The history of games based upon George Lucas' Star Wars empire have always been of an up-and-down fashion. For every game that's been undesirable or bland (Masters of Teras Kasi for the PlayStation- bleah), there's been a game that ended up as an equally brilliant piece of work (Star Wars Battlefront II for the PS2, Xbox, and Sony PSP). But there's no denying that the license still has legs to spare, especially with the success of the Knights of the Old Republic role-playing games. So here we take a look at the future of Star Wars games to come, and how they could very well help shape the face of the franchise as we know it. Enjoy it, you will.
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Now here's a game that's going to have appeal with every kind of player out there. It doesn't matter of you're a hard-core strategist or one of those people who can't wait to invest hours in a session of Bejeweled. Lego Star Wars seems to have the kind of likeability that almost everybody can find instantly. The sequel looks even more promising, as it deals with the events from the original movie trilogy that many of us grew up with, instead of the new effects-laden trilogy that the previous game followed.
In the game, events from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi unfold, with several classic characters at your control. From Luke Skywalker to Chewbacca to Princess Leia, you'll find each character providing specific skills that will help you complete the game and gain access to unlockable goodies. Watch for the magic date of September 12th, when this game drops for every console on the market, including the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, PC, and Xbox 360. (On that day, you can snag the "unaltered" trilogy for DVD as well. Yes, Han shoots first.)
Star Wars: Lethal Alliance
Recently, Ubisoft struck a deal with the folks at LucasArts to publish a brand new Star Wars adventure, focusing on characters being introduced to the saga for the first time. However, they look to fit pretty well with it, and their unique play styles look to be something that'll push Star Wars: Deadly Alliance ahead when it arrives later this year for the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS.
In the game, players take control of warrior Twi'lek Rianna Saren and her security droid Zeeo as they carry out a mission given to them by the Rebel Alliance. They must fight off Imperial forces as they try to find out more about a battle station known as the Death Star. The events of the game unfold between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, tying the two trilogies closer together, and should have plenty of new details to intrigue Star Wars fans aplenty. Look for more coverage on this title very soon in a full-blown preview.
Star Wars 2007 (yet untitled)
Lethal Alliance isn't the only original Star Wars property that's currently in development. Last month at Comic-Con, LucasArts was showing off an impressive new tech demo for a forthcoming Star Wars game for the Xbox 360. This yet-untitled game looks to utilize the powers of the Jedi, putting you in control of rogue Jedi agents as they fight off Imperial forces and other alien beings as they whip around their lightsabers and the ways of the Force.
The demo looks impressive thus far, with outstanding detail being given to the animation and level designs. It looks like a living, breathing Star Wars universe brought to life on its own, instead of a previously explored area we've already seen. But the real fun we saw with the demo was when the Jedi powers came into play. Not only do you become a total bad-ass by swinging around your lightsaber, but your Force powers can become devastating. At the end of the demo, we saw the yet unnamed Jedi warrior pick up some debris and toss it at a TIE Fighter, blasting it to pieces. Very cool. We'll be keeping up to date on this title as more information surfaces.
Star Wars: Empire At War: Forces of Corruption
Empire At War did surprisingly well for the PC market when it was finally released, and now it looks like things are only going to get better when the expansion pack, Forces of Corruption, arrives this October. Then again, things might be getting worse. I'm not talking about the development per se, but rather the tactics involved with the new expansion, as you'll have forces of corruption literally at your fingertips.
In the game, you'll be dealing with the corrupt side of the Force, using sabotage, bribery, corruption, and extortion to your advantage as you work up your powerful army. You'll also be able to coerce enemy units into joining your army, as well as gaining access to new weapons and powers. Three players will be able to skirmish this time around, and thirteen new planets will be explorable. It looks like the War is far from over, as long as the new expansion packs and chapters keep on coming. Give us a pack where we kill Gungans, will you?
Down the Road- What We May Be Seeing
Now that the next generation of console gaming is coming around the corner, the Star Wars franchise is going to see limitless possibilities. We already know about the platforming action game that LucasArts is hard at work on, but what else could be looming in the future of Star Wars games?
Well, for one, we may not have seen the last of Knights of the Old Republic, Lucasarts' ongoing RPG series. Although Bioware has since moved on to work on Mass Effect, the possibility remains that Obsidian Entertainment, the developer of the Sith Lords sequel, could step up to do a third chapter soon enough. Of course, this is merely heresay, but I really don't see why LucasArts would stop a series like this when it's been going well so far.
Same with Battlefront. Although Pandemic Studios currently has their hands full producing Mercenaries 2 and Destroy All Humans! 2, there's always the chance they could be back for a third full-on battling game, complete with more playable characters, larger battlefields, full online support, and more. I really think we've only seen scratches to the surface as far as this series' potential.
And then there are other games that could be considered. Seeing an all new Jedi Knight or Dark Forces game wouldn't be out the question, since the first-person shooting efforts from LucasArts haven't been bad thus far. (The company recently signed a deal with Free Radical Design, who have more than their fair share of first-person shooting goodness. See the possibilities?) A new flight action game along the lines of TIE Fighter or X-Wing would be nice as well, and, even with Factor 5 out of the picture, that's not to say that Rogue Squadron couldn't find a continuation of some sort.
Even though the movie franchise is pretty much done with, Star Wars still has mileage to spare. A new live action TV series and animated series will be starting up soon, and the novels and comic books assure that the legacy is far from over. Fortunately, it looks like the next wave of games- and beyond- should retail all the faithfulness the series is known for, and then some. The days of crap like Rebel Assault and Star Wars Chess are gone. Long live the new reign of Star Wars mastery. "There is another..."