You play as the secret apprentice of Darth Vader in the time period between Episode III and Episode IV. After completing your tutelage under Vader, you are sent across the galaxy hunting the enemies of your Dark Lord including a Jedi who has managed to escaped the immediate wrath of Order 66. The game also features the evolution of Darth Vader's character in the aftermath of the death of his wife and serves as a bridge between the prequel and original trilogies.
Well that's all well and good, but what does it play like?
The Force Unleashed is built on a simple concept: what would happen if the Force were to be wielded by someone without any sort of self restraint? The answer is simple: KICK ALL SORTS OF ASS.
The Secret Apprentice
- The player character and savage wielder of the Force.
- An exceptional Imperial pilot, she was hand picked by Darth Vader himself to fly the Rogue Shadow, the personal vessel of his apprentice. May serve as a love interest for the young apprentice.
- A padawan who's master has gone searching for answers, but never returned. Marris and her Jedi Master were in the Outer Rim when the Jedi purge began, but the Jedi Master could feel the great disturbance in the Force. Seeking answers, he left his young padawan. His last transmission revealed that the Jedi had been wiped out by Darth Vader. Marris leaves seeking her master and revenge, but is found by the Jedi Master Shaak Ti.
General Rahm Kota
- An old friend of Mace Windu, the General has been in trenches from the age of nine. A gruff Jedi warrior trained by Master Yoda, he would volunteer for the Order's most dangerous missions and never left anyone behind. Respected by his colleges and feared by his enemies, the old soldier barely escaped Order 66 by fleeing the the Outer Rim.
- A prototype holodroid and the apprentice's constant companion. Advanced holographic technology allow PROXY to assume the appearance of anyone he needs to.
- Legendary member of the Jedi Council. Involved in conflicts during the Clone Wars including the epic battle on Geonosis. She has fled the destruction of her people and has found herself on Felucia, where she has trained Marris Brood and the Force-sensitive Felucians in preparation for the conflict with the Dark Lord.
(All images stolen from IGN, as if you couldn't tell from the watermark.)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Trailer
There's an excellent series of videos documenting of the making of the game that is up to it's third installment so far and can be found at the GameTrailers.
The movies below are some really nice vidoes of the game, but I must warn you that there are a few plot spoilers contained within. WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Other videos can also be found on the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed page at GameTrailers here
PLATFORMS AND RELEASE DATE:
with different versions developed by KROME appearing on the WII
, and PS2
(Nokia's mobile phone gaming service, not the piece of crap "system" they release a few years back) versions are also said to be in the works.
A rail shooter in the vein of Rebel Assault using the Force Unleashed title has also been announced for iPhone
No PC version has been announced as of yet. Developers claim that the game wouldn't run on enough consumer's machines for the port to be profitable. It would run on many of our (the PA audience machines), yes. But their aim is the mass market, which they would miss.
Release dates are set for:
North America - September 16, 2008
Australia - September 17, 2008
Europe - September 19, 2008
Anyone looking for a basic outline of what this game is all about can refer to mrflippy's excellent discussion post about the developer's conference from more than a year ago (quoted and spoiler tagged here for your convenience).
If you haven't seen the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Pre-Vis video, go see it on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Sbl_pfxvxUw
IGN also has 3 videos: http://media.xbox360.ign.com/media/823/823667/vids_1.html
Starwars.com now has videos up: http://www.starwars.com/video/view/000477.html
Below are my (semi-organized) notes from a panel discussion and meet and greet earlier today at Star Wars Celebration 4. I may get around to writing some more or prettying it up, but I don't know yet. I have tried to only use quotes for actual quotes from the developers or actors. (Or paraphrases that transfer the original meaning)
- Hayden Blackman (Script Director)
- Matt Omernick (Art Director)
- Brett Rector (Licensing)
- Nathalie Cox (Actress: Juno Eclipse) (Was Balian's wife in Kingdom of Heaven)
- Sam Witwer (Actor: Vader's Secret Apprentice) (Crashdown in Battlestar Galactica)
Core gameplay rule: (quote) "Kicking someone's ass with the force."
- Started development on a new Star Wars game in August 2004
- In 2005, decided on the Vader's Apprentice plot
- It sounds as though the game's story is going to be Canon.
- Photo of a fax where Lucas had checked a box allowing "Leia as a tertiary character."
- Concept art with Jedi (with lightsabers) riding Rancor.
- Sam is a huge Star Wars fan
- Concept video of using the force to throw junk at an AT-ST
- Apparently it is quite fun to just kill enemies with the force. (With the physics engine, no two attacks are exactly the same)
Regarding the story and writing:
- Hayden Blackman wrote the script
- Occurs between Episodes 3 and 4. The game itself covers "quite a bit of time" but no definite range or period was quoted.
