Having been announced at an E3 far, far ago (E3 2012 for reference!!), Star Wars 1313 intended to become a sort of love letter for the older fans of the extended Star Wars universe; seeped in gritty realism and focusing more on the use of weaponry, blasters and gadgets to overcome enemies and foes rather than the often fantastical Force and Lightsaber-focused combat of similar titles such as The Force Awakens franchise and movie tie-in games.
However, Star Wars 1313 enjoyed a brief amount of positive fan reception before unfortunately being discontinued; a series of events having been caused mainly by the main development studio behind Star Wars 1313, LucasArts, being bought out by Disney (Through extension of their purchase of LucasFilm) – Soon afterwards, the license was sold off for use by EA, and… Well… The rest is history.
One thing that’s always sat on my mind is what games could’ve turned out like had they not been faced with cancellation – Star Wars 1313 is a prime example of… Well… Something taken right out of it’s prime – As mentioned by Kathleen Kennedy, LucasFilm head, many of the game’s conceptual art and textures had already been developed to a complete state, leading many to believe that, asides from marketing and general development, the game was reaching an ever-more finalized state with each month.
Let’s break down each aspect of the various pre-release trailers that were teasing Star Wars 1313 and see what we can pull from them!
It’s obvious from the plethora of developer commentaries, interviews and trailers that the gameplay for 1313 would focus on a more troop-centric, boots-on-the-ground style of gameplay as opposed to the more flashy Lightsaber and Force-focused gameplay of previous Star Wars titles – Taking a more cinematic third-person shooter style to it’s combat, Star Wars 1313 seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from the last generation’s third-person cover-based shooters such as Vanquish and Gears of War – Reading into some of the prerelease materials for the game, it indicates that the entirety of the game would’ve been focused on the popular planet Coruscant, delving deeper into it’s dark criminal and alien underworld; having been one of the main focuses of many of the Star Wars films, being the seat of the Senate, Jedi High Counsel and, of course, the Jedi Temple – It’s always been a planet that the films have explored mainly with a limelight glow to it, being a rich and powerful planet full of the galaxy’s strongest Jedi and wealthiest government officials, it would’ve been extremely interesting to view the polar opposite side of Coruscant – A much darker side steeped in poverty, social inequality, discrimination and crime.
As detailed by the official press release for Star Wars 1313:
“[Star Wars 1313 is] …named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy.”
Delving deeper into this aspect of the plot, it would’ve been a possibility to see this story go in a much, much darker direction with your character looking to not only clean up the scum of the darker Coruscant streets, but also the oppressive elitist hierarchy that looms over all of them; terrorist attacks, targeted raids, the kidnapping of government officials and possibly even tackling the Jedi Academy for the highest bidder – It becomes clearer as to why Disney may have wanted this title cancelled, having been developed just before the announcements of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it may be possible that they didn’t want the marketing between 1313 and Star Wars VII to clash too much – A real shame, honestly.
Whilst the game was predominantly steeped in the third-person shooter genre, it could’ve been possible that the game would’ve had additional gameplay elements to tie into the core of the story and themes as well; piloting, platforming and on-rails shooter sections would’ve fit perfectly with the hustle & bustle of Coruscant’s maddeningly dense streets; other than this, however, I do find it hard to try and envision something that would quite work outside of these smaller gameplay styles – Perhaps the game would’ve gone down the Horizon Zero Dawn approach and focused more on agile, open combat? Perhaps a greater focus on verticality using various rocket boosters and jetpacks that the many bounty hunters of the Star Wars extended universe were known for? Personally, I feel that the game would’ve been directed more as a Gears-type game with sections or boss fights set in wide arenas and areas lending itself more to a Horizon Zero Dawn-esque style of third person combat.
Imagine shooting your way through legions of droid and opposing authoritarian forces to come face to face against a freshly trained Jedi – It would’ve felt like a true struggle to take down this warrior due to your lack of combat measures to deal with Force-powered foes, and would’ve really brought back that feeling of the Jedi being more than just bumbling fools waving around shiny oversized glowsticks – Encounters with the lesser Sith as well, manipulating the criminal underworld of Coruscant as well could’ve lead to some interesting moral choices, and could have also lent itself to some more challenging battles and varied boss fights.
Estimated Release Date & Length
Given that the game’s art assets had gone gold around the time of cancellation, that indicates to me that work hadn’t been finalized on the game’s various 3D models and environments – Usually, during this time, development in a large-scale company such as LucasArts would’ve maybe taken between another 2 to 3 years; given the game’s cancellation in January 2014, I believe it would’ve been realistic to see Star Wars 1313 release around September 2017, to lead up and capitalize on the hype for The Last Jedi, perhaps even holding an unlockable teaser upon the game’s 100% completion or something?
One thing to note, as well, is that during this time, LucasArts could’ve migrated the game from using the now-defunct Unreal Engine 3 to the much more powerful Unreal Engine 4, having been fully released in September 2014 – It would’ve likely put a bit of strain on the development times, but overall it would’ve been a FAR better engine to bring Star Wars into the nitty-gritty detail many fans wanted to finally see.
What do you think could’ve been generated from Star Wars 1313? Let us know down in the comments!!