Star Wars 1313: LucasArts Goes ‘Mature’ and Taps Hollywood Magic

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LucasArts hasn’t released a memorable Star Wars video game in years, but Star Wars 1313 has given fans a new hope. The game seems to be getting lots of buzz around the show floor here at E3, even though LucasArts has barely shown any of the game or said much at all about it.

We don’t even know what platforms it’ll be available on or when, leading to speculation that Star Wars 1313 is actually a game for the next generation of consoles. (The demo was built on Unreal Engine 3, which is used for current-generation games but may power the first wave of games on future consoles as well.)

So why is Star Wars 1313 noteworthy? For one, it’s Star Wars. But it’s also an effort by LucasArts to bring some of its Hollywood know-how to video games.

LucasFilm’s Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and LucasFilm Animation are all contributing to the game, and though it’s too early to judge whether their efforts will pay off, the brief demo I saw had some gorgeous visuals (see the above video). I was less impressed with the demo’s facial animations, which capture even the tiniest of muscle movements from live actors, but also occasionally crossed into the uncanny valley. (I can’t put my finger on it, but I think the characters have weird teeth.)

LucasArts hasn’t said who the characters in Star Wars 1313 will be, but players will control a bounty hunter as he explores level 1313 on the planet Coruscant–a foul criminal underbelly, from what we’re told. The idea behind this locale is to allow for some dark plotlines and morally grey areas, but at this point we don’t know much else about the plot.

The game itself cribs liberally from Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, with a mix of cover-based shooting and climbing across platforms. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that LucasArts will have to add more to the experience if it wants its action to stand out. The game’s developers hinted at high-tech gadgetry to play with, but we only saw basic gunplay in the hands-off demo at E3.

The limited information available about Star Wars 1313 makes getting excited difficult, and this wouldn’t be the first time LucasArts has made grand promises about far-off games (see: Kinect Star Wars). But at least there’s a sense that LucasArts wants to put together a finely polished Star Wars game, and not another cheap cash-in.

MORE: Check out Techland’s E3 coverage