- Vader has taken on a secret apprentice. (Unknown to the Emperor? It wasn't clear)
- Juno Eclipse is the apprentice's love interest. She is a talented imperial pilot. (Rank Captain I believe) She was described as having a hardened outside, but with a soft heart inside.
- Blackman (I think) said something about the plot being integral to the entire Star Wars canon
- They wouldn't reveal much else about the plot
- Sam: The script is fantastic
- Sam: Cutscenes are not "Next, we go here, then, we do this." or the like -- they are used for character development and story advancement.
- There is humor in the game
Regarding the Force:
- "Amped up"
- New ways to use the force
- All force users are more powerful than seen in previous games or movies.
- Inspiration from Clone Wars animated series
- Superhero Jedi
- "The Cannonball" force push -- Imagine firing a cannonball into a Stormtrooper's gut and having him fly backwards, crashing through three pillars and then crumpling into a heap against the far wall. That's pretty much what this means.
- Cutting an AT-ST in half with a lightsaber
- Blackman, on what he tells the developers: "Take it so far that I have to tell you to pull it back."
- Matt Omernick, in response to "So is the force all raw destruction in the game or is there finesse?": "There is finesse in the raw destruction."
Sam on his character, Vader's Apprentice:
- "I would describe him as Vader's attack dog" -- meaning that Vader keeps him locked away until he needs a task done. He is trained to obey, even if he doesn't like what he is doing.
- "Raised in darkness"
- "Definitely a dark-sider"
- No elegant use of force
- "Force wrecking ball"
- Can't call him an assassin
- "Star Wars wouldn't happen without this character."
- "Photo opposite of Luke Skywalker"
- Killer, dark-sider, is really innocent (see: trained attack dog), "wide-eyed kid"
- When encountering hostile opponents (like Stormtroopers), a Jedi might use the mind trick, or use the force to slip quietly by. Vader's Apprentice would be more likely to bring an entire building down on the Stormtroopers.
Regarding the technology used to create the game:
- Uses actual ILM toolkits that are used for feature movies (modified to run in real time)
- Facial capture: "allows the actors to give real performances" -- full range facial captures, not just the mouth area
- AI has self preservation built in.
- Digital Molecular Matter (DMM): Simulates behavior of real materials
Matt Omernick on Visual Themes and concept art:
- Evolution in construction (Prequels to Original trilogy)
- Needed to invent looks for never-before-seen locations (TIE fighter construction facility)
- Very open-ended task
- Lucas wanted them to create new characters from scratch
- Raxus Prime
- TIE Fighter Construction Facility
- Concept art showed swamps (possibly Felucia?) and Rancor
- More that were not revealed
- Regarding Jedi Master Koda: New type of Jedi; hard boiled; veteran of Clone Wars, Samurai-inspired, martial arts movements.
- Regarding length of gameplay: Lots of replayability, should be able to whip through the game, or take many hours if wanted. Catering to different play styles
- Regarding a PC version: Announced versions are 360, PS3, DS, PS2, PSP. They danced around the question but didn't say no. It sounds as though they want to make it for PC, but aren't allowed to talk about it.
- Regarding Multiplayer: There will be multiplayer
- Regarding a Novel: There will be a novel. It will enhance the game, more backstory. Devs are working closely with the author.
- Regarding controller usability: Working hard on this, want to support multiple play styles, holding many usability test sessions
Meet and greet (just conversing with the devs and actors):
- Sam: The current playable version is fantastic -- way better than the Pre-Vis video. Photorealistic graphics (regarding his face on the character in game)
- The office's halls are lined with incredible concept art
- Facial motion capture is difficult work. Have to act everything out via the face and without many environmental cues.
- Concept of "fallen" Jedi -- They have been hunted for years and are not always the good, disciplined Jedi that they once were.
Concept Art (I believe you can download these if you are a Star Wars fan club (Hyperspace) member:
- Force shield
- Lots of flying Storm Troopers
- (Luminescent) Rancor
- Super Star Destroyer
- Storm Trooper thrown through multiple columns
- Apprentice kneeling before Vader
- Vader in action -- leading a charge on what looks to be Kashyyyk
- Vader standing in front of an operating table
- Jedi jumping and force pushing
- TIE fighters exploding
- Forest/swamp with AT-ST
- Jedi riding Rancor
- AT-ST hanger
- Giant purple mushrooms?
- Rancor cut in half
- AT-ST cut in half
I think that's all for now. I'm sure I forgot some stuff. (And it was difficult to write stuff down in the dark) After talking with the devs and actors, I am even more excited about this game than I was.
I WANT THIS SO BAD!
Nothing like a Penny Arcade comic to spruce up an OP, right?
I think the Euphoria stuff is really cool, but stormtroopers holding hands is funny "OH JESUS WE'RE GOING TO DIE" "I know... I... I love you man. I always wanted to say, I, I've always loved you" "I know ...I always knew" *SET CUDDLE PHYSICS TO 1"