Looks like we’ll never ever get a chance to put our thumbs to the world of Star Wars 1313, a stunner of a game that was previewed at last year’s E3. Yes, that title and any others that were in development over at LucasArts have been sucked up into the gears of the big machine, devoured by Disney along with 150 jobs that were lost today when mouse-eared money men decided to pull the plug on the notable design studio.
According to Kotaku, this is no surprise, but — and this is not to dismiss the very real toll levied up the 150 workers who will be without a means of support — it’s still a bit of a hit to a world that craves playable Star Wars, especially in these moments where the universe is expanding with new titles and other notable products.
Will gamers be left behind as Disney tries to take over the world? Possibly, unless the keepers of Walt Disney’s frozen head decide to farm out the work like LucasArts did with the Battlefront games.
Those games are — in my mind — the best out of all the Star Wars games (though, in fairness, I never played Knights of the Old Republic), and yet we know the sad and tumultuous end that that franchise met. Both the Battlefront-esque FPS Star Wars: First Assaultand Star Wars 1313 were to be the next shining jewels in the uneven legacy of LucasArts, especially 1313, a possibly Mature rated game that would have followed a bounty hunter into the seamy underworld of Coruscant.
That concept shared some of it’s roots with the long-discussed live-action Star Wars series that still hasn’t come to be, but the story could be cannibalized and re-used in the upcoming run of Star Wars films or, perhaps, as a tie in game that is connected to one of those projects. Really, no good idea goes u un-molested and pushed to it’s break by either Lucas or Disney, so if 1313 came from as good a place as it seemed, we are sure to see some kind of take on the story eventually, even if it’s all dressed up in Frankenstein-ian scars.
Earlier today we reported that Lucasfilm and Disney were planning a standalone Yoda film to play counterpart to the J.J. Abrams‘ helmed Star Wars Episode VII. It was, and remains, a rumor, but Disney CEO Robert Iger in an appearance on CNBC today confirmed that Disney is in the process of developing several standalone movies that will be made in conjunction with the new trilogy, and be released between pictures.
“I can confirm to you today that in fact we are working on a few standalone films,” said Iger. “Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on films derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga. We still plan to make Star Wars 7, 8, and 9 roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015. But there are going to be a few other films released in that period, too.”
So which characters are screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg developing into their own feature film? “I’m going to leave it to Kathy [Kennedy] and the LucasFilm team [to reveal details],” Iger added. So much for the direct approach. But at least it confirms the plausibility of a Yoda standalone film, and maybe the plausibility of that rumored Boba Fett movie 1313. In addition, Iger added that Abrams himself will act as a consultant for the other Star Wars films.
Some of gamings heaviest hitters have already been revealed at E3, with Lara Croft, Assassins Creed, God of War, Star Wars, The Avengers, and exciting IP’s like The Last of Us, Beyond, and Watch Dogs all showing off some kind of footage in the first two days of the event.
Below you’ll find some of trailers. Old characters, new characters, a ton of explosions, and some amazing graphics that all look next gen, even though this cycle seems like it’s going to continue on a little bit longer. At the bottom, tell us which game you’re most looking forward too, if you ask me, right now, it’s Beyond, though seeing Star Wars 1313 has me reconsidering.
An origin story, and a reboot, SquareEnix is trying to climb back to its roots with a grittier, bow and arrow carrying Lara Croft who is going on her first adventure. In the trailer, Lara is, frankly, getting the shit kicked out of her and the idea behind these trials and tribulations is, apparently, to humanize a character who has risen to near mythic proportions.
Other points in the game will apparently show Lara killing a person for the first time and it will also show the toll that that takes on her. Developer Karl Stewart repeatedly mentioned Batman Begins when talking about the reboot while on G4 this afternoon, so that gives us, I suppose, some frame of reference for the tone that the creative team is aiming for.
Tomb Raider is headed for release on March 5th 2013, and I’m sure OG Raider fans and even Uncharted fans will surely want to check it out.
