End of an Era
LucasArts closed last April and the gaming community is still hearing about the details of it's closure. The sad fact is that LucasArts wasn't even that big of a gaming studio. One can only wonder what would happen if a giant studio like Electronic Arts went under. Anyway a report was released yesterday about the final games that LucasArts was considered and we will examine them in detail in this article.
Here is the report if you would like to examine it in greater detail before we begin our analysis.
The Final List
The last Star Wars games being developed by LucasArts were not "exceptional" except for one title that we will disucss at the end. The list represents a studio's last attempt to "reach" out to social media and alternative gaming platforms like handheld devices. Any computer nerd can tell you that desktop gaming is the purest form of computer gaming. Here are the final products that LucasArts was considering for release and some of them were almost complete.
- Death Star
- First Assault
LucasArts was also working on another game called, Day of the Tentacle, but due to the studio being primarily a Star Wars peddler we will focus on those games for the duration of the article.
The final Star Wars games being considered by LucasArts gaming studio were almost ready for prime-time. In this section we are going to look at each title and what it was designed to do. Remember, by the time of it's closure in April of 2013, LucasArts was not a studio that was doing well. The studio was treading water and had already implemented a hiring freeze. Ever since the Disney buyout LucasArts was being considered for closure. They needed an awesome game to prevent that, but Disney didn't deem anything they were working on as "revolutionary" and instead opted to outsource all Star Wars development to Electronic Arts. If you know your studios it is Electronic Arts that runs The Old Republic.
Smuggler was an upcoming Star Wars themed Social Media game. No, it wouldn't have featured Han Solo (pictured above) in an awesome open-world, sandbox, adventure across the galaxy makign deals and trading with Hutts like we all want. That would have been too much fun and who wants to take risks and design a game that is fun? The game would allow you to trade and smuggle merchandise across Facebook, computers, and consoles. I have no idea what this "merchandise" is, but knowing Star Wars it probably has something to do with Death Sticks and Spice. In my opinion this seems to be LucasArts attempt to copy Farmville and anyone who knows games knows that copying a successful franchise is not automatic success.
Outpost was an upcoming Star Wars themed top-based empire builder that would probably be playable on a distribution website or social media. You might be familiar with the Command and Conquer free-to-play empire builder game. It is called Tiberium Wars not the upcoming Command and Conquer free to play Generals 2. Outpost would have been similar to Tiberium Wars. It would allow you to build an empire from a top-down view and then challenge rival players for territory. This game would not have been revoutionary, but probably another failure like Smuggler.
Death Star was an upcoming Star Wars themed game for iOS or for apple products like an Ipad or Iphone. It probably would be purchased as an app and allow you to command the Death Star and go on a planet killing spree. This game actually does interest me and it would have been fun to take command and blow up planets across the galaxy.
1313 was originally planned to be a Grand Theft Auto styled game set on Coruscant. Where you would take command of a bounty hunter and work within the seedy side of the capital city. It would have been a massive sandbox experience where you got to explore the underside of the city planet that we became so familiar with in the prequels, but this changed. It changed before LucasArts went under.
Instead of being a sandbox, open-world, thriller where you got to fill the shoes of an unknown bounty hunter it became a game where you were given a bounty hunter and had to complete missions -again on Coruscant. This was shown off at E3. Check the trailer out below.
The trailer actually looks really good for an unfinished product. You would have been a Bounty Hunter sent into the under levels of Coruscant to complete missions and headhunt. It is rumored that LucasArts was almost done and that this game was the reason LucasArts was being considered for a buyout by Electronic Arts, but something changed. George Lucas wanted the game to feature, Boba Fett.
So 1313 changed again and this time it was due for a complete overhaul. Instead of making a bounty hunter (or being given one) you had to fill the shoes of Boba Fett. Some people might think this is awesome, but I would have prefered making a Bounty Hunter in my image and doing my own thing in the under levels.
With the final change players would have to fill the shoes of Boba Fett and complete pre-destined quests to complete the game. It is a sad tale and one of the reasons I imagine that the studio was not bought out, because there is nothing new here.
The final Star Wars themed game under consideration was called First Assault. It would have been a game styled after Call of Duty and familiar to Battlefront fans (which was a decent game).
Originally the game was to be set in the post-ROTJ era. Where the scattered remnants of the Empire fought against the Rebel Alliance ascendent. However, this changed and George Lucas wanted the game to be a precursor to Battlefront so like 1313 the gaming studio had to remodel the game and fit it into the Clone Wars. Instead of being a game that would compete with Call of Duty it became a plan for a decade long journey to reintroduce Battlefront.
They should have stuck with the first plan because it would have been a lot better and again if successful it could have saved the company.
The Final Verdict
LucasArts is history and so is George Lucas. In my opinion that is a good thing. In this article we have explored LucasArts vain attempt to compete with Social Media. Games like: Smuggler and Outpost would have been failures. There is no question about it. An iOS app like Death Star might have been moderately successful and fun to play. But, the biggest failure is with the two flagship games 1313 and First Assault. It make me angry to think that the original plans for these games were so good and fresh, but were ruined because they didn't conform to Lucas's vision of a successful game.
Like the prequels their chances were squandered before they were even realized and now our only hope lies with Electronic Arts. If The Old Republic is the standard to beat I don't think they will have a hard time making a better game, but who knows. I think the Star Wars video game's finest hour is in the past and that the future is dark.