Mike Bithell, a veteran of the indie video game scene, recently spoke to the UK indie publication Overlode about Thomas Was Alone, his first game, and about a dream pitch of his. Simply put, what if he was able to make a Star Trek game in the vein of Phoenix Wright or other games themed around legal drama?
As he explains in a companion Twitter thread, Star Trek, has been known to riff on a variety of genres, and throughout its many variations, it's sampled many contemporary tropes and storytelling techniques. Yet despite engaging in being meta before Wandavision did (as have many others), it has had surprisingly few forrays into legal drama with classics like CSI or Law and Order. There have been a few episodes throughout that play with the genre, such as The Next Generation's "The Measure of a Man," where a legal case has to decide if the android Data is a sentient being or the property of Starfleet, but they're generally self-contained bottle episodes. Mike Bithell is interested in digging more into that with a focus on diplomatic and philosophical law. Diplomatic matters also often come up, but often are sidelined for more tension-packed elements in the show.
Mike Bithell describes his dream game as "Phoenix Wright with Star Trek uniforms" and jokes about how niche that would be by adding "the ten people who'd buy it would have a really good time." On his Twitter thread, he adds a bit more detail to the idea, such as the game focusing on a Starship that handles legal/diplomatic issues or elements like branching dialogue and puzzles. He even has some ideas of potential stories and missions for that game, such as investigating a murder on Risa, Neutral Zone incursions, overseeing the ratification of a Cardassian constitution, or handling breaches of the Temporal Prime Directive.
If you'd like to try out one of Mike's first games, Thomas Was Alone is arriving on the Nintendo Switch sometime this month.