While Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise may have been a boon to the movies, it was a death toll for many of the games in development. Unfortunately Disney decided to shutter LucasArts after purchasing the license, and one high profile game that was in development was canned. That game is none other than the highly anticipated Star Wars 1313. The gaming world lost a great developer when LucasArts finally closed its doors, this was the studio that brought us Maniac Mansion, Grim Fandango, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Star Wars: Republic Commando just to name a few. Most of their releases are beloved cult classics that really stir up the nostalgia when they’re replayed. Replaying Day of the Tentacle on my Vita really brought some childhood memories back, and it is sad that no new children will have LucasArts to look fondly back on. I’m thinking that Star Wars 1313 would have been another great LucasArts title but we will never know now.
Rumors of this new Star Wars game leaked out in May of 2012 when LucasArts trademarked the title, Star Wars 1313. LucasArts then announced the title, revealed official gameplay, and trailers at that year’s E3. The title was being developed using the Unreal 3 Engine and was said to be the early adventures of Boba Fett on Coruscant, and to be in a similar vein of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. No Force jumps or Lightsabers in this game; instead players would be relying on bounty hunter gadgets, wits and a good blaster at their side. Personally I enjoyed Bounty Hunter, it was nice to see the seething underbelly of the Star Wars Universe, and being able to play as one of the most badass bounty hunters didn’t hurt either.
About a year passed and the world was shocked with the news that Disney has purchased all the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas. On March 1 2013 Star Wars 1313 was officially put on hold by one Disney representative, but there was another who gave us a new hope and stated that development had not been stopped entirely. One month later on April 3, 2013 Disney announced that LucasArts was being closed down. They fired a majority of staff and kept on a few to run the licensing department. At that time the fate of Star Wars 1313 was sadly expanded upon from a Lucasfilm representative with the following statement, “After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization.” Star Wars 1313 found itself in some murky and uncharted waters.
Fast forward to May 2013 and Disney announces a partnership with EA games to develop and publish Star Wars games. EA has only released one title since this announcement and while it was a fun shooter, it was no KotOR or Republic Commando. At the time of the announcement when pressed about older LucasArts games no comment was made of the fate of young Boba Fett. At the beginning of 2014 LucasArts decided not renew the trademark for Star Wars 1313. Generally when a trademark is abandoned the game is lost, but in 2015 Kathleen Kennedy had some encouraging words for gamers. In an interview she praised the concept art for the game and stated ” [it is] something we’re spending a lot of time looking at, poring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further.” Two years have passed since the interview and with E3 right around the corner and a rumored game from Visceral (an EA developer), things might be looking good.
For those of you who can’t place Visceral, they are the developer that brought us the Dead Space trilogy and really haven’t been heard from since Dead Space 3 dropped. Hopefully they have been secretly working on Star Wars 1313 because they really are the perfect developer for this title. No one does over-the-shoulder shooters better than them, except maybe Capcom or Epic Games. I feel that they would be the perfect team to resurrect this title. They know how to tell a story. Issac’s tale is one weaved within mystery and a gripping narrative. Graphically they are geniuses, just being on the Ishimura can give one goosebumps. In terms of character design, I would love to see the types of aliens and enemies they would come up with for young Fett to spar with. This is what one would call a match made in Heaven, but we would have to depend on EA for a good decision. And when it comes to EA, only thought comes to mind: “I have a bad feeling about this.” We’ll have to wait and see.