"Star Wars 1313" is now at the mercy of Disney, as the entertainment monster has just purchased Lucas Film for $4 billion, but will this affect the game's development and whether or not it appears on next-generation consoles?
According to a report from IGN on Tuesday, this purchase has apparently placed a cloud of doubt around the project for no reason other than the fact that Disney is really looking to focus on developing titles for mobile and social platforms.
No telling about those other games. Although Star Wars 1313 is the only example to really enjoy public broadcast, LucasArts has supposedly been revving up internal development over the last couple of years. Other projects they've been working on are that Battlefront-looking shooter for Xbox Live Arcade as well as some unannounced flight sim and potentially a couple of others. (Peruse the company job site and choose your own speculation in a game I'm fond of calling, Choose Your Own Speculation.)
While history should certainly keep anyone from ruling out the possibility of the reset button being smacked on in-house development (again), neither can we assume that Disney wouldn't allow LucasArts to operate in a similar fashion to how they are today. That's why there's little reason to fear a "hostile takeover" scenario; certainly, there's no more hostile an environment for interesting ideas than the one that Lucasfilm has imposed itself on its game subsidiary for the past several years. I'll give the new foster parents a chance to rise to the ambition of doing worse instead of assuming it. The safest assumption, of course, is that little will change whatsoever.
Update: According to Fast Company, who contacted Lucasfilm for clarification, the teased mash-up between the two franchises has to do with both an Angry Birds Star Wars game and an Angry Birds Star Wars toy line that includes collectible action figures and a re-imagined version of the classic board game Jenga.
Update 2: The announcement that the announcement announced has come and gone, and now we have a release date. The Angry Birds Star Wars game is coming on the 8th of November.
So apparently cover art for Star Wars: First Assault has been leaked that indicates two things: it will be an XBOX Live Arcade title (at minimum) and is an internally developed game.
People are also speculating, what with the trigger-happy stormtroopers, that this game will be a spiritual successor to Battlefront. They'll find out soon enough, because promotional assets mean this thing can't be very far away; certainly, it would seem to be LEC's next release.
Remember, for all the latest info on Star Wars: First Assault, you'll probably want to hit Google, but if you're patient I'm sure we'll eventually catch up or something I don't know really.
Last week, Lucasfilm (the parent company of LucasArts) secretly registered several “Star Wars: First Assault” domain names like StarWarsFirstAssault.com. It was suspected that the names had something to do with a yet-to-be announced video game project.
More information has surfaced in recent days in the way of two new trademark applications submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. On August 23, 2012, Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. filed trademarks for “First Assault” (Serial Number: 85711610) and “Star Wars: First Assault” (Serial Number: 85711618).
Based off this philosophy, we get Star Wars: Detours, the most recent entry in the once-respectable Star Wars franchise, getting its own, new variation: Star Wars as comedy. Star Wars Detours riffs on the Star Wars guitar, resulting in an oh-so-hilarious trailer. Or, "Yo, dudes, the Empire is pretty chill," as the future this guy says.
I'm personally not joining until they put-out the dubsteb variaton on Star Wars, but you can feel free to watch that trailer a second time: click to confirm you'd like to hear the line, "Don't make me cut your arm off, sonny, old Ben-Ben needs grocery money" again.
For what purpose is unclear, but speculation on what the domain portends ranges from an Ewok action playset to a social game.
Whatever it is, be excited.
Develop reports that the "3D digital paint tool" Mari has received a new update with version 1.5. The features include "improved overlapping UV support, games shaders, a Maya texture export feature, shadow support and DDS Cubemap support."
The relevance is that LucasArts is using the tool for Star Wars 1313.
“Integrating Mari at LucasArts for Star Wars 1313 helped us work a lot more efficiently and contributed to making the game visually stunning,” said LucasArts visual effects supervisor Kim Libreri.
El33tonline came back from Gamescom 2012 with a lot of impressions of Star Wars 1313 after witnessing a live demo emceed by Craig Derrick. To these eager journalists, the producer of the Monkey Island special editions hilariously described the title as the first mature-themed game made by his near thirty year old studio of employ. How so? Because it's "about what it means to be a bounty hunter, it’s about surviving this dangerous world." (Aka your standard issue adolescent wish-fulfillment game.)
Perhaps even more encouragingly, LucasArts is proving that they have nothing to conceal when it comes to Star Wars 1313's framerate:
Our live demo of Star Wars 1313 was running on what appeared to be a PC of epic proportions, and I soon discovered why there was so much power necessary – visually, the game is quite simply jaw-dropping. Within the very first few split-seconds of the real-time demo beginning, the first question I had on my mind was ‘Is this a pre-rendered cut-scene?’
