4) Resurrected Star Wars 1313
A causality of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, Star Wars 1313 stood on the verge of breaking LucasArts’ long stretch of mostly menial titles. As IGN executive editor Ryan McCaffrey writes, the once-great powerhouse of game development has impressed little in recent years:
This is a studio sitting on a treasure trove of beloved brands, and yet, when was their last Indiana Jones game that didn’t star a Lego figure? Or a Star Wars title in the marketplace’s most popular genre, first-person shooters? Only the big-budget MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic can be considered a bold effort. In fact, their triple-A (read: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and/or PC) output during this console generation can be generally summed up as: three Lego Star Wars games, Two Lego Indiana Jones titles, a pair of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed releases, The Old Republic, and Kinect Star Wars. And of those, only the original Force Unleashed (six-plus million copies sold) made any substantial impact at retailer cash registers. That potential franchise withered on the vine after Force Unleashed II fizzled with both critics and consumers.
The straw which broke McCaffrey’s back was the announcement following Disney’s acquisition that Star Wars 1313 has been placed “on hold,” ostensibly because it was not tied into the upcoming films. IGN’s frustration commands empathy. The decision to mothball what appeared to be an innovative new franchise geared toward a mature audience, simply because it may not directly promote the new films, heralds an out-of-touch corporate mindset which regards video games as supplementary merchandising rather than a legitimate medium with its own merits.
Not much is known of what Star Wars 1313 would have turned out to be aside from a couple of trailers and a vague synopsis. We can confirm only that the project aspired to offer something different than the fare typically seen in a Star Wars title, both in terms of gameplay and narrative content. This was to be an exploration of the seedy underbelly of the galactic capitol world, a crime story featuring a morally ambiguous protagonist. I struggle to imagine the gamer who would decide against seeing J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars film on account of having played 1313.