During a panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe at the ExCeL London Exhibition Centre, Creative Director Amy Hennig talked about her upcoming Star Wars game developed by Visceral Games.
The game is a long way away, coming in 2018. It doesn’t even have a name for now.
The team is writing an original Star Wars story with new characters, new locations, creatures and tech, and it has to sit authentically alongside the rest of the Star Wars lore, so the studio is working very closely with the folks at LucasFilm. This kind of partnership is “critical.”
Hennig mentioned that it’s so early that the team probably shouldn’t even talk about the game yet, but people are so curious that the team wants to talk at least about the process and where they are at.
During the talk, she showcased a few pieces of artwork (which can be seen in the gallery), and explained that they include “a lot of clues,” inviting fans to scrutinize them and speculate.
Acording to Hennig, the creative process for the game is very similar to what she did with Uncharted. She explained that if you want to recreate a familiar classic (which In Uncharted‘s case was a pulp action-adventure experience), you need to deconstruct the films so that you can reconstruct them in an interactive context as gameplay.
Incidentally, when Hennig mentioned Uncharted, the crowd cheered, and she commented “Good, they’ll like this game then!”
The end goal for the new game is that by the time the players have finished playing, they feel like they really did play a Star Wars film. Hennig aims to get the structure right, including the act breaks, the obstacles and the set pieces, and all the components that make a true Star Wars story.
She also wants to get the tone right, reproducing what co-writer Todd Stashwick calls “breezy urgency,” which Hennig elaborated as a sort of “swashbuckling charm” with “humor and buoyancy,” but at the same time there are “stakes and jeopardy.”
Analyzing the films, Hennig identified what distinguishes them: they’re always ensemble stories. In Star Wars the main characters are not side characters: they’re co-protagonists. The films are as much Han, Leia and Vader’s story as they are Luke’s. That tradition continues with Rebels and Rogue One. The same thing will be true of Hennig’s game.
Part of what Hennig is doing is to enable that not just in the story, but also in gameplay. It’s not a lone wolf story. The main cast will be “a coordinated ensemble acting in the moment and in parallel.”
Characters in the Star Wars movies are always outgunned and outnumbered, so they always have to be smarter than their enemies and they have to work together. Enabling that in gameplay is another challenge for Hennig’s team, so that the player will really feel that experience.