Just about everyone desperately wants a Star Wars game where you play as a cool, ruthless bounty hunter. That's what I was told, anyway, but it does sound neat to play as a Boba Fett-alike and dive headfirst into the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe.
That's exactly what you'll be doing in 1313, the new major Star Wars title from LucasArts. 1313 derives its title from where the game is set: on the one thousand, three hundred and thirteenth level below the surface level of the planet Coruscant. You play the role of a young bounty hunter who, alongside his more grizzled companion, is tasked with delivering a nasty-seeming creature in a cage to this far-off level.
Naturally, things immediately go wrong in the form of some enemies boarding your ship, stealing the cargo, and having you plummet downwards in a very quick manner. And that's what I saw in action at Gamescom.
First thought? This game is beautiful. Like, next-gen beautiful. It was running on a custom-built PC, and no other platforms have been announced at this time. All of this adds up, in my speculative mind, to a release on the next Xbox and PlayStation.
It certainly couldn't run on current consoles without a huge drop in fidelity: the particle effects, anti-aliasing, post-processing effects, and sheer amount of detail were way beyond.
Second thought? It's Uncharted, with a dash of Blade Runner. Seriously, this is Nathan Drake as a bounty hunter. You've got gunplay, melee attacks, and a hell of a lot of cover options. And then there are seamless transitions into quick-time events, computer-controlled death-defying leaps, and breathtaking set pieces. It's disappointing that what I saw contained so little of anything new in its gameplay. But I argue that about Uncharted, and I still enjoy those games immensely. So if LucasArts can make a game on par with any of Drake's adventures, but with next-gen production values, I'm not going to stop them.
I only saw concept art of the actual 1313, but it's described as the archetypal bad street found in every city: except the whole area is that bad street. This is a seedy place populated with characters who apparently have more shades of grey than we're used to seeing in the Star Wars universe. That's where the Blade Runner comparisons come in: it had a very similar vibe to its dirty, dark, neon-lit streets.
This is a big project for LucasArts, and the rep was very quick to point out how everyone in the Lucas family of divisions was working together on this title. But of course, we've heard that before: I remember The Force Unleashed was touted as an amazing coming together of the various Lucas divisions. What we got was an action title that wasn't crap, but wasn't exactly flawless either.
Will 1313 share the same fate, or has LucasArts learned from that? Goodness knows. For now, it looks impressive, and we've got precious little else to judge from what's been shown off so far.By Tristan Clark