One of the coolest – and most secretive – previews of last year’s E3 was that of Star Trek, a new game from Paramount that was being developed by Digital Extremes (BioShock 2, Unreal Tournament, Dark Sector, The Darkness II). It’s visuals, Mass Effect style gameplay and built-for-co-op structure impressed us enough that it made our list of most anticipated games of 2012.

Little did we know that the sci-fi action RPG would not actually be coming out this year. Earlier today, Paramount Pictures and Namco Bandai jointly announced that they’re teaming up to co-publish and distribute Star Trek with a Q1 2013 release date. They also confirm that it’ll release on “all major home consoles and PC,” meaning the Nintendo Wii U players will also be able to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Star Trek lets players play as fan-favorites and poster boy characters Captain Kirk and Spock, set in the J.J. Abrams movie reboot universe. When we first heard about the game being a tie-in with the film, some fans (and us) were understandably concerned, but this is the type of “movie tie-in” done right, in that it’s not actually tied down to a specific release date to coincide with the release of Star Trek 2 next summer.

What we saw last year was impressive and with today’s announcement of the 2013 date, there’s still a full year on top of that to perfect this game, hopefully taking notes from what this year’s best titles (including Mass Effect 3) offer fans.

While we still don’t have a clear idea of gameplay – outside of the pre-alpha gameplay video – or any new images, we do have five Star Trek screenshots from December that are worth looking at – Note how the aesthetic (and bright lens flares) are taken straight from the film’s design choices.

Story and characters will be the cornerstones of Star Trek with Kirk and Spock’s opposing philosophies and personalities offering a unique take on the co-op relationship as they attempt to stop a “legendary race” from taking over the galaxy. The story of the game is being written by Marianne Krawczyk (God of War) with writer-producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Orci and Kurtzman are of course currently at work shooting Star Trek 2, having previously been responsible for big-budget blockbusters including Star Trek, Transformers, Cowboys & Aliens along with TV shows including Fringe and Hawaii Five-0.

The more development time the better.

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