Star Wars cinematically remains on something of a rocky road. TV has proven better with The Mandalorian delivering exactly what it set out to do. Other shows are in development, so it remains to be seen if Cassion Andor will be as successful as The Mandalorian. Hints were given at a darker, more complex character in Rogue One that may, or may not, have been the victim of the famous re-shoots.
Disney shouldn’t fight that. The Empire Strikes Back is the best movie in the franchise for a reason. Most of the children who stared, wild-eyed and transfixed by the screen all those years ago are now in their 40’s or older. They are also the ones with the bank accounts, who pay for the trips to Galaxy’s Edge.
Other places where Star Wars was supposed to veer a bit more towards adult content was in the world of video games. Star Wars 1313 was going to be adult-centric LucasArts game which followed bounty hunter Boba Fett through the Coruscant underworld. That was killed off by Lucas selling his company to Disney.
The other had a working title of Project Ragtag and was being worked on by the makers of terrifying shoot ’em up Dead Space – Visceral Games. In the talent pool was Uncharted trilogy creator and director Amy Hennig who is now famous for bringing action movies to life as video games via that franchise, even as it now becomes a movie again. The circle of life?
Sounds really promising, right? Well don’t get too excited as several years into the project EA, in their infinite wisdom, shut down Visceral Games. The project died along with the company. RIP, such promise.
On a recent edition of the MiniMax Show online the producer Zach Mumbach offered some new details:
“I think we would have made the best Star Wars game ever made. The story and the setup and the characters… [were] set up for success but what we had to execute was going to take a while. I think the company saw that – ‘hey you guys are eventually going to make a crazy good game’. At the time, when we got shut down, [EA exec] Patrick Soderlund was even like – what’s the game with ‘Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner’? PUBG? – they even sent out a press release that was like ‘no one cares about single-player any more’. I just wish they’d figured that out two years ago.”
Mumbach added that the main character was a typical rogue with a heart of gold. He was positively glowing about Henning and her clear vision around characters and story even in the face of EA interference.
“[EA] were like ‘We need to ship this thing, let’s go, cut this, cut this, cut this’. And I’m thinking, this is effing [Uncharted director] Amy Hennig, we have the chance to make the greatest Star Wars game ever made and a possible Game of the Year contender. This isn’t an Army of Two game.”
The game itself actually had completed levels and modules when it was killed including an AT-ST chase set-piece.
“We just had a lot of gameplay people never got to see. We had levels, they weren’t done but they were close. We had one set-piece which was basically done – we were putting the final touches on it right when the studio was shut down. [It was] this crazy AT-ST moment which was really cool.
You were on foot running from it and it was trying to hunt you down but you were more agile, slipping through these alleyways, barrelling through and crashing and using all the destruction of Frostbite… You would have been like ‘oh that’s like Star Wars Uncharted’.”
EA have recently had challenges of their own in the Star Wars video game space with Star Wars: Battlefront II being scorned due to the micro-transactions. They were then forced into an about face after dismissing single player and campaigns by launching Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to good numbers.
We just have to weep for what might have been elsewhere. When it comes to Star Wars we seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life.