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Update: Thanks to Shmargin for pointing out that it's not available for Android everywhere yet. It's currently an exclusive release in Australia and New Zealand.

Tiny Death Star, the Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game (complete with the series' signature 8-bit graphical style), is available now on Google Play for Android phones and tablets. It was developed by Disney Mobile (as was expected with casual Star Wars games after the Disney merger) and Tiny Tower developer Nimblebit.

Interestingly, LucasArts is listed as the publisher, so it would appear that the remodeled LucasArts has retained it's function as a publisher as well as a licensor.

Comments: 1 / Source: Shmargin
Disney's LucasArts licensing house plods on, with their first release post-restructuring. Angry Birds Star Wars II was released yesterday for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

This sequel actually is based on the Star Wars prequels, changing the titular birds into Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Jar Jar Binks. This time you can also turn to the dark side in the pork side mode and play as a Tie Fighter pilot, Zam Wesell, and Emporer Palpatine. The Hasbro Telepod toys can also be scanned in to unlock characters, but they're not required to play.

It seems there's more reason than a simple cash grab behind the fact that LucasArts is continuing to license Star Wars to outside casual game developers instead of having Disney Interactive develop them as the early press releases about Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm would suggest.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney Interactive has pulled back production in other areas in order to pour its resources into Disney Infinity, Disney's version of Activision's Skylanders (the game where you purchase toys that are then detected by the game, making the character available for play).

Disney is putting so much into this project that Disney Interactive stopped production on the Iron Man game they had in development and passed on the opportunity to make any Star Wars games. Strangely, Angry Birds Star Wars II will feature the debut of Hasbro's Telepods, which seem to be a direct competitor of both Skylanders and Disney Infinity. However, since the Telepods have a simple QR scan rather than saving the data in the toy like Skylanders, Disney must feel there is room for both products.

At the very least, at least this means the LucasArts licensing house still has a use, since it previously seemed kind of redundant after the announcement of the exclusive licensing deal with EA. Now we'll just have to wait to see if they realize that they have other intellectual property besides Star Wars that they can license out.

And not just one sequel... potentially three more Gungan Frontier games!

Fusible has found a few new domain names that Lucasfilm has registered. There's a few interesting ones in here besides Gungan Frontier:

Now Lucasfilm, which was acquired by Disney last year, has registered a slew of new domain names that include titles like: Star Wars Alliance, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Wolf Pack, Wolf Pack Adventures, Order 67, Bothan Spies, Gungan Frontier 2, Gungan Frontier 3, Gungan Frontier 4, and Wookie Hunters.

Comments: 2 / Source: Fusible
Raven Software expresses their grief in the best way possible.

“Raven is sad to hear about the closing of LucasArts today, we respected them and enjoyed working with them over the years,” said the studio, in a statement sent to Kotaku Australia. “We wish the best for all the talented people who were let go and hope they find good work in studios in the industry.

“We loved and appreciated the experience of getting to make Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy for LucasArts. As a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with.

Well, that's kind of neat! Grab Jedi Knight II here and Jedi Academy here.
Comments: 8 / Source: Kotaku

Sources close to Kotaku, presumably the same ones that recently revealed Star Wars 1313 is on hold, are now claiming that Star Wars: First Assault, that Battlefront-sounding XBLA shooter that was never officially announced, is no longer assured an existence.

The real scoop is that First Assault was in fact intended to be a sort of proof of concept for a Star Wars shooter running on the Unreal Engine, the success of which will directly lead to Battlefront III. The story is that LEC intentionally kept that brand off of this downloadable multiplayer game, which is nearly finished, "so expectations wouldn't be too high," and would have followed up with the long-awaited sequel.

Well, that was once the idea, anyway. Despite intending to release a closed beta of First Assault in September (which ties in nicely with October's minimal leaked reveal of the game), it seems that LucasArts has pretty much halted all their projects in the wake of the Disney acquisition. The reasoning? Apparently, there may be a sense that the Lucasfilm slate needs cleaning, a theory that the recent cancellation of Clone Wars and a second planned Star Wars TV show certainly seems to support. I'll bet the powers-that-be want all the focus to be on the new film trilogy.

Meanwhile, amidst all this uncertainty and decisions pending, hiring has frozen at LEC and employees have apparently been departing the studio in droves, so what will become of First Assault, 1313, and I guess whatever the hell else LEC has allegedly been up before the last menstrual cycle is an unknown. The author and the commenters seem primarily concerned about the effect LEC's potential euthanasia would have on the integrity of the Star Wars game franchise, which I don't mind telling you is exactly the kind of laugh I needed today.

Oh, and Kotaku also has some leaked footage of Star Wars: First Assault if the prospect rings your chimes.

Comments: 10 / Source: Kotaku
The Cook-chase crew are back -- for one episode at least! We'd like to do more but have to talk to the Disney lawyers first. In the meantime, we got together to talk about Disney and Star Wars. Listen below, and, as ever, please get in touch with messages / interventions by commenting on this news post, or e-mailing us at podcast [at] mixnmojo.com

Download here or subscribe on iTunes. Thanks to Zaarin for editing this together.

File this under very unconfirmed, but The Wrap has been right before:

JJ Abrams -- you know him from Felicity -- is set to direct the next Star Wars movie. Aaaand... That's it. Will he do a better job than Old Man George's last three attempts? (Yes.)

Comments: 4 / Source: The Wrap

It seems that BioWare has finally taken Mojo's jokes excellent coverage to heart. In the new expansion pack named Rise of the Hutt Cartel, which we already covered briefly, BioWare has created a new planet named "Makeb" for players to visit. At the same time, BioWare is also going to be adding same-gender relationships to the game, but they will (for now) be confined to just this planet.