The developers have chosen to put a framerate counter in the corner of the screen for demonstration purposes to let those watching know it is indeed real-time, and the counter was (for the most part) locked at 33.22 frames (with a few tiny drops and increases here and there). In previous demos, the framerate counter wasn’t there, which lead to too many questions about the nature of the presentation, so they thought it was a good idea to clear up any misconceptions and put it back in.
Read the whole interview to learn about the content of the demo as well as check out some new screenshots. It was noted that the game remains in early development so no release window is being made public yet.
Finally, enjoy this brand new trailer from Gamescom. I'll be savoring it particularly because I'm beginning to have my doubts that Mom is going to let me buy a game this freaking mature!
As was announced earlier this year, LucasArts is following up its two years of absolute stasis with - I can't believe they're taking this gamble - a new Star Wars game, one that impressed so much at E3 that a number of people, including this guy, are completely sold on LucasArts as a developer. Jesus is a grudge-bearing asshole compared to the attitude of forgiveness fans of ubiquitous franchises catch when you open the spigot back up.
The full article on Digital Trends features many quotes from Star Wars 1313's creative director Dominic Robilliard, who discusses the ninety-seventh internal reorganization that led to the fructifying environment the development team enjoys today, until oppportunistic hindsight decides ten years from now that this was actually another big mess that we've now totally fixed for real this time.
Much is implied by the author about how the new guard has ostensibly turned the studio around and put it back on track or something, but I couldn't help but focus on this part:
Robilliard joined LucasArts a little more than four years ago, coming from Sony where he worked on the Getaway franchise and the “on hold” action game, Eight Days. Since he came on board, he’s worked on the Special Edition re-release of The Secret of Monkey Island and the puzzle-platformer Lucidity. He originally signed up with LucasArts to work on a game that was apparently canceled after the studio’s administration changed in 2010, so 1313 marks his first crack at Star Wars that we know of.
Well, what can we say? Subscriber numbers have been dwindling and now it's time for the inevitable: In an effort to keep The Old Republic still floating, it will go free-to-play sometime this fall. There will of course be in-game micro transactions and one has to pay for more advanced features and new content which have yet to be announced.
For a ridiculous spin on the story, here's a quote from Bioware General Manager Matthew Bromberg:
Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe.
A barrier for people who thought the game was too uninteresting to pay $14.99 per month.
Based on an invitation they extended to EGM, LucasArts will have at least one new game to show off at E3 this year. So what will it be? The perennially greenlit-and-then-cancelled Battlefront III? The aerial combat game implied by some job listings some time ago? Might we finally begin seeing some sort of video game shaped consequences of the "We hired Clint Hocking" and "We've licensed the Unreal 3 engine" announcements from like, well over a year ago?
I dunno, but even money says whatever it is will be unworthy of my time Star Wars-related. Not that it's the only thing you have to look forward to from LEC; as we told you a few weeks back, they're planning on issuing a re-release of the first two Knights of the Old Republic games sometime this year. And thank goodness, right? God knows there aren't oodles of less readily available games from their prestigious catalog that people would care to see back in circulation over a hidden gem like KOTOR.Thanks to Threepwood4life for the heads up. Poor sap thinks people still read the forums!
JP Update: Gamezone is reporting that a 'first look' of this new Star Wars franchise will screen on GTTV on May 31, with gameplay footage to be shown on June 6th.
What game is being referred to here? I'm going to assume that middle finger means "just tell me" - it's Star Wars: Battlefront III.
Yes, the oft-cancelled sequel to the lucrative shooter franchise is back in the headlines yet again thanks to a juicy interview between GamesIndustry International and Steve Ellis, co-founder of Free Radical, that sheds a little more light on how the relationship ended, and apparently it wasn't pretty.
It turns out the game was nearly finished and the publisher-developer relationship didn't sour until the arrival of that destructive force that dooms even Star Wars projects, a management shift.
In fact, it was going so well that by the end of 2007 LucasArts asked Free Radical to work on another Battlefront game, according to Ellis. "We were still at that time probably a year out from completing and releasing the first game and they asked us to sign up for the sequel.
"That was a big deal for us because it meant putting all our eggs in one basket. It was a critical decision - do we want to bet on LucasArts? And we chose to because things were going as well as they ever had. It was a project that looked like it would probably be the most successful thing we had ever done and they were asking us to make the sequel to it too. It seemed like a no-brainer."
But at the beginning of 2008 there was a shift in focus at LucasArts, with president Jim Ward stepping down in February and the axe falling later in the year on more internal staff including Peter Hirschman.
