With Star Wars Celebration 2017 happening this week, and loads of potential new info coming out, it's time to go back and look at everything Star Wars related. EA's discussion of upcoming Star Wars projects during the week of E3 2016 was quite the tease. Instead of basking in the glow of wondrous reveal trailers, we simply got a short reel that showed developers hard at work, with EA Motive's Jade Raymond promising that exciting things are in the works. We still don't have names for the upcoming Star Wars projects from Respawn Entertainment and Visceral Games, and all we actually got to see of the latter was literally eight seconds of "early in-game footage". Oh, and if you're here for the competition... your second word is 'really'.
But that incredibly brief glimpse has already told us so much. Clearly, Visceral's Amy Hennig (most famous for shaping the Uncharted series) is trying to convey some key details about the studio's Star Wars title, despite sharing such a small amount of footage. We're almost certain to get more on Visceral's SW game this week, so keep an eye on GR+ for the news. In the meantime, here's all we know...
The protagonist is definitely walking out of Mos Eisley Cantina
This isn't just some random desert planet in a town unfamiliar to the known Star Wars universe. The protagonist wearing the trenchcoat is walking out of the very same cantina where Obi-Wan and Luke struck a deal with Han and Chewie. Just take a look at the surroundings. As the new hero walks out the door you can see a white, windowed pod on the left and a seemingly random pile of junk on the right. But we've seen these objects before.
We can also clearly see Mos Eisley's tallest tower in the distance, albeit with more Empire regalia than usual. Could this be happening in the pre-Rogue One era? The place feels a lot like Jedha, when the Imperials were mining it for Kyber Crystals.
If you're still not convinced, here's some more evidence. Just before our hero steps into the light, we see him walking down a hallway that has a lamp-like fixture on the wall.
This is a perfect replication of the lamps seen in the Cantina, including this pair resting above the lovable Han and Chewie moments before their fateful first meeting with Luke and Obi-Wan. It would appear that the artists at Visceral thought of every detail - well done!
There appears to be a Rebel graffiti artist lurking about
It's extremely difficult to spot at a glance, but look closely, and you can clearly see the Rebel symbol painted onto the wall near some of the Empire flags. Some daring tagger is making a statement that the Rebel Alliance still has a presence, even in the face of the Empire's regime.
The symbol may just be a bit of world-building art, or it could have bigger repercussions to the plot. Again, let's compare this to Jedha in Rogue One - the local population is actively rebelling against the Empire's presence. There's political tension. This could well imply we're looking at roughly the same time period, given the relative state of the Rebellion. So, maybe anything from one to five years before A New Hope. Say, wouldn't that make this game ripe to be based on the Young Han Solo movie? It's bit of a leap, and there's other evidence that may suggest otherwise.
There may be two main characters, possibly affiliated with the Empire
Let's connect a few possibly unrelated dots. As our hero exits the cantina, you can see two 74-Z speeder bikes, which are known Empire vehicles; you probably recognize them from the iconic forest chase scene in Return of the Jedi. Our hero appears to be walking towards them as if one of them is his ride - but that other one parked next to it can't be a coincidence. Whether or not he's an actual Imperial agent, or a Rebellion mole... that's up for grabs.
In the piece of concept art briefly shown before the gameplay clip, we see three figures (one who appears to have their back turned) in the distance, squaring off against some guards in the foreground wearing unfamiliar helmets. The man on the right is clearly the same guy as in the clip, judging by his hair and attire, but we don't yet know who the woman on the left might be.
If you squint hard enough though, you can just barely start to make out details of the woman's outfit, and they actually line up pretty well with a female character introduced in the comics: Dr. Aphra.
Aphra made her debut in Darth Vader #3, where she described herself as a 'rogue archaeologist'. That sounds like an awfully shady occupation, and her history as described in the comics means that she could have access to Imperial hardware (such as the aforementioned speeder bikes). It's just a theory and we could be wrong, but from the head-gear to the pointed shoulders on her jacket and the seeming slope of her belt, it appears to be her. Or, maybe fashion sense among the morally-gray is just that universal. Who knows!
It could take place during the Galactic Civil War or well before New Hope
Here's the big one: that short gameplay clip might actually be telling us exactly when the events of the game will take place. For one thing, it seems from the clip that the Empire has occupied the backwater planet showing Two Star Destroyers and a pair of TIE fighters flying over the Mos Eisley Spaceport.
Being a resource-lacking planet in the Outer Rim, Tatooine is only likely to attract the attention of the Empire when something like the Death Star plans are stolen then smuggled off-world. Equally, though, it could have been home to significant events years before A New Hope. Aside from the fact it's remote, there must have been a reason Obi Wan chose to live on Tatooine. Or that Han and Chewie happened to be there when Luke needed a ride out. There's clearly more to the planet than it first seems.
In a way, it'd be disappointing if the game is set around New Hope, because that period of the franchise has been so extensively covered. However, if you take a look back at the scene from the movie Han, Luke, and crew escape from two Star Destroyers and, lookie there, we see two Star Destroyers hovering over the town in the gameplay clip. After losing the heroes in space, the capital ships could be coming down to the planet to occupy the settlement and lock down the fugitives' former safe haven. The pieces are all there, but this is still all speculation. We'll have more for you very soon on this and other Star Wars games and movies.