There has been some negative reaction to restricting same-gender relationships to one planet. Kotaku has referred to this as "pay-to-gay". They also posted about a response to BioWare's announcement: (Warning: NSFW) The Hunt for the Gay Planet. (Double Warning: May be more fun than The Old Republic, or at least less repetitive)

Oh, and BioWare revealed some details about the upcoming 1.7 update.

Hidden in a background shot of the latest Star Wars: Clone Wars episode (season 5, episode 12) as an Easter Egg are these three rather familiar looking posters. This was the 100th episode of the animated show.

Image
(click for high res version)

Thanks to mixnmojo lurker Join the Schwarz for the heads-up.

Update: Join the Schwarz says that the Aurebesh text on the posters read "Kowakian Monkey Island", "Full Throttle" and "Day of the Sarlacc".

Mojo's back! It's a Festivus miracle!

Some Star Wars Battlefront Online concept art from Slant Six leaked this month. Because canceling Battlefront III wasn't enough, apparently.

News about cut scenes from Return of the Jedi also came out: Three female fighter pilots were dropped from the Battle of Endor.

In Episode VII news, both Samuel L. Jackson and Ewan McGregor said they would both like to come back to reprise their roles as Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively. More likely Ian McKellen would take over Obi-Wan just because he seems to play every old wise mentor character nowadays. There was also a leak supposedly revealing plot details about the movie, but this was later proven incorrect.

And for those still playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, there's good news! After a year of being online, EA has a new expansion pack for you to buy called "Rise of the Hutt Cartel". It almost feels reminiscent of Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption with its whole "third party vying for control of the galaxy" scheme (except, this time, the Hutts). Those who order before January 7 will get to access it three days early and those who are subscribers will get 50% off the $19.99 price tag.

(Bonus: This is just cool.)

We were aware that Star Wars: Battlefront III got well into development before it checked in to the Dew Drop Dead Inn, but in an interview with gamestm last week former Free Radical employee Steve Ellis decided to assign a provocative percent to the game's state of completion:

“We had a 99% finished game that just needed bug fixing for release,” Ellis told gamesTM. “It should have been our most successful game, but it was cancelled for financial reasons. I’m happy that people did at least get to see what we were working on and share the team’s enthusiasm for it.”

Considering that "99% finished" is a reckless claim for most of LucasArts' released products, it came as little surprise when a second source emerged to contest it. The source was a former LucasArts employee, and anonymously they dispatched a rebuttal to Ellis' comments to Gamespot for maximum exposure. This'd be the highlight:

"This 99 percent complete stuff is just bullsh*t," a former LucasArts employee who wished to remain nameless told GameSpot. "A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game."

Such generosity could not go unobserved. Ellis sent Gamespot a lengthy response to the response (to be found in the same article) that reads, in part:

Objectively though, the game was 'content complete' and we were fixing bugs. At that stage in development, the way that completion is measured is by looking at the number of open bugs in the database. These are tracked and people spend a lot of time analyzing the fix rate and the rate of discovering new bugs and projecting a completion date when the game will be ready for release. At the time that the development on BFIII was stopped, the figures showed that we would close our 'must-fix' bugs with 3-4 weeks. So yes, maybe on reflection 99 percent was a little of an exaggeration. I probably should have said 97 percent or 98 percent.

Avail yourself of the whole drama, which if nothing else features fun candor from the sparring parties (the LEC source likens Free Radical to a Ponzi scheme) and sheds a little extra light on internal LucasArts circa 2008, which Ellis diplomatically describes as "a company with problems."
Comments: 2 / Source: Gamespot

Angry Birds Star Wars is out now for 99 cents on iPhone, $2.99 on iPad, in HD format on Android for $2.99, on regular format for Android for free (with ads), on Windows for $4.99 (including Windows 8), on Mac for $4.99, on Kindle Tablet for $2.99, and on Windows Phone 8 for 99 cents.

According to Nokia, Angry Birds Star Wars will also be available for Windows Phone 7.5 once Rovio and Nokia "make sure everything works as well as it can".

I just played through the Tatooine level, and it's actually pretty fun. It's essentially a blend of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space with lightsabers, blasters, and the force, but the latter are implemented well and make for an entertaining experience.

Over at Examiner.com, some poor fellow has worked himself into something of a row over what he perceives to be uncertainty surrounding the fate of Star Wars 1313, which you may recall as the game that's so mature it stays up past its bedtime on school nights.

"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.

While it's true that the future of internal development on consoles now rests beneath the shade of a big fat question mark, I don't know that there's reason to fear for what's already in the pipeline, and I all but do know that Star Wars 1313 is immune to the scorched earth policy that will ensue in the unlikely worst case scenario. Everyone except me has been eating up all the media released to date for that game, which has excited the internet to wedding night amplitudes since the first glimpse; it's a preordained success and isn't going to be pitched. I'd stake my Brimstone Beach membership card on it.

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.
Looking for a crossover between a well known casual game and a Lucasfilm license, but Indiana Jones Adventure World isn't cutting it for you? We have good news then, as Rovio has been teasing a mashup of Star Wars and Angry Birds. Nothing has been announced other than an image of an angry bird with a lightsaber and news that the crossover will be revealed in New York's Times Square at 10 a.m. EDT on the 8th of October.

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.

This past week I went on a cross-country search for my humility (nothing turned up) and return to find all the hot news well-covered by my fellow staffers in a timely fashion. Except this one:

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).

Now I'm not going to name any names here, but...get your head in the game, Huz.
Comments: 7 / Source: Fusible
Just when you think every song possible on guitar has been written, someone finds a new way to pluck the strings; results may vary in quality, but the variations keep coming.

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.
Comments: 21 / Source: YouTube

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.

Comments: 6 / Source: Fusible

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.

There you have it?
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