Goa’uld who take over host bodies. These monstrosities are inherently evil and rule large sections of the universe with an iron fist. On Abydos, a Goa’uld known as Ra (named after the Egyptian god) reigns supreme. It’s discovered that he, and his fellow serpents, transplanted humans throughout the galaxy and used them as slaves. To ensure their worship they took on the guise of gods from Earth culture, most notably Egyptian, and controlled through fear using their hyper-advanced, stolen technology.
This is but a brief synopsis of the extremely layered lore the franchise has created. It’s one of the best and most elaborate in all of sci-fi.
To that end, there is so much that can be explored through the use of video games for this intellectual property.
“A serpent guard, a Horus guard and a Setesh guard…”
So with all that lore and established continuity sitting there, just about anything could be done with Stargate in the context of a video game—most genres, periods of time and platforms would work.
An obvious and effective route to take would be that of the rebooted XCOM series. A tactical, turn-based shooter based on this fiction? Oh yes please. All the tools are there for it to be executed well. The science-fiction military premise fits the XCOM mould superbly. You have a variety of weaponry of both indigenous and alien technology at your disposal, multiple races that could be playable and several enemy factions as the perfect foil.
Digging deep into the advancements the TV show Stargate SG-1 made would be a sensible move, bearing in mind just how considerably it moved the franchise forward.
SG-1 introduced many essential additions to the Stargate canon. The use of different mythologies such as Norse and Egyptian, the Jaffa resistance (enslaved race to the Goa’uld) and many other races are now pillars in the overall lore.
There is a lot of in-built variety that any developer could take advantage of. Multiple races such as the Tok’ra and Asgard could easily act as quest-giving factions. Jaffa and humans are obviously playable races, in addition to the Goa’uld, Ori and Wraith (Stargate: Atlantis) as antagonists. These different peoples and their respective technologies make a great case for the use of RPG elements, regardless of what genre a prospective game would be filed under.
Looking at the SG-1 TV show once more, there was such a breadth of alien worlds it would be extremely easy to distil this into quest structures.
With all that said, what could a modern Stargate game actually look like?
Windows of opportunity
The cheap answer here is that Stargate could be adapted to basically any kind of genre, but that’s not really good enough for you fine folk.
I immediately think of a Mass Effect-inspired, squad-based shooter with RPG mechanics. Due to the huge, varying cast of characters that have existed within the universe, there is unlimited potential for allies, team members and NPC interaction. The action throughout the show has been primarily shootouts with some occasional vehicular action. A single player experience through the Mass Effect lens would be awesome.
However, knowing certain publishers and their… tastes… it’s reasonable to predict a multiplayer element would be tacked on or created as a core tenet of the game’s design. An MMO would be easily workable as well for the above reasons and variety of worlds that can be visited. The Stargate device itself can potentially bring us to countless worlds. Perhaps more controversially but not wholly inaccurately, a live service model could be adopted, using it as a platform to continually deliver new worlds to explore.
To take a different angle on this hypothetical game, an RTS would be extremely apt. While not exactly my favourite genre (more like, I am bad at them) it’s undeniable that all the required pieces are present. Interplanetary conflicts on land and in space are a fundamental aspect to the series. The Goa’uld conflicts could be perfectly realised in this setting.
At the end of the day, I don’t care too much what form it takes and I don’t think it matters. Video games are a natural, popular and expressive way to reintroduce the IP to the masses.
You died well in battle, O’Neill
The lack of Stargate games is emblematic of the franchise’s inactivity. There was a lot of it for over 15 years so it only makes sense that it’s taking a sabbatical. The prequel web series subtitled Origins was nice to have, but the whole media is in need of a revitalisation and gaming might be the route to take. They even had a video game themed episode of SG-1.
Whether we see a reboot or if it takes place in a period of time familiar or unfamiliar, I don’t think it matters. The scope that developers can create these days is immense, and it's the perfect industry with which to create an immersive world. Or worlds.
The time is coming for a new Stargate gaming experience, I can feel it in my bones, I just hope that this time it doesn’t end up being cancelled or otherwise forgotten about.
All images taken from the Stargate wiki here
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