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All Articles: Star Wars: First Assault
Electronic Arts held their quarterly financial briefing yesterday and the publisher revealed that it has no plans to release a Star Wars game in 2013. EA and Disney announced the Star Wars deal on Monday, confirming suspicions that Disney would look outside their Disney Interactive label to create future Star Wars games after closing LucasArts.
Blake Jorgensen, EA’s Chief Financial Officer, announced that they won’t be releasing a Star Wars game during the company’s 2014 fiscal year (which runs from April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014). So the absolute earliest a new Star Wars game could be released is April 2014. Jorgensen didn’t want to pin down a release date, but EA President Frank Gibeau was able to reveal that both DICE and Visceral will be using the Frostbite 3 engine to create the next chapter in the Star Wars video game saga.
While it went unsaid, this news also likely spells the end for Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault.
Star Wars 1313‘s E3 2012 trailer included a placeholder main character that LucasArts planned to replace before the game was released. With this week’s closure of LucasArts, we may never see the game on store shelves, but Kotaku has learned that the main character of 1313 would have been… wait for it… Boba Fett. I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath as this is clearly a development that no one was expecting.
The reason for the placeholder character was due to the fact that Boba Fett wasn’t added to 1313 until just before last year’s E3 Expo. Until that point, the game officially didn’t have a main character and was basically a blank slate being used to tell stories in the Star Wars underworld.
While internal development has ceased at LucasArts, there’s still hope that 1313 (and Star Wars: First Assault) will be completed by a third party. According to Kotaku’s tipster, this scenario is unlikely:
“[LucasArts] ended up with movie tech that wouldn’t fit in a game, and game tech that wouldn’t fit in a movie. 1313 was always in danger of not being made.”
If Star Wars 1313 is truly dead, we should probably start thinking of it as a game frozen in carbonite, forever taunting us with the dream of a “mature” take on the Star Wars saga. Though I’m not sure a game starring a character with as much baggage as Boba Fett could have done it.
The writing has been on the wall ever since Disney acquired the massive Lucas empire last year, but today it became official as the House of Mouse closed LucasArts. Speaking to Game Informer, a LucasArts representative repeated the official statement from Disney:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
So while this is the end for LucasArts, this isn’t the end for Star Wars video games. But what about Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, the two Star Wars games currently in development? Another LucasArts representative spoke to Game Informer and revealed that both of those games may be passed on to third-party developers to finish:
“It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we’re just looking at different models rather than internal production… They’re evaluating everything. There’s always a possibility that [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.”
LucasArts was something special for a lot of different people and the video game landscape is going to be a very different place without it.
Yesterday, a NeoGAF user pulled box art image links for every Xbox Live Arcade game from the Xbox.com servers (the resulting collage is actually pretty awesome). In the process of this undertaking, they discovered several unannounced games, including Star Wars: First Assault.
So what is Star Wars: First Assault? Going by the image alone, it appears to be a game where rebel squads take on Imperial Stormtroopers with guns… lots of guns. And there’s nary a Lightsaber in sight. So, in other words, it looks a lot like Star Wars: Battlefront.
Is this what the long-awaited Battlefront III has morphed into? Or is it an entirely new game? I guess we’ll find out soon, but for now, LucasArts isn’t talking.