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One With the Force: A History of Cancelled Star Wars Games

Star Wars is one of the most recognizable properties on the planet, and has been licensed out to create everything from detailed action figures to printed mugs. And of course, it has been used as the base of many video games, a majority of which are remembered favorably, whether it was the excellent shooter Battlefront II or the engrossing RPG Knights of the Old Republic.

But not every idea is able to get off the ground, and there are sadly several projects that never made it past even the pitching room floor.  It’s important to celebrate, but it’s also important to honor the memory of things as they might have been. In honor of Star Wars day, let’s take a look back at some of the great Star Wars games that never quite came to be.

Imperial Commando

The follow-up to 2005’s Republic Commando, Imperial Commando was at the very least in its early concept days before getting axed. Like Republic Commando, players were placed in charge of a squadron of soldiers within the Delta Squad. The twist was that you played as the commander of these squads when the infamous Order 66 was issued during the Clone Wars.

So, Imperial Commando was basically a search and destroy mission for members of the Jedi order. But, it never came to fruition. Which is a shame, because the subject matter dug into a part of the Star Wars canon that often goes unexplored: the moral alignment and obligations of the Clone army.

Rebel Warrior

Rebel Warrior was another proposed Star Wars game that dove into a more obscure angle in the galaxy: the life of an enslaved Wookiee.

Taking place during the Empire’s takeover and capturing of the Wookiees on Kashyyk, Rebel Warrior was a game in which players engaged in guerilla warfare to drive Imperial soldiers out of their home. It’s a bit darker than we’re used to seeing from a Star Wars game, but its subject fits nicely with a lot of the other themes explored in the Star Wars universe.

First Assault

A victim of the LucasArts closure and liquidation, First Assault was a first-person shooter intended to release in 2013 and serve as a sort of prologue to the eventual Battlefront III.

It was deep into development at that point, deep enough to yield trailers and videos of actual captured gameplay, like in the video below.

Star Wars: Smuggler

Lightsabers and the Force are cool and all, but one of the most interesting aspects of the Star Wars universe is its more colorful characters, particularly bounty hunters and smugglers.

Smuggler was presented conceptually in the mid-2000s as a game in which players customized their own characters and crew, chose jobs to take, and conducted business with other players online. Basically, it was an opportunity for people to run their own underground operation, without fear of one day owing a debt and being frozen in Carbonite.

Episode VII: Shadows of the Sith

Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the many branches within the Star Wars family is one major reason why several of these games never released in a playable state, including this one. Meant to coincide with the then-recent announcement of a seventh film, this game was called “Shadows of the Sith” and focused on Ben Skywalker, the son of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade in the now non-canonical old expanded universe lore.

A lot would have been riding on this one. It was in its conceptual stages shortly after Disney took an eraser to much of the Star Wars expanded universe, and their secrecy surrounding these films makes it likely they wouldn’t have been allowed to put anything related to The Force Awakens in there without any major oversight, if there were even any solid details at all. Of course, it’s all speculation at this point, since the game is now a distant memory.

Star Wars: Rogue Leader Wii (Enhanced Edition)

Developer Factor 5 had big plans to bring the beloved Rogue Leader series to the new platforms by remastering the original Rogue Leader trilogy and releasing it on the Wii as one bundle with additional features playing to the Wii’s strengths, like motion-controlled lightsaber duels and vehicle operation.

Money troubles eventually led to Factor 5’s shutdown, which effectively killed the remaster project. Not all was lost, however; some of the design for the Rogue Leader bundle was eventually used to create the PlayStation exclusive Lair. You’re welcome.

Darth Maul

The Force Unleashed, but more mature content and with dismemberment. That’s a decent way to explain the Darth Maul game that never came to be.

Called Darth Maul: Battle of the Sith Lords, this character action game was meant to be a possible origin story for the red and black striped Dathomirian and how he came to be. It had several prototypes and made it as far as releasing gameplay footage via GameInformer, but business between Lucasfilm and Disney led to its unfortunate demise.

Star Wars: 1313

Taking place in the most violent and dark place of Coruscant, Star Wars: 1313 was the action game rumored to star a young Boba Fett as he rose to prominence as a deadly bounty hunter.

1313 was sadly far along in its development when it was axed, even going so far as to have an E3 demo filled with impressive set pieces and blazing firefights. There’s still hope this one might come back eventually, but it’s not a likely possibility.

Jedi Knight III: Brink of Darnkess

The third in the popular first-person Jedi Knight series, Jedi Knight III would have been the ending to the story of Imperial-turned-Jedi Kyle Katarn.

Little else is known about this one, as it never proceeded past its initial conceptual phase. It’s a shame, too; Kyle’s story was an interesting one, and the Jedi Knight games did a great job of adding in gameplay that felt distinctly Jedi-like.

Knights of the Old Republic III

Knights of the Old Republic is still held up as one of the greatest Star Wars games of all times thanks to its combat, presentation, and brilliant storytelling. Its sequel was slightly less favorable, although it remains a solid entry in the series.

A third KotOR game was in its conceptual stage at one point, but was eventually axed for little-known reasons. BioWare developers have since voiced an interest in making Knights of the Old Republic III, and EA’s ownership of the Star Wars video game license makes this a surprisingly promising possibility. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, we can always speculate about that hopefully awesome Star Wars game on which Amy Hennig is hard at work

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