Is Star Wars Stagnating on Consoles? - Article

By Joe Hill, July 21, 2012
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I have a confession to make; I am a huge Star Wars fan. If it were a crime to love Star Wars, I'm pretty sure I would be approaching my second decade in jail. First it was the original films, then the new trilogy, which led me onto the books and, of course, the video games.

It took the leaked footage revealing the very early development for the forever-in-limbo Battlefront 3 game to make me realise how poor a selection of Star Wars games we have for the next-gen consoles. At least compared to the consoles gone of the past. They had many impressive titles for the gamer to get their teeth into: Jedi Academy, Rogue Squadron, both Knights of the Old Republic, as well as Battlefront 1 and 2, were all personal favourites and all hugely unique in their own way. They also expanded the Star Wars universe beyond the films. Compare these with the games that have been released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - the Force Unleashed titles, Lego Star Wars, and the new Kinect game, and they really don't compare, right?

The first Force Unleashed game was massively hyped when it was released in 2008 but turned out to be painfully average. Not too bad, but far too lacking given its potential. The second Force Unleashed was not painfully average, just painful. Let's not get into that disaster of a game. The Lego Star Wars games may be fun, but let's be honest, they were never going to blow you away. Nor was the Kinect game that actually looks like it belongs on the N64. In time, perhaps, Kinect will reach its potential, but for now the new technology remains somewhat lacking.

This is not to say there haven't been any bad games on previous platforms; there is always the danger of romanticising the past. Revenge of the Sith and Jedi Outcast were both terrible games and were rightfully criticised at the time. But they can be forgiven when there are other, amazing games being released around the same time.

My point, in a nutshell, is that the 360 and PS3 have both been out for a while now, surely that's enough time for a quality Star Wars game to have come out?

The only mayor game to have been realised in the last few years with a Star Wars tag on it is the new Knights of the Old Republic game, and that wasn't even for the consoles. Much like many of the original Knights of the Old Republic fans, I was horrified to see that my beloved game and characters had been melted down and reproduced as an MMO. No offense intended to the PC, but that particular title deserved far better. Namely, a third game that is a natural successor to the second KotOR. For me, the original Knights of the Old Republic is still one of the greatest games of all time, and still holds the biggest surprise ever sprung on a gamer. If, for whatever reason, you haven't reached that point after 10 years, don't worry, I won't spoil it.

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It was the news that the new KotOR game was going to be an MMO that crushed much of my faith in LucasArts. It made me wonder about the direction of the company, especially with their prioritisation towards projects such as the MMO, Kinect game and the Clone Wars series. It almost seems that the traditional console gamer is being left behind to accommodate a market aimed more at others; MMO fans, the younger generation, handheld devices, and the casual gamer.

It is the sincerest hope of this writer that the article is 100% wrong, that George Lucas himself is ordering his personal army of stormtroopers to develop the next serious Star Wars game to reignite the series on the console. As it so happens that is exactly what the bearded legend has planned, with E3 revealing the upcoming (and internally developed) Star Wars 1313 game. With rumours of new consoles for both the Xbox and Playstation on the horizon, it would be nice to have one memorable Star Wars game on the current platforms.

1313 has received its fair share of excitement and good press, but a few words of caution for those getting hyped already: The Force Unleashed 2 did too.

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