5 Developers We’d Love to See Make LucasArts Games
With the end of LucasArts as a development house, all of us felt a great disturbance in the force. It was like a million games crying out in terror, and then silenced.
Well, perhaps not, but Disney has decreed that they’re getting out of the in-house production of Star Wars titles business and from now on, will exclusively use a licensing model. Alas, for every The Old Republic, there are dozens of horrendously terrible Star Wars titles (we won’t name them, but feel free to debate the matter in comments). That’s why it’s vitally important that, if they’re serious about properly developing Star Wars for video games, Disney picks the right gaming developers.
While we wait to see what happens, we’ve taken a minute to consider who we at Game Front think would make the best use of the Star Wars galaxy. Read on to see the 5 developers we’d love to see make LucasArts games.
Ross Lincoln – Volition on Star Wars 1313
Given that it was intended to be a rated-M game set in the gritty underworld of the Star Wars galaxy, it isn’t a huge shock that Star Wars 1313 has been cancelled as a result of the closure of LucasArts. Disney is super hardcore about protecting their brands, after all. Luckily, it might be saved; supposedly, it just needs the right developer. That developer should be Volition.
You probably thought I would have said Rockstar, but there are two strikes against them;:one, they take forever to get anything out these days, and two, the increasing humorlessness of their games is the wrong fit for the Star Wars Galaxy. Star Wars 1313 should be a combination of ‘gritty’ and ‘scifi’, and it should feel fun and epic in the best pulp science fiction tradition. Volition has already proven they can deliver all of those qualities at once with Red Faction: Guerilla, and the increasingly cray cray Saints Row series has almost turned into Evil Star Trek. Give them 1313 and you’re guaranteed a blast, something sorely missing from the Star Wars franchise ever since the word Midichlorians popped out of George Lucas’ head.
Mark Burnham – CD Projekt on Star Wars 1313
Call me crazy, but I’d like to see CD Projekt take on Star Wars 1313, and turn it into an open-world RPG set in the seedy underbelly of Coruscant.
CDP has proven they can take on licensed material—like they did with the Witcher novels, and like they’re doing with Cyberpunk—and they’d more than ably carry the torch in turning Star Wars 1313 into a more “mature, gritty” spin on the IP.
Phil Hornshaw – Naughty Dog, Epic Games or Irrational on Shadows of the Empire; Eidos Montreal on The Force Unleashed
One of the Star Wars stories I was most interested in when I was growing up was Shadows of the Empire. Somewhat like Dark Forces, it starred a rogueish Han Solo-alike, but I enjoyed how it bridged The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It made the bounty hunters such as IG88 and Boba Fett into real villains, and we could stand to have a story that gives Fett some gravitas — I’d like to see a developer with some chops tackle the idea, like post-Gears of War Judgment Epic Games, Naughty Dog or even Irrational. Dealing with the rebellion in chaos, the heroes downtrodden at the loss of Solo, and Vader’s hounds nipping at their heels could be a lot of fun.
And speaking of revisiting ideas, even though it’s relatively young, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed could function as a phenomenal RPG with a developer like Eidos Montreal behind it. Imagine a Deus Ex-style experience in which you’re hunting down Jedi across the galaxy at the whim of Vader. It could pair nicely with this breakdown of the roles of R2-D2 and Chewbacca to create a phenomenal Star Wars story that’s gone untold. Given when Eidos and the rest have been turning in lately in terms of story, I’d love to see them let loose on the Star Wars canon.
Devin Connors – DICE or Sony Online Entertainment on Star Wars: First Assault
The Star Wars Battlefront franchise combined two things gamer’s the world ’round adore: Star Wars and large-scale combat. Despite rumors of its near-completion, we never did get the third installment of Battlefront, and the game seemingly died when Free Radical Design (now Crytek UK) went into administration.
Star Wars: First Assault, a multiplayer shooter set in that galaxy far, far away, was in the now-defunct hands of LucasArts. First Assault was our only hope of such a game, unless the Disney licensing folks play nice with a top-tier studio in the near future. If Disney is interested in licensing the Star Wars IP for a multiplayer shooter, the two studios at the top of the list have to be DICE and Sony Online Entertainment. Imagine a Star Wars mod built on top of Battlefield 3/4 or PlanetSide 2, and you’ll understand why. With DICE, you would have a 64-man server, half Rebellion and half Empire, duking it out over a handful of assets and control points. And like the Titan from Battlefield 2142, Star Destroyers and Mon Calamari cruisers could provide support from the heavens. SOE would broaden the scope of the battle, focusing on entire planets instead of a few flash-points. The fight for Coruscant would be a conflict of epic proportions.
Either way, playing Stormtrooper or X-Wing pilot in a server with dozens (or hundreds) of other people could make for a genre-defining experience.
Ian Miles Cheong – Arkane on a Star Wars FPS
Arkane Studios isn’t a very big name in the game industry, and it’s not a studio that immediately comes to mind when you think of Star Wars. But if there’s any company capable of putting together a game with excellent first person combat, it’s them. Arkane proved their worth with Dark Messiah of Might & Magic ages ago, and they went the distance with Dishonored—a game which you’ll recall has kinetic first person combat (replete with ripostes and parrying!) and magical abilities which all share strong similarities to the Force powers in the Star Wars universe.
Beyond their ability to put together an FPS with a strong focus on melee combat, their creativity when it comes to art direction and storytelling could only serve to make the Star Wars universe that much more interesting.
Not satisfied with our picks? Let us know who you’d like to see handling Star Wars IP in comments.