The Starship Enterprise is in trouble and, as usual, Capt. James T. Kirk has a plan to save it.
William Shatner, who played the swashbuckling spacefarer in the Star Trek television series and movies, is voicing Kirk in a new computer video game in the face of ebbing interest in the Star Trek franchise.
The game Star Trek: Legacy, due out in October, will let players steer more than 60 starships - spanning all five of the franchise's live-action TV series - into combat against foes such as the militant Klingons and the all-assimilating Borg.
With the exit from TV last year of Star Trek: Enterprise, and the next feature film not expected until 2008, some fans fret that Starfleet is showing vulnerability - not to photon torpedoes and cloaking devices but to audience apathy.
Shatner, who said he doesn't play video games but has a grandson who is keen to teach him, hopes the medium can keep the Star Trek flame burning.
The interest in 'Star Trek' has waned in the last couple years, Shatner told Reuters in a telephone interview. It's been around a long time, it's a staple of American life and I think we need something new and different in 'Star Trek.'
The first Star Trek television show, created by Gene Roddenberry and starring Shatner, aired in 1966.
In recent years Shatner's TV acting career has heated up as he won Emmys for playing eccentric lawyer Denny Crane in two shows, Boston Legal and The Practice. He last lent his voice to a video game in 1997's Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, according to the Internet Movie Database.
I couldn't imagine someone else playing Captain Kirk, even in a video game, so I kind of got a little territorial, he said.
Apart from Legacy, other upcoming Trek titles include a space combat game for handheld devices, as well as an online computer game that will let huge numbers of players seek out new life and new civilizations simultaneously.
If it's a good game, keeping true to the characters the best they can and having an interesting story that branches, I think a game can bring a freshness to a franchise like 'Star Trek,' Shatner said.
Star Trek: Legacy is being published by Bethesda Softworks, which also was behind the hit fantasy role-playing game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for PCs and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 game console.