(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is a 1997 computer game, developed and published by Interplay, in which the player takes the role of a cadet at Starfleet Academy taking command classes who becomes involved with a plot involving a terrorist group known as the Vanguard.
The game is enhanced with numerous interactive live action scenes that can affect crew performance, which feature William Shatner as Kirk, Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, and George Takei as Captain Hikaru Sulu as celebrity guest instructors at the school.
The game features a number of simulator training missions – including the dreaded Kobayashi Maru scenario. Others are based on the exploits of Kirk's Enterprise: for instance, a simulated recreation of Battle of the Mutara Nebula, which Captain Kirk notes ruefully is used to reinforce the need to take the proper defensive precautions when encountering a non-communicative ship he neglected in the actual incident.
- From the box
- There is a Place in the Galaxy Where Legends are Born. WELCOME TO STARFLEET ACADEMY.
- Captain Kirk, Commander Chekov, Captain Sulu. Before they were legends, they were cadets at the most celebrated training facility in the universe – Starfleet Academy.
- A vast array of missions will test your ingenuity, leadership and courage – and determine if you've got what it takes to graduate first in your class. Going where no simulator has gone before, you'll take on 30 of the universe's finest starships, from cloaking Klingon Birds of Prey to the Romulan Heavy Cruiser. All the while, Captain Kirk, Commander Chekov, and George Takei in a special appearance as Captain Sulu, are there to provide instruction as well as inspiration.
- Key Features
- The first and only Star Trek action/flight simulator.
- The ultimate in starship battle realism with translucent texture mapping and real-time color light sourcing.
- Featuring filmed footage of the original Star Trek actors for the first time in any Star Trek computer game.
- Award-winning music from the composer of dozens of Star Trek TV Episodes.
In the year 2288, two years before Captain Sulu takes command of the USS Excelsior, Cadet David Forrester (the player) enrolls in Starfleet Academy's command college. There, he is tasked to work with a team and build a bridge crew. At first, the team's bristling personalities do not coalesce very well. Despite success in their simulated training missions, Cadet Geoff Corin, the helmsman, and Cadet Robin Brady, the engineer, struggle academically; Corin because of his penchant for an active social life and Brady because of his introverted personality and both of whom have taken a liking to Cadet Faith Gage.
As captain of the team, Forrester struggles to deal with his teammates difficulties and ultimately sets them on the right paths, but, problems are complicated further when Cadet Vanda M'Giia, the Andorian communications officer, suffers a tragic personal loss when her mother is killed when an unknown attacker destroys her home colony on the planet Biceia. Meanwhile, Commander Chekov enlists Forrester's help in developing new simulator missions for use at the Academy.
Within the ranks of the cadets, there is a ground swell of anti-Klingon sentiment, many of whom believe that the Empire is responsible for the destruction of the Federation colony. A group known as the "Vanguard", led by Cadet Frank Malan, begin speaking out about Federation policies towards potentially aggressive races, such as the Klingons and the Romulans. Soon, Forrester's Vulcan science officer, Sturek, is involved in a mysterious explosion at an Academy science lab containing data revealing who the real attackers of the colony were. Sturek is confined to quarters and an investigation is launched. While the command staff believe that Sturek is innocent, they recruit Forrester to help them determine who the real culprits are, after Forrester learns how James Kirk reprogrammed the Kobayashi Maru scenario from the captain himself.
Forrester is confronted by Faith Gage, who informs Forrester that she believes that Brady may have been involved in the bombing, having observed a bomb schematic in his quarters shortly before the explosion. Because of Forrester's work with Chekov, he is able to access the Academy's computer lab and the two of them set out to confirm Gage's findings, but, when it becomes clear that it was she who was responsible for the explosion and that she is a member of the Vanguard, she attempts to kill Forrester with a phaser, only to be apprehended by Captain Sulu. Sturek is cleared of all suspicion.
However, the Vulcan soon sets to work to recover the data that was lost in the explosion and determine who the attackers of Biceia really were. Captain Kirk soon delivers a fragment of the attacking vessel from another incident to Sturek and he and Forrester set to work to analyze it. Meanwhile, Brady informs Forrester that M'Giia has been attending Vanguard meetings. Wounded over the death of her mother, she believed that the Vanguard had all the answers she was looking for. Confronted by Forrester, the two of them hatch a plan to infiltrate the organization.
The Vanguard (with Malan in particular) hope to install Captain Kirk – their personal hero because of his experience in dealing with the Klingons and his penchant for molding Starfleet rules and regulations – as the leader of the "New Federation" and set explosives in the offices of key Federation officials and Starfleet security. Forrester brings Kirk with him and deceives the Vanguard into believing that Kirk will cooperate with them. However, Forrester uses the opportunity to blow out the timers on the explosives while Kirk subdues the Vanguard with a phaser set on wide-angle stun.
Shortly before graduation, Forrester and Sturek are able to complete their analysis of the alien attackers, whom Sturek names the "Meclanti", and believe they have found a way to communicate with them by mimicking their actions. The Academy board is impressed and, with Captain Kirk's convincing, gives Forrester's crew of cadets command of the Enterprise for two months in an attempt to locate the Meclanti. The new crew of the Enterprise sets out into space.
Near the Klingon Neutral Zone, the Enterprise finds more evidence of Meclanti attacks and is soon alerted by a distress call from a Klingon planet that the Meclanti are in Klingon space. With permission obtained from the Klingon planet to cross the border, the Enterprise comes face to face with the Meclanti. Sturek's plan to mimic the actions of the Meclanti proves successful and communications are established. The Enterprise crew learns that the Meclanti are searching for a planet rich in dilithium crystals to sustain themselves and promise to find them such a world within Federation space. However, a rogue band of Klingon ships arrive and plan to destroy the aliens once and for all by detonating the system's star and wipe them out with a supernova. The Enterprise is able to destroy the rogue Klingons, save the Meclanti, and keep them out of the tensions between the Federation and the Empire.
