As a huge Star Wars nerd, hearing that there was going to be an entirely new game announced at E3 was a big deal to me. I accepted the fact that it probably wasn’t going to be Battlefront 3 and set my sights on the rumors leaking out before the show. There wasn’t much on what it could be, it was all speculation. There was talk that it could have been a Boba Fett game and as far as we know, it still could be. We don’t know much, but there is one things I do know, Star Wars 1313 is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in a long time.
As we waited in the normal convention meeting room, I chatted with fellow members of the press about what they were expecting. Everyone had a very similar answer, they didn’t know. After a few minutes of waiting, we were shown into the demo room. It wasn’t an average demo room by any means; emulating the cockpit of a transport ship. It was a very elaborate set with displays lining the viewports.
We were introduced to the concept of what we were about to see. As the designer made small talk, the panoramic viewport showed the world slowly declining as we lowered toward the worst layer of the planet: 1313. This is where Coruscant’s most wretched criminals go to cause trouble. It’s not a good place to be, no matter who you are.
We were told before the demo that the characters that we would see were placeholders, as they didn’t want the guts of the story getting out just yet. What they did say is that you aren’t playing Jedi. You don’t have a lightsaber and you can’t use the force. You might be exceptionally gifted with a blaster, but you don’t have any special powers that you can use to save you if you get in a bind. Fans have been asking for this since the release of Republic Commando. You weren’t unbeatable.
The basic gameplay mechanics are much different than previous Star Wars games as well. Things are more cover-based rather than open-area combat. It makes sense as a few shots from the blaster will kill you. It also isn’t set on standard environments either though. Instead of your typical contextual encounters, think Uncharted-style. Things don’t just go wrong, they go wrong in a spectacular way.
As we descended down the levels, a group from another transport ship attempted to board us. Not allowing that to happen, our two characters start firing back and taking down the enemies. Only, in doing so, they just so happen to blow a hole in the side of their ship, damage the other, and send the two ships spiralling down a near-endless cavern in a firing wreck. It’s not a good situation to be in. As our partner jumps to the other ship, our character jumps and isn’t as lucky. He falls short and clings onto the broken wing as the ship continues to explode and lose parts.
This is where things get even more Uncharted-like. He begins to climb the wing as debris and metal flies past him. The panel that he is holding onto explodes and he grabs another just in time. He jumps his way to the top of the wing and swings onto a pipe hanging from the exploded hull. Right as he swings toward the last ledge, the demo ends, in typical cliffhanger fashion.
Judging by the demo that we saw, there’s no way that LucasArts is developing Star Wars 1313 for current-gen consoles. There’s just no possible way that what we saw could be achieved on the hardware that is currently available to consumers. The facial and character animation was outstanding and like nothing we’ve played yet. That’s due in whole to the team at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) helping LucasArts with animation and art direction. That’s a huge deal for any game — to have a top-quality animation studio helping craft your vision. The particle effects were another dead giveaway that we wouldn’t be seeing this any time soon. I couldn’t believe that what we were seeing what happening in real-time, you just don’t see effects this good very often.
There isn’t much that could be said that could ruin my excitement for Star Wars 1313 at this point. Having ILM at the helm of animation on the title is really promising and shows that LucasArts is really putting as much power into the title as they can. While it is a bit of a bummer that we won’t be seeing this anytime soon, it has me really looking forward to what we will start to see as we approach the next generation of consoles and PC hardware.