Swept up in yesterday’s demise of LucasArts after its sudden shutdown by Disney, the officially cancelled Star Wars 1313 was given a fleeting chance of
a new hope revival (along with LucasArts’s other cancelled project, Star Wars: Frontal Assault) should the studio license it out to an interested developer.
Today, however, the game appears to be beginning the dreadful postmortem process of many projects cancelled before their time: declassification.
When we first traveled down to the subterranean chasms of Coruscant with Star Wars 1313 back at E3 2012, little was known about the game’s overarching plot. The visually rich, ostensibly next-gen graphical prowess of its brief gameplay demo provided a template for mature, visceral action and explosive set pieces. The lifelike real-time interaction between its two protagonists, however, never quite reconciled itself with 1313’s larger narrative motivations. Who exactly were our two jesting bounty hunters? Who were they after? And why were they venturing into what the game’s creators compared to Dante’s Inferno to accomplish their mission?
A new report and concept art surfacing today just might have the answer. According to Kotaku, shortly before E3 in May 2012, Star Wars 1313 was brought under the purview of Star Wars creator George Lucas after years of overhauls and revisions. Not known for his lack of assertiveness, Lucas then instructed the development team to center the game around Boba Fett, the notoriously ruthless bounty hunter and clone of prequel-movie progenator Jango Fett. The mercenary’s precise role wasn’t specified, but concept art uncovered from the game depicts him plying his predatory talents above and below the city of Coruscant.
Considering that the protagonists of 1313’s original footage were designed as placeholders for LucasArts’ real characters, the Bobalessness of the segments brandished at E3 2012 and August’s Gamescon seems to indicate that Fett was their hidden man.
And where that story could have gone….
It was already reported this March that Star Wars 1313 had intentions of prying into Boba Fett’s upbringing, perhaps cohering to Disney’s upcoming Star Wars spinoff film on the character. If so, Coruscant wouldn’t have been the only object of 1313 to have its deepest depths explored; for a game seeking to convey a highly mature tenor through quality blockbuster action (in other words: the antithesis of Kinect: Star Wars), Fett would have fit perfectly in the mold of a character scrapping through the slums of Coruscant’s underworld, relying not on lightsabers or Force powers or high-powered weaponry but on the intuitive minimalistic gadgetry of his own designs. Despite the inherent skepticism surrounding any George Lucas Executive Decision, you have to admire the concept.
Boba Fett is no stranger to the Star Wars gaming universe — his recent appearances include Empire at War, Battlefront 2, The Force Unleashed, The Force Unleashed II, Lego Star Wars: The Game and Rouge Squadron III: Rebel Strike – but 1313 could have made the rarely legitimate claim of depicting an iconic villain like we’ve never seen him before.
In the end, though, ambition may have been the undoing of Star Wars 1313. Kotaku reports that the project struggled to interconnect high-grade movie technology with high-grade game technology, and that it was in perpetual danger of cancellation from the beginning. Having already sapped substantial resources from the upper echelons of LucasFilm, it’s difficult to gauge just what, if any, future remains for the game in the wake of its studio’s tumultuous termination.
Ranters, how would you like to have seen (or to see; never tell me the odds) Boba Fett utilized in Star Wars 1313?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.