May 04, 2018
The Star Wars games that felt the Force (of cancellation)
in Gaming Art
May the 4th be with you! All year round! Today we’re going to be a little bit like Darth Plagueis - we’ll keep something from dying. A memory to be precise. A memory of Star Wars games that never were. But before we begin…
Did you know that first Star Wars game was based on “Empire Strikes Back” and was released in 1982 for Atari 2600? It looked like this:
35 years later EA released Star Wars Battlefront II for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It’s the recent game in the Star Wars franchise and it looked like this:
Pretty nice advancement, eh? Well, now let’s have a moment of silence for all Star Wars games that have never seen the light of day even though they had a great potential to take over the time and attention of us gamers.
Star Wars: First Assault looked like a hybrid of Battlefront with fast-paced Call of Duty-like action. Since good action-oriented FPSs set in SW universe can be count on the fingers of one hand, especially after few of them were chopped by Darth Vader, First Assault looked like a treat for all the fans around the globe
Dark Squadron was initially planned as a part of Rogue Squadron series which flight pretty high in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, the production crashed no better than Star Destroyers during Rogue One plot. Dark Squadron was meant to be an alternate take on the series which had players controlling the forces of Empire eradicating the Rebel Scum. Unfortunately, LucasArts canceled Dark Squadron so the game studio could work on a game focused on Chewbacca. Unfortunately, that was also canceled. *indistinguishable wookie scream*
If you’ve played KOTOR and KOTOR2 and spend few hours with The Old Republic then you know how heartbreaking it is to write about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3. That’s why I’ll stop right here and move one. Why open up old wounds...
Instead of getting the 3rd game from the first Battlefront series (truly great by the way), we’ve got a reboot of the franchise thanks to EA. The idea behind Battlefront 3 was to give the player a choice how to approach the battles: whether it be from the ground or from the air. At the same time, that is. It was really huge around the early 2000s. Fortunately, there’s a reboot now. By the way, I’m seeing a subtle pattern in canceling every 3rd game from the series.
It was meant to be a freemium browser game that would let up to 16 players play together. The production was going quite well which even resulted in closed beta in 2014. But a few months later, Disney decided to pull the plug on the project. Surprise.
Oh yes! It would be a blast. If you’re like me (and the rest of the Star Wars fans), you’ve probably despised Phantom Menace a little less than Jar Jar Binks (secretly a Sith Lord in a few theories which sounds like a cool idea for a fanfic) itself. The only aspect that really worked was Darth Maul. I rooted for the guy even more than for other characters so it came as a shock that there was a Star Wars game revolving around him. Additional bonus: the gameplay style was inspired by Batman: Arkham Asylum series. But the life of Battle of the Sith Lords ended too soon. Just like Darth Mauls.
Imperial Commando alternatively known as Republic Commando 2 meant to be a follow-up game to RC where players once again could get behind the masks of Clone Troopers’ own Delta Squad. One bold idea was to follow the soldiers in their transformation into Stormtroopers which meant executing the famous Order 66. In other words, killing off the Jedi Order. In the end Star Wars: Imperial Commando got no further than the concept phase.
I still feel the sadness that took me by surprise when Disney announced the cancellation of Star Wars 1313. The game would focus on exploring the underworld of Coruscant - the titular level 1313 - as the iconic Boba Fett. The trailer that played during E3 2012 was mind-blowing, so it's really minding shattering that our dreams were well, shattered. But not for the first time, so it was slightly more bearable.
Ah, the last and freshest wound on the list. The game that sounded too good to be true. And in fact, it was. Visceral’s Star Wars was a team-up between the studio behind Dead Space and Amy Hennig, the creative director, and writer of first three Uncharted games. They worked on story-based action-adventure set between the episode IV and V.
At this point we already learned that world is a cruel place to have dreams and ultimately the production was halted when EA shut down the Visceral Games. What’s really sad is that for many people involved in the project it came as no surprise. The doom was inevitable.
But nevertheless don’t feel sorry. We still get the chance to experience plenty of outstanding games set in the one-of-a-kind, omnipotent Star Wars universe. So rejoice, fellow fans, and celebrate May the 4th by playing those! It will be our tribute to celebrate the Star Wars games that never got to exist!