Star Wars 1313 preview

QUICKTAKE: LucasArts' next foray into the Star Wars universe is bringing together experts from the LucasFilm family of companies to create the gritty, seedy underworld of level 1313 on Coruscant. Players will take on the role of a bounty hunter in the underground metropolis where there are no Jedi and there is no Force. For the first time, a LucasArts game will deal with a mature theme with more sinister characters and more shades of grey. However you spin it, the game should have plenty of action.

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THE DEMO: Two bounty hunters board an old transport to descend into the seedy levels below Coruscant. The destination is level 1313, where the characters are supposedly on the trail of another bounty, with one prize already contained in a cargo pod. As the two banter back and forth during the descent, the scene shifts to a ship coming down above them, manned with what appears to be a hunter-killer droid and a team of mercenaries ready for a fight. The droid leaps from the ship with a cable attached to his waist and lands heavily on the bounty hunters' craft. They are alerted just as an explosion blows through the back of the craft, knocking them down.

A firefight ensues, with control finally being given to the player. The mercenaries are dispatched, but not before the droid has escaped with the cargo pod. The more grizzled bounty hunter appears to tire of the battle and tosses one of the mercenaries into an escape pod with a grenade, and launches the pod at the enemy ship that is now below them to retrieve the cargo and crew. The ensuing explosion cripples both ships and the bounty hunters jump down to continue the fight to get the bounty back.

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DETAILS: This is the first time where the subsidiaries of LucasFilm have come together to work on a game. Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and LucasFilm Animation have come together with LucasArts to put a realistic look and feel to an admittedly mature look at the Star Wars universe. A video was shown describing the performance capture of the actors and how it was being implemented into the game, and how important the real-time rendering was to lend more reality to the action. But the developers made it clear that they won't use in-game cut scenes when player-controlled action will work just as well when it matters most.

The bounty hunter has intrigued gamers because of all the weapons and gadgets. And since bounty hunters tend to operate outside the law, the ruthless underworld of Coruscant seemed like a natural setting for the developers. There are no Jedi, there is no Force, and players can expect to see more sinister characters offering choices in shades of grey, rather than the traditional black and white of most Star Wars games and movies of the past.

The demo was created to show the team's dedication to two principles: platforming and action. The PC demo focused on an early part of the game. So as not to reveal the hero, LucasArts used a placeholder character to represent one of the bounty hunters. Not much more was revealed about the game, but the initial look is promising. After the debacle that was Force Unleashed 2 and Kinect Star Wars, the company has a lot riding on the quality of the game and they appear to not be holding much back in its development, at least in the early stages.