Canceled But Not Forgotten – Star Trek Battleground by Raw Thrills

arcadehero May 22, 2020 2

Not every game that we discuss on the blog boldly goes into production, and such is the case with a videmption arcade piece developed by Raw Thrills that we talked about last year by the name of Star Trek Battleground. While the game has been canceled, game producer Matt Cianchetti was kind enough to provide me with some information on it so that we can preserve information about it for the future. Just as a note, what you’ll see in this post shows an incomplete build of the game; Had it gone on to final production, any number of things could have changed, improvements made to the frame rate (some pics show the frame rate was hovering around 30), etc.

Star Trek Battleground title screen

As a licensed title, the game was seeking to bring the world of Star Trek to videmption gaming. The franchise has appeared in standard video arcades a couple of times; In pinball several times; And standard redemption a time or two. It even recently popped up in VR for Dave & Busters. Battleground would have used a format as found in fishing games, but instead of harpooning a variety of fish, you would blast a number of ships from the Star Trek universe – spacecraft from the Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi and ultimately, the Borg. The Borg battle is where you could win the posted ticket jackpot.

Star Trek Battleground - Gameplay

Star trek Battleground - Borg battle

Each player controlled the “saucer section” of the classic USS Enterprise, using a knob controller to aim your phaser beams or photon torpedoes. Some ships would have been easier than others to take out, with the Borg cube being the most difficult of all. As you can tell from the pic above, it had a Breakout-style moving shield around it all that players would have had to chip away at, then hit the cube enough before time ran out to take it out.

Star Trek Battleground - Borg Cube ExplodesOther bonuses and power-ups were used, although not many details were provided on what they did exactly. Such things generally tend to give you a chance to clear out a bunch of enemies quickly. The cylinder/sphere item seen near the top right below is what activated those, I believe.

Star Trek Battleground (Raw Thrills)

In using the license, the game pulled heavily from The Original Series (TOS), The Next Generation (TNG) and some Deep Space 9 (DS9). The game cabinet itself had more of a New Trek look to it, but the screen also used something that Raw Thrills has experimented with, but not mass produced yet – projection mapping. The first time (that we know of) that they used it was in the unreleased Mario Part Challenge World; This upped the ante by using raised half-spheres on the playfield to give things like planets and the player’s saucers a little depth. These pics below came from the location test:

Star Trek BattlegroundWhy was the game canned, you might be wondering? Matt stated: “There are a lot of reasons that go into why we pull the plug on a game and I can’t get into the specifics on this particular project.  However, I will say that we hold ourselves to a really high standard at Raw Thrills and not every project can make it to the finish line.  It was a really fun license to work with though.” We rarely hear about why games get the ax though, although I also imagine that there are a number of titles out there which might be facing cancellation thanks to the pandemic and subsequent shut down.

Star Trek Battleground

Judging by the screenshots, it does appear that it would have had some nice special effects, and the projection mapping onto an uneven surface is one of those things that home consoles can’t do. That said, we haven’t seen many released games do that yet to any huge success (like with transparent displays). It must not have helped Battleground in this case, like it didn’t help Mario Party.

Again, thanks to Raw Thrills for taking the time to provide these screenshots and info on Star Trek Battleground, despite it being canned. While we’ll never get to play it, this is hopefully enough for you to see ‘what could have been,’ something particularly of interest to Trekkies and redemption gamers alike. What is the next piece we’ll hear about from Raw Thrills? We’ll just have to wait and see. Until then – Live Long and Prosper.

Star Trek Battleground by Raw Thrills


  1. Brian Houck May 22, 2020 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    What a shame!

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