Gamescom 2012: Star Wars 1313 First Impressions Preview – In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Written Saturday, September 01, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Star Wars 1313 is Star Wars, but not as you know it. Gone is all the 'glitz and glamour' (not that Star Wars was ever particularly glitzy or glamorous anyway), and instead, what we have is a mature and gritty game, taking players to the underworld known as Level 1313. Having missed out on the debut showing of Star Wars 1313 at E3, we used Gamescom 2012 to check it out and see what all the fuss was about and find out whether the fuss was warranted. Boy, was it warranted!
According to Craig Derrick, a Producer at LucasArts, Star Wars 1313 is the “first ever mature themed game from LucasArts.” Created as a collaboration between its San Francisco and Singapore studios, Star Wars 1313 throws players into the boots of a yet to be announced bounty hunter who’s sent down to the ruthless criminal underworld of Coruscant known as Level 1313 with his bounty hunter pal to… well, we don’t know as of yet, as LucasArts is remaining very tight lipped about the plot and the main cast of characters at the moment. Just know this: you’re a standard bounty hunter, there’s no Jedi and there’s no Force. Like we said, this is Star Wars, but not as you know it.
Level 1313 is a dark, vast subterranean metropolis on Coruscant where players will meet more sinister characters than ever before and experience darker storylines. It really is a world of “shades of grey,” noted Derrick. Nothing is ever clear-cut.
“When it comes to our core mechanics,” Derrick explains, “it’s a blend of agile cover based combat and death defying platforming. We feel that mix really connects the player to a more grounded and relatable world.” The crux of the gameplay, according to Derrick, revolves around the expanded collection of weapons, gadgets and gears, and then is all about experimenting with how they behave in the world. They’re the “toys at the heart of the experience,” he chuckles.
Star Wars 1313 is about three things: becoming a bounty hunter; surviving the dangerous world that is Level 1313; and delivering a playable cinematic experience. If there’s anything clear from the short gameplay demo that we saw, all that is very much at the forefront of the experience. Being played on a PC, we can’t help but feel that this is a title for the next generation. With the stunning lip syncing and facial animation, combined with out of this world lighting and particle effects, it’s hard to see how this is a current generation title, unless it's been scaled back considerably to accommodate the ageing architecture. We hope that isn’t the case.
One of LucasArts' key goals of with Star Wars 1313 is to seamlessly blend from cutscene to gameplay, with the team’s mantra being, “You should never see something in a cinematic that you otherwise want to play.” Enter an urban set-piece to show that, a sequence of events that sees the protagonist duo head to Level 1313, but things are never easy when you’re a bounty hunter.
We’re not going to delve too much into the gameplay segment, as the there’s videos on this here site showing off most of it, but what we will do is pinpoint a couple of observations. We’ve already brought attention to the stunning visuals, but games are so much more than that. Combine those with some incredible animations, high-tension set-pieces, and what can only be described as Uncharted-style platforming moments, and everything that LucasArts has decided to show off thus far is incredibly impressive. This has been achieved not just by adopting new and more powerful tech, but by roping in some of Lucasfilm’s top players to assist in development.
“So when it comes to Star Wars 1313, we recognised immediately that the world was ripe with opportunity to tell a powerful story through rich characters in this dynamic setting,” said Derrick. “But in order to fulfil that, we really had to change our development methodologies at LucasArts, so joining the team are artists and engineers from LucasFilms Animations, SkyWalker Sounds and Industrial Light and Magic, to help us tell the story and fully realise this world.”
It’s probably safe to say that Star Wars 1313 is a next-generation title, and if this is a sign of things to come from said generation, wow. Just wow. If it is, it seems as if the words of Remedy’s Head of Franchise Development, Oskari Häkkinen, are undeniably true… the next-generation is a “quantum leap forward.” Of course, no platforms have been confirmed as of yet – not even consoles – but considering that’s where the bread and butter of hardcore gamers exist at this current time, then they’d be fools not to release it on consoles, this gen or next. Fools, I tell thee! We look forward to seeing more of what exists on Level 1313, until then, we’ll be watching the gameplay videos over, and over, and over, and over again. They’re that good.
Star Wars 1313 is scheduled for release… sometime… sometime in the future.