Recognizing individual console strengths, LucasArts brings innovation to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
In a galaxy long, long ago… third party developers would routinely create multi-platform games.
However, things have changed with the advent of the Wii, and while Sony and Microsoft continue to enjoy graphically-driven titles, the Wii, sadly, has been more or less left out of the picture.
While there are games for all three platforms, none of them really feel unique. Specifically in the case for the Wii, most of those games feel like a bad port.
But that is all about to change thanks to a new disturbance in the force.
LucasArts unveiled game footage of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), showing a multi-platform title that displayed not only a new direction for the franchise, but technological improvements for all three consoles.
The Force Unleashed takes place in between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. While young Luke Skywalker is out killing womprats in Tatooine, Lord Darth Vader is feverishly working to rid the galaxy of all remaining jedi. As an end to his means, Vader introduces his “secret apprentice.”
As Vader’s secret apprentice, players will get the chance to revel in the dark side. And although the idea of potentially three siths at the same time violates Star Wars dogma, George Lucas â€” the man behind the cultural phenomenon â€” is creating the new story, which the game’s official site says, “promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy,” so purists should wait before they sit down to write their angry letters.
As far as the technology is concerned, developers for The Force Unleashed have created two new advancements to make life as a sith apprentice as immersive as possible. The first is DMM (Digital Molecular Matter), a physics engine that allows things in the environment â€” such as boards, glass and metal â€” to respond properly when something collides with it. The hard work and result by Pixelux Entertainment is allowing the player to throw a storm trooper through a board and see the board actually break and splinter where the storm trooper made contact. Instead of predetermined breaking patterns, DMM allows for players to feel immersion through the ability to actually impact the environment around them in an individualistic and unique way each and every time they interact with something.
The second advance is Euphoria, by NaturalMotion Ltd. Euphoria is a behavioral-simulation engine, which will grant life-like reactions to environmental stimulus for NPCs. In other words, when a storm trooper is pushed towards a cliff, they will respond by fighting to get their balance by swinging their arms, etc. Even further, if that storm trooper is dangling from the edge and another storm trooper is pushed off the cliff, the two NPCs will actually try to grab each other in order to save themselves. NPC involvement like this â€” in a game which allows players to fully-utilize abilities like the force push â€” should prove for quite an exciting gaming experience for players.
Even though the game is being designed for all three next-gen platforms, the most obvious difference between the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions to the Wii version will be the graphics. As a result, some of the more graphically-demanding levels in the game may not see their way to the Wii console. Whether or not this will affect the amount of immersion that DMM and Euphoria will bring to the gaming experience is yet to be seen.
However, Wii owners will get something that should leave owners of the other two graphically-superior consoles drooling: multiplayer duels. Wii owners will have the chance to pick between 20 different characters to partake in one-on-one duels with other players. The combat will take place in nine different settings, which will all involve environmental hazards and power-ups.
While this should open the Wii experience to some hardcore multi-player action, it has been said that wielding the Wiimote will not exactly be freeform sword fighting. Instead, the developers at Chrome â€” the gang that’s designing the motion controls for the game â€” have stated that the game will only recognize cardinal directions, such as up, down, left, right and forward.
It’s more than any other sword fighting title has to offer for the Wii, and I for one can’t wait to thrust the nunchuck forward to perform a force push.
LucasArts is the first developer to show how a game can be created for all three next-gen consoles without the chance for the gaming experience to suffer quality based on which console a player owns. While the Wii version won’t offer top-notch graphics like the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, Wii owners will get the chance to experience fluid motion-sensitive controls and multiplayer duels.
LucasArts isn’t letting their vision for the game be diminished by developing on all three consoles. If anything, it is providing the level of quality that respective owners expect; ground-breaking graphics for PS3 and Xbox 360 owners and innovative and intuitive controls for Wii owners.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is due to arrive in a galaxy near you this summer.