The trailer starts slow as the main character, hacker Aiden Pearce, walks the impossibly rendered streets of Chicago toward an art show. Once there, Pearce interacts with a contact, purposely fails at being conspicuous, and then exits the club quickly with security on his trail — in seconds, we’re back on the street, but it has turned into a war zone, and Pearce is a target, ducking bullets, jumping over cars, and fighting for his life before he gets his man and sends him a message.
Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs is one of the most buzzed about IPs at E3, with a detailed backstory involving overreaching security measures, the “grid”, and more than a bit of intrigue and tech wizardry. What is it that makes the game standout? Beyond it’s impressive visual presentation (which was slightly juiced, in that it was presented on a high quality PC and not a console in it’s demonstration), Watch Dogs sets a foot on some fresh soil with the main character’s ability to control the environment around him. Pearce doesn’t wait for a walk signal or waste his effort trying to talk his way in past a guard, he messes with traffic lights and people’s cell phones, while also (seemingly) having access to pertinent information about every single NPC and interactable that he walks by. It’s a mind numbing amount of detail and playability, and yet we don’t really know where the ceiling is on this game, and that might be the most exciting part about it.
For trailers of some of the other impressive IPs like The Last of Us and Beyond, check out our rundown of Sony’s E3 presentation here.
Gears of War: Ascension
A prequel to the first God of War and a bit of an origin story, the gameplay footage on display above shows off some sick combat scenarios, with Kratos (surprise, surprise) fighting a giant hydra, and also battling a massive half elephant, half man. The big news is the added multiplayer which will see players creating their own Spartan to worship one of four Gods (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades or Aries). Obviously, the choice of God dictates the direction of the gameplay.
God of War: Ascension is set for a March 12, 2013 release, and there is talk about a Collectors Edition that will feature, among other things, an 8″ bronze Kratos statue and exclusive DLC. The price point on the CE is said to be $79.99, here’s a link for more details on that.
Star Wars 1313
There are virtually no details about the new Star Wars game 1313, which is a completely in-house effort, in the way that Star Wars Force Unleashed 2 was. All the branches of the Lucas tree, including ILM have a hand in the creation of this game which is in pre-production right now, and nowhere near a release date.
The crumbs of a premise that have dribbled out are that the game takes place between the two Star Wars cinematic trilogies on the 1313 level of Coruscant in the some what less cosmopolitan section of the planet, meaning it is the seedy underworld. The main character is a Bounty Hunter, which has led to some speculation that this could be a Boba Fett game, which if confirmed might shake the whole of geekdom off of it’s cushy perch. The game is 3rd person and those graphics that you’re peeping in the above trailer? That’s the way the game is supposed to look, with a seamless visual transmission from cut scenes to gameplay, though again, high quality computer, not a console demo, so the final package may be slightly less smooth and orgasmic.
Assassin’s Creed 3
We’ve got 2 separate gameplay videos for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 3, which is showing off a new assassin and a new timeline, with the game taking place before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. Connor, a half British, half Mohawk, hatchet wielding badass killer is the star of the show here, hunting down his prey in a camp in the first video from Ubisoft’s presentation (above) and steering a ship in the second from Sony’s presentation (below).
Assassins Creed 3: Liberation
Not to ignore the handheld market entirely, we thought we’d show you the trailer from the PS Vita exclusive, from the ground up, AC3 game, which will also star a completely different and new assassin in the form of Aveline, whose story takes place in 18th Century in Louisiana.
Marvel’s Avengers: Battle for Earth
Another Ubisoft title, we know next to nothing about this one and all we have is a cinematic trailer, so “Yay! Avengers game!” and that’s all we can really say because we don’t know what it will look like or be about — hence the worthlessness of most cinematic trailers.
Random News Bit:Destructoid reported that a Dead Island sequel, called Dead Island” Riptide, is in development.