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E3 2012: First Look – Star Wars 1313

LucasArts surprises E3 2012 crowds with its new IP – Star Wars 1313 – teasing a darker, more “mature” game, before showing off one of the most impressive trailers of the entire show.

Star Wars 1313 - logo

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I have always been a Star Wars fan, and barring some George Lucas-induced catastrophe (like another trilogy), I always plan to be. Unfortunately, the Star Wars video games have always been hit or miss, and mostly the latter: like most games based on movies, Star Wars titles never really “got it”, at least not until the last decade or so. There have been some flops, but games like Racer (N64 and Dreamcast), Rogue Squadron (N64) and Rogue Leader (GCN), and the Knights of the Old Republic series (Xbox) set things straight. Hell, even the Force Unleashed franchise wasn’t so bad…if you’re feeling generous.

With the surprise announcement of Star Wars 1313, LucasArts finally seems to be doing something really big with the Star Wars brand – beyond fancy physics engines (Force Unleashed) and MMOs (The Old Republic). According to the publisher, this new IP will take a darker, more “mature” approach to the Star Wars universe, starting with the main character and the plot.

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Players will assume the role of a Mandalorian bounty hunter responsible for transporting a prisoner in a subterranean part of Coruscant, heading down one thousand, three hundred-thirteen (1313) levels beneath the surface of the Empire’s home planet. The gameplay demo displayed at E3 gives a glimpse of the bounty hunter clinging on for dear life as the structures around him collapse; very reminiscent of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. Check out the footage below:

As you can see, Star Wars 1313 is a third-person shooter/adventure/platforming game, almost identical to the aforementioned Uncharted franchise. If that poses any issues with your gaming tastes, you may want to avoid 1313 – LucasArts doesn’t appear to be holding back with the influences; most of the basic mechanics in the game seem to be lifted straight from Uncharted’s formula. You’ll engage in cover-based combat and intense melee confrontations; you’ll tackle vertigo-inducing climbing sections and experience action-packed scripted sequences. It’s “Uncharted 101”, from start to finish – only you’ll be using blasters and thermal detonators instead of assault rifles and hand grenades. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; I’m actually pretty confident that it could work well.

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Star Wars 1313, along with fellow E3 “AAA” games like Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, looks decidedly “next-gen”. LucasArts – obviously gifted with decades of cinematic experience – could really have the upper hand when it comes to delivering those cinematic moments, but generally speaking, Star Wars 1313 is among the best-looking games shown at this year’s E3. If the final version can operate smoothly without any frame rate issues or other graphical nags, I’ll be more than impressed.

There aren’t a lot of specifics about the plot, the characters, or other background details about Star Wars 1313 – unfortunately, all we know is that the gameplay is based on many of the concepts that will be familiar to Uncharted players and fans of third-person shooters. There is no release date currently slated for 1313, but it would be wise to assume that this one won’t make it around until later in 2013.

What are your thoughts about LucasArts’ latest Star Wars title? Do you think this Uncharted-style approach will work out well in the galaxy far, far away? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.