Returning command of the Enterprise back to Captain Kirk, the captain informs them that Chancellor Gorkon is most impressed with the Federation's actions in this matter. While Kirk is skeptical about Gorkon's motives, he raises a toast to the next generation of Starfleet of which Forrester and his crew is sure to be a part of.
- Interplay contracted Ron Jones, composer for several I AM ERROR episodes, and Brian Luzietti for the game's soundtrack, a CD of which was included in some versions of the game. Jones' score for the game was later re-released in 2010 on the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project soundtrack collection.
- The game was initially released for the PC in 1997. Those who pre-ordered the PC version of the game got a free copy of the novelization and a CD of the game's soundtrack. This was followed by a port to the Macintosh. A limited edition was also sold with an exclusive three-inch metal miniature figurine of the female Andorian cadet, Vanda M'Giia.
- In 1998, a DVD-ROM version of the game was released. In this version, the quality of the cutscenes was upgraded to the MPEG-2 standard, comparable to that of DVDs.
- The game received an expansion pack in 1998 called Chekov's Lost Missions. In 2000 a second game, Star Trek: Klingon Academy, was released by Interplay.
- There were two limited versions of the game released for PCs. One, known as Strategic Command included only the first eight levels of the campaign and could either be purchased on its own or later as part of the Gamefest: Star Trek Classics compilation set. There was also a version called Cadet Briefing which only included the first four levels and was sold as part of the US Star Trek: Federation Compilation set and in Germany with the November 1999 issue of PC Games Plus magazine.
- Early announcements were made of versions of the game for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn , and a date of late 1997 was provided by Interplay for the PlayStation version , but neither port was ultimately released.
- The game was made available as a digital download through Steam and GOG.com in May 2015, along with a number of other Interplay Star Trek titles.
- Although Sulu introduces himself as a captain, he appears wearing commander insignia with the yellow ochre of helm operations instead of captain insignia with command white.
- A Starfleet Academy badge ribbon, used in one of the live action scenes, was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- William Shatner as James T. Kirk
- George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
- Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
- Jeff Glenn Bennett as additional voices (voice)
- Chuck Beyer as Robin Brady
- Christopher Carroll as Vanguard Spokesperson
- Christal Chacon as Darvi Zora
- George Clifton as Dukret (voice)
- Jodie Codie-Fisher as Telepath
- Chris Cote as McNeal (voice)
- Jim Cummings as Kestel / Kamath / addition voices (voice)
- Leslie Dannon as Faith Gage
- Brett Donowho as Sturek
- Tom Farrell as Caldoss
- Peter Flanders as Frank Malan (voice)
- Joseph Hardin as Toracles Varo / Konovin (voice)
- Clynell Jackson III as Vor
- Kelly Kidneigh as Anne Trava / Shantur Tenek (voice)
- Peter Kluge as David Forrester
- Daamen J. Krall as Thomas Horn / Marcai Mav
- Cari Lamb as Jason Royce / Durka / M5K
- Bob Langenboucher as Newscaster
- Rodger LaRue as Jacob McNeill
- Allan Lewis as Geoff Colond (voice)
- Ming Lo as Hseih
- Shana Lynch as Allison Morel
- Tress MacNeille as additional voices (voice)
- Cameo Martin as Jessie Owens
- Bart McCarthy as Zashar (voice)
- Dominic Oliver as Shulaman / Var
- Christine Parsa as Maggie Horn
- Joseph Pilato as Emdervoss / Klingon Spokesperson
- Jamieson Price as John Tarkinton / Marqa
- Steve Ralston as Davai (voice)
- Stephanie Richards as Francis Neill
- Julianna Robinson as Vanda M'Giia
- Don Short as Jonathan Davies / Velur
- Patricia Skeriotis as Jana Akton
- Steve Stevens, Jr. as Derek Brentwood / Davat
- Rob Sullivan as Tharos Greenly
- Christopher Thomas as Alshoff
- CeCe Tsou as Jasmine Lee
- Chris Weeks as Commandant Rotherot
- Ray Young as Mark Grear / Kumas
- Craig Hurley as additional voices (voice)
- Ray Uhler as additional voices (voice)
- Frank Welker as additional voices (voice)
- Produced by
- Rusty Buchert
- Martin Denning
- Music by
- Ron Jones
- Brian Luzietti
- Cinematography by
- Christopher Nibley
- Film Editing by
- William Paul Dornisch
- Makeup Department
- Art Department
- Eugene Jarvis – artist
- Adam Rote – lead designer
- Sound Department
- Gregory R. Allen – sound designer
- Gregg Barbanell – foley artist
- Paul Coogan – boom operator
- Charles Deenen – sound designer / sound re-recording mixer / sound supervisor
- Craig Duman – sound master
- Larry Peacock – sound designer / sound
- Caron Weidner – dialogue editor / foley editor
- Visual Effects by
- Tim Holtermann – visual effects artist
- Brian Thomas – 3D visual effects animator
- Brandon MacDougall – 3D designer
- Editorial Department
- Johnny Wilson – assistant editor
- Other crew
- Chris Avellone – mission designer
- Jim Martin – spacecraft design
- Jean Smit – dialogue mixer: foreign
- In memory of William Paul Dornisch