"The really good relationship that we'd always had suddenly didn't exists anymore. They brought in new people to replace them and all of a sudden we were failing milestones. That's not to say there were no problems with the work we were doing because on a project that size inevitably there will be, there's always going to be grey areas were things can either pass or fail. And all of a sudden we were failing milestones, payments were being delayed and that kind of thing."
Ellis doesn't feel the pressure from LucasArts was justified and the company became reluctant to get involved in the high stakes marketing that a triple-A title demands.
"It was a change of direction for LucasArts as a company rather than for the games that we were working on. I think what had happened was the new management had been bought in to replace the old and given an impossible mandate. It was a financial decision basically and the only way they could achieve what they had been told to do was to can some games and get rid of a bunch of staff. So that's what they did but it was quite a long, drawn out process."
When assaulted with contemporary games that are aggressively mediocre, it is understandable that Star Wars fans would prefer to reminisce about the halcyon days when, say, the Super Star Wars trilogy for the SNES was proffering some highly decent side-scrolling translations of the classic movies.
The folks at NowGamer were struck by such nostalgia and were inspired to write a feature about these 16-bit gems, and what really makes it awesome is that they thought to pursue the games' producer and lead designer Kalani Streicher for some reflections. As a result the article contains all sorts of great background info, and Streicher even expresses the desire to return to the series some kind of way, if LEC would ever be interested. Take a look.
In any case, here's the Free Radical footage:
Join the dark side and become Darth Maul(TM) using the free Darth Maul Me mobile app from Star Wars(TM): Episode I in 3D. Whether you want to turn your face completely into one of Star Wars' greatest villains, use the partial Darth Maul tattoos, or only give yourself the Sith eyes, Darth Maul Me has an option for you. Simply take a photo with your camera or use an existing photo to quickly and easily turn yourself into Darth Maul. Share your creation with your friends and encourage them to join you on the dark side.
See Star Wars: Episode I in 3D on the big screen; only in cinemas!
The blog post includes remembrances from some of the crew of The Clone Wars.
A peek at his filmography on IMDB reveals that you hardly have be a Clone Wars viewer to have enjoyed this man's work. Among a multitude of other roles, he played Mister Pitt, Elaine's needy millionaire boss on several episodes of Seinfeld, John Hammond's butler in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and the bearded wise man who sent Bruce Campbell to fetch the necronomicon in Army of Darkness (along with the poorly heeded instructions to speak three magic words).
A third installment in the hugely popular shooter franchise would seem a no-brainer, and indeed it was reported to have been being worked on a number of times by a number of different parties (on various occasions, rumors held that the contract was given to Free Radical, Rebellion, and even original Battlefront developer Pandemic), but the project never seemed able to gain any traction for whatever reason. I guess when a studio goes into transition as hyperactively as LEC does, it's more than the little games that suffer. Or maybe the game was just never turning out good, who knows.
Anyhow, the neverending story has entered a new chapter, or did a few weeks ago when everyone besides us reported on it. The latest developer associated with Battlefront III is Spark Unlimited, who turned in a Call of Duty installment several years back. Here's the evidence, as reported by Game Informer:
There are only two real pieces of evidence that have lead people to believe that Spark Unlimited is working on Star Wars: Battlefront 3. One, on its website Spark Unlimited lists in its job section that, "We are in production on an unannounced high-profile, popular game sequel for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC release." The other piece of evidence, is that it simply isn't flat out denying that Battlefront 3 is the title it is working on, on twitter. Every inquiry is met with a, "you'll have ask Lucas Arts about its franchises, we're just a developer, not publisher," response.
Though LucasArts did not develop the massively expensive online RPG and even relinquished publishing duties to EA/Bioware, Lucasfilm will be skimming 35% off the top after the game breaks even (a cut that Paulie from Goodfellas was quoted as calling "downright avaricious") as part of the licensing deal.
With the revenue they will derive from their rather envious "Do Absolutely Nothing But Manage To Fill The Coffers To Surfeit Anyway" business model, it goes without saying that the executives of the San Francisco based entertainment company will see fit to invest a little bit of that mailbox money in new and exciting interactive properties.
And I for one can't wait!
Games-industry favourite Bobby Kotick gives his much-wanted opinion on the financial odds and ends of The Old Republic here. His objectivity on the issue allows him to provide some searing insights. I'm just glad Reuters quoted the one man in the industry who doesn't make money off of World of Warcraft, and who has nothing to lose should The Old Republic - supposedly the most expensive game ever made - should succeed in the highly-competitive, but notoriously exclusive world of MMOs.
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