Update: Sadly, EA has closed Visceral, the main developer behind this project. EA apparently plans to reuse some of the unreleased game's assets in a future Star Wars project, so it isn't totally gone, but it is effectively canceled. For posterity's sake, here's what we knew about the game before it got the ax.
- Untitled Visceral Star Wars Game: Canceled
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Update: March 27 - Portal designer Kim Swift joins up, timeframe revealed
Portal designer Kim Swift has joined the already-stellar lineup of developers working on the as-yet unnamed Star Wars project. She joins Jade Raymond of new EA studio Motive, working alongside Amy Hennig's Visceral team on a brand new Star Wars game. Added together, that's some serious development pedigree. Be excited.
We also know that the game will be set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Why is this significant? Because it opens up loads of Han Solo-focussed possibilities, some of which we'll discuss below. Short version: if you want Uncharted, in the Star Wars universe, starring a rogue so loveable he makes Nathan Drake look like Albert Wesker, you need to start paying attention to this game.
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We've known about developer Visceral Games' upcoming Star Wars project for over three years now. Save for a tantalizing concept trailer shown at E3 2016, this collaboration from the minds behind Assassin's Creed, Dead Space and Uncharted is still as mysterious as the sudden appearance and disappearance of midichlorians from the Star Wars Sage.
We know that it's a third-person action game, and that it will be very like creative lead Amy Hennig's famous Uncharted games - Nolan North, seems suspiciously well informed, said so himself. We also know from the concept trailer that the main character will be visiting the Mos Eisley cantina from a New Hope and that the game appears to take place during the reign of Palpatine's Empire and not contemporaneously with The Force Awakens.
Visceral Star Wars trailer is brief but full of information
The Visceral Star Wars game won't be out for well over a year but that didn't stop EA from showing early gameplay footage at E3 2016. While just a few seconds, we do see some vintage Star Wars iconography, including Star Destroyers, Imperial livery, the Rebel Alliance insignia, all on what appears to be Tattooine. For such a remote planet, one that's apparently so remote that it can be entirely controlled by a mob boss who's little more than a blob with eyes, Tattooine sure does see a lot of action.
The Visceral Star Wars release date is 2018
We've still got a while to wait - the Visceral Star Wars game won't be with us until 2018. Although that's a pretty significant date: the Han Solo movie is set for release in May 2018 too, so it's reasonable to expect some alignment. Combine that with the obvious Uncharted link, and the pre-New Hope timeframe, and it all points to a particular, loveable space rogue. Because Nathan Drake is basically a history-thieving Han Solo already, right?
The Visceral Star Wars game may be an open-world
Open-world gameplay in the Star Wars universe carries huge potential. It could mean that we have free rein on a single planet, like what the cancelled Star Wars 1313 was going to feature, or we could be talking about an entire galaxy to explore. We'd much prefer the latter. This is Star Wars after all, and it doesn't get any more Star Wars than space flight and escaping Star Destroyers with a jump to lightspeed.
The rumor that the game takes place in a open-world environment comes from EA job postings all the way back in 2013 seeking applicants with a passion for the Star Wars franchise to work on a open-world game. Because we're extrapolating gameplay features from job postings, you should take the purported open-world setting with a grain of salt but given EA's propensity for making single-player games in open worlds a la Mirror's Edge Catalyst, it's not unlikely.
Visceral Star Wars is not Star Wars 1313
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, its video game studio Lucasarts died in the process. The house behind Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and classic adventure games like Grim Fandango had been all but shuttered by the time it closed anyway, working on one last big game in an effort to stay a going concern: Star Wars 1313. Demoed at E3 2012 and targeted for PS4 and Xbox One before those systems had been officially named, Star Wars 1313 was a third-person action game set on the city planet Coruscant and at one point starred Boba Fett. Lucasarts was shuttered and Disney allowed the trademark for the Star Wars 1313 name to lapse. When EA took over the Star Wars license, it announced it would only make original games even going so far as to, as detailed below, not make any film adaptations. So Visceral's game will not be Lucasarts' lost game.
The concept of Star Wars 1313 may live on, though. Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm, said in a 2015 interview that the company loves the concept art and work done on Star Wars 1313 and that none of that production work is ever thrown away.
Visceral Star Wars may be a Han Solo game, but it may also star new characters from the comic
Rumors of the game being centered on Han Solo all come from hints we've been getting from the developers' social media postings. Images of the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo action figures, and cryptic tweets mentioning scoundrels have hit the internet. On top of that, there have been photos of a pirate flag featuring a stormtrooper helmet and crossbones, as pictured above.
There's also the fact that DIsney and Lucasfilm are making Han Solo a pillar of its reborn Star Wars film franchise. The Han Solo movie is due out in 2018, the same year as Visceral's game, and it's already been billed as an origin story wherein he meets Chewbacca for the first time. Given that the E3 footage shows the Mos Eisley cantina, a known hang out of Solo, the game may at least involve an appearance of everyone's favorite smuggler.
It may also star one character Han Solo's run into in Marvel's new Star Wars comics, the hilarious and thoroughly evil Doctor Aphra. Like a young, female Indiana Jones obsessed with acquiring dangerous technological artifacts rather than preserving them, Aphra first appeared as a hired ally of Darth Vader. In the brief E3 footage of Visceral's game, a silhouette that looks startlingly like Aphra can be seen. Marvel, Disney, and Lucasfilm have also announced a new ongoing Doctor Aphra comic.
Visceral Star Wars likely won't be a game tie-in to the Han Solo anthology movie
That said it won't necessarily be directly tied to the Han Solo movie, EA has stated that the future Star Wars games would be totally separate tales from the stories being told in the movies, comics, and books. So, don't expect the game to run through the upcoming movie scene-by-scene.
Visceral Star Wars is developed by Uncharted creator Amy Hennig, Assassin's Creed producer Jade Raymond, and Gotham's Todd Stashwick are leading the project
Visceral Star Wars has a strong pedigree. Amy Hennig is the former lead writer of the Uncharted series, so you can thank her for your love of characters like Nathan Drake and Sully. Jade Raymond played a crucial role as the Executive Producer on the Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell series. Finally, Todd Stashwick is better known as a television actor in Batman prequel series Gotham as well as 12 Monkeys. He's since transitioned to gaming and will be lending his writing chops to Visceral's Star Wars game. All have been responsible for some impressive projects, and it'll be interesting to see what they can do with the Star Wars license.