Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
The PC RELEASE of The Force Unleashed was something of an afterthought, but the game was considered a success, commercially at least, shifting a healthy seven million copies. Critically, opinion was split, some bemoaning the console approach - combos, quick time boss fights and bugs - while fanboys gripped their lightsabers at the giddy Star Wars-ness of it all.
Filling the gap between the utterly shit prequel trilogy and the proper one? The Force Unleashed told the story of Darth Voder's secret apprentice, Starkiller (apparently Skywalker's prototype name), and his moral battle with the Force powers bestowed upon him by Voder. A decent tale, the Writers Guild of America gave it an award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing for Videogiames. As the 'Unleashed' part of its name suggests, Force powers are not used sparingly in TFU. Instead they're' tossed around like rice at a wedding.
Never mind balancing a few rocks or making lightsabers float about, Starkiller could bring down Star Destroyers with his bare mind. If Alec Guinness were in TFU, he wouldn't have subtly informed those stormtroopers that C-3PO and R2-D2 weren't the droids they were looking for. He'd have twatted them with a lightning bolt before tearing Mos Eisley apart in a Jedi rampage.
While the success of TFU always suggested a sequel, those who completed the original may be surprised to learn of the return of its lead character Starkiller. His being dead presented something of a challenge for the writers.
"I think the fact that we were up against the wall with bringing him back has led us to create a story that, to me, is very interesting and very personal with his character," says executive producer Haden Blackman. "So I'm kind of glad we did it and I have absolutely no regrets about killing Starkiller off in the first game. I'll kill him off in every game..."
Details of the new story are closely guarded, but newcomers to the game will be given a recap. As Blackman says, "The fact that lie's tormented by his memories gives you flashes of his relationship with some of the other dimeters, but the goal was to tell a soi-coiitainecl story. You can come in wimoirt knowing anything about TFU, eveiVvery little about Star Wars, and still have a good experience. Same with the gameplay - we could not rely on your knowledge of TFUl's gameplay to get you through TFU2, so it still has to be very pick-up-and-play."
As for the specifics of that gameplay, the big news is that you'll be able to wield two lightsabers, which is twice as good as one. We are also promised that they'll "feel more like lightsabers and less like Nerf bats".
Elsewhere, the oriamal's AI has been improved, and navigation system redesigned. The number of units has been cut from over 100 vanilla types to betwjfn 20 and 25 specialised ones to that each has some tactica). Boss battles will be butlonger, and the occasionally flaky Fofoe Grip mode will hopefully be fixed.
We were also given a sneak glimpse of what LucasArts describe as 'run-for-your-life moments,' wherein you frantically leg it towards the camera as mayhem ensues in wake.
We saw a bit of first level, set in Kamino - which is, of course, the watery world where the Clone Army for the Galactic Republic was created (thanks Wookieepedia). With an upgraded engine, the trademark lush vistas were in evidence, and the same voice actor was on duty as Starkiller, apparently another reason to bring the character back.
With Starkiller fleeing from Vader and going to Dagobah - the place where Luke Sky walker had his visions about killing himself - there's a strong whiff of Empire Strikes Back about TFU2, not least because it's the second instalment of a probable trilogy.
This is a comparison Blackmail welcomes, admitting, "I really this is our Empire Strikes Back in a lot of ways. Thematically it feels a lot like Empire. It's darker than TFU1, Vader's a pivotal figure, and there's some overlap in terms of the places that you go. The ending will make people rethink how A New Hope begins." If nothing else, it'll be an excuse to watch the trilogy again. The proper one of course.