A long time ago, in a decade that seems too far away, Star Wars video games littered the entertainment genre. Some good, some not so good; but it was hard to argue against the fact that they were all pretty entertaining to play and did a great job at expanding the lore of the Star Wars universe. When Disney acquired Lucasfilms and, by extension, Lucasarts, many of the video game properties were then licences to, and acquired by, EA. Many games were left on the cutting room floor (since EA is notorious for buying a company and shutting down their projects to begin anew). Similar to Emperor Palaptine’s Order 66 on the Jedi, the Star Wars video game lineup was severely chopped down and for the past decade the world has been devoid of Star Wars games (with the exception of the controversial new Battlefront video games). With the upcoming Jedi: Fallen Order game hopefully being showcased at the upcoming Star Wars Celebration, lets take a look at some of the games cancelled either directly as a result of the EA merger or due to financial strife. These games could be the catalyst for more Star Wars games in the future hopefully leading to a renaissance of Star Wars games.
Star Wars: Battle of the Sith Lords
One of the games that was well underway was a Darth Maul video game being developed by some of the team responsible for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Red Fly Studio). At the time we didn’t have a whole lot of info on Darth Maul from the movies, and this game looked like it was going to be a take on his origins and play like a more violent Force Unleashed game. Some gameplay prototype footage exists, and though there were some production issues already dragging it down, before they were able to be resolved the Disney acquisition happened and the game was cancelled. Red Fly has said that they would be willing to finish the game and re-fit it for next gen consoles if EA approaches them and is willing to publish the game. But for the time being it looks like this is frozen in carbonite.
Knights of the Old Republic 3
What many consider to be the greatest of games, let alone Star Wars games was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR). Taking place thousands of years before A New Hope, KOTOR took a dip into the history of the galaxy and gave the player many characters to get to know, an innovative combat system based on a dice system not unlike Dungeons & Dragons and a superb story with excellent voice acting. It felt like your very own Star Wars story. The game was produced by Bioware, who would then go on to create games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Anthem. KOTOR and it’s sequel (developed by Obsidian Entertainment) garnered a massive following and everyone anxiously awaited the arrival of a third game. Designer John Stafford was said to have created a lot of the environment, planetary designs, characters, and quests before the project was cancelled due to a financial rough patch Lucasarts was going through prior to the Disney acquisition. Though the follow-up MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic still gathers revenue and players every year, fans still hope for a Star Wars RPG styled like Knights of the Old Republic sometime in the future.
In 2005 Lucasarts released Star Wars: Republic Commando. It was a gritty first person and squad based tactical shooter that did very well critically. You followed a elite squadron of Clone Troopers during the Clone Wars. The story was well told, though short, and despite average multiplayer, it remains a classic game to this day from the golden age of Star Wars games. Before Republic Commando was released work had begun on a sequel titled Star Wars: Imperial Commando in which you followed a band of Imperial Troopers fighting the Rebels. The game would be an improvement on the last and give you a taste of what it was like to be elite stormtroopers. Production didn’t get too far, with only a few renderings of character models and concept art complete before more budgetary restrictions and executive decisions led to the cancellation of the project to the dismay of many.
Visceral Games developer Amy Hennig (known for games like Dead Space and Uncharted), had been working on a Star Wars game codenamed Project Ragtag. Set between Episodes 4 and 5, The game would follow a scoundrel named Dodger and his group of thieves and smugglers. Players would travel to distant planets, take place in a series of heists across the galaxy all the while dodging the Empire at every turn. During EA’s acquisition of the Star Wars license and Visceral Games, they decided to shut the project down for the time being. EA Vancouver plans to rework the game into a more open-world game. Hopefully the best bits of the early work remain and we end up with an even better game.
Star Wars: First Assault
Developers had wanted to put Battlefront 3 together for a long time. Part of the missing link to the equation was Star Wars: First Assault. It had elements of Battlefront as well as Republic Commando that seemed very promising before development crises along with Disney and EA led to the demise of the project. It was going be an 8v8 shooter set during the time of the Galactic Rebellion. A sequel was in the works with the codename Wingman. Once both games were published, developers would then roll out Battlefront 3 with everything that had worked thus far rolled into one. From the early looks of it, the graphics looked amazing for the time, the gameplay would have been similar to what Call of Duty was doing but heavily based on multiplayer with objective based combat and deathmatches. It looked great, but didn’t ever see the light of day; however, elements always seem to be reincarnated into newer games. What wasn’t seen in the new Battlefront games, should surely come to light in the future.
Star Wars: 1313
Perhaps the most well known cancelled Star Wars game was 1313. You played as a young Boba Fett finding his footing as a bounty hunter between the events of Episode 2 and when we see him again in Episode 5. The game would show a gritty tale of our young anti-hero delving into the lower levels of Coruscant for a bounty. The farther down you travel, the more dangerous and deadly it becomes. It played as a third person cover-based shooter, not unlike Gears of War, and had fans very excited to see it come to fruition. Despite it’s announcement at E3 in 2012, the game fell prey to the Disney merger when the Lucasarts development team was laid-off and development rights were licensed off to EA who cancelled it. The rights have now lapsed, though many hope for the game to be revived or at least re-skinned as something else.
The Future of Star Wars Gaming
As far as we know, there has been one title announced in the world of Star Wars gaming and that is Jedi: Fallen Order being developed by Respawn Entertainment. Other than that, the future seems mostly unknown, probably just mobile games for now. It’s about time that we see a resurgence of Star Wars games which would give the fans of the genre who are burnt out on the movies a more personal experience in the world of Star Wars (it would probably make even more money than the cinematic plans being made which are a little hazy at the moment). We want to see games set in canon, as well as out of canon. Games set during the Old Republic, Hyperspace Wars, Clone Wars, Galactic Rebellion, Resistance/First Order, and even beyond.
The possibilities are limitless, the galaxy is waiting to be explored. Just make some games already.