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Archive for June, 2010

Interview: LucasArts Vice president Bihr Talks Going Beyond The Exorcist

LucasArts vice president of global publishing Mary Bihr tells Gamasutra that the company continues to be “committed to having an internal studio” and is “not opposed to looking in new directions”, despite a Star Wars-centric E3 showing.

The company’s lineup at the show included BioWare-developed MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars action sequel The Force Unleashed 2, and digitally-distributed remake Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.

Bihr’s career with the company stretches back to the point-and-click days — which are seeing a bit of a resurgence at the company with the reawakening of their Monkey Island franchise. “We will, when appropriate, support sequels which have strong sales potential, but we’ve moved in other directions too, as you can see with Monkey Island 2,” she said while speaking to us throughout the current trade event.

If this involves the writer’s Bay Area studio, that has been through some upheavals recently, she states, “We’re dedicated to getting an interior studio.” She also recognized the organization’s Singapore game studio, which started procedures in 2007, as “starting to actually demonstrate potency and efficacy like a studio.”

“We see ourselves certainly supporting our sequels and blockbuster game titles,” Bihr continues. “We have many strong franchises… But we’re not in opposition to searching in new directions, digital initiatives.”

Social gaming? “It’s still a wide open question,” she states. “I can’t let you know anything specific… but we’re searching whatsoever viable options. We’re not restricted by one specific direction.”

If this involves the organization’s self-image, she states, “We see ourselves as ongoing a historical tradition we’ve had to be storytellers… Both original tales and original franchises, after which the way we’ve even developed The Exorcist with story, with the games we’ve produced.”

“We’re a business that’s always searching for improvements too,” Bihr continues. “I believe that’s a hallmark returning towards the old point-and-click days… completely to today using the technology we’re using within the Pressure Unleashed 2, both internally-created along with other technologies… I see us ongoing along our tent pole talents of storytelling and innovation.”

E3 also marked the large announcement of the The Exorcist game for Kinect. “I can’t let you know particularly of particulars in our relationship [with Microsoft] or even theevolution that occurred,” says Bihr. “But I think the reaction of the crowd and the press reaffirms a game that we think will do well in the marketplace, where the core fantasy of swinging a lightsaber and being a Jedi, and being able to do that in a controller-free environment, will be successful.”

Pressure Unleashed might translate to TV & movies

LucasArts hopes to see characters and plot lines from The Force Unleashed make the transition to the small and big screen in the future, says exec producer Haden Blackman.

The Force Unleashed series – in case you’re not a massive Star Wars nerd – fleshes out a time period previously unexplored in the George Lucas films. With a TV series currently in the works, Blackman has his fingers crossed that his characters will make an appearance…

“I hope so, we’re already seeing it reach out into posting with comics and books which are considering tales we’ve produced and figures we’ve produced,” he told CVG. “Hopefully at some point we have seen these figures on large or little screen.

“We’re dealing a duration of time which has largely been untouched by anything,” he stated. “Force Unleashed was the very first major story we occur that point period. I believe we surprised lots of fans with this story because we demonstrated the development from the Digital rebel Alliance and introduce the idea of the dark secret apprentice”.

Blackman told us it’s “pretty exciting” to become adding towards the wealthy The Exorcist world such as way: “[Lucasfilm has] been excellent about letting us do what we have to do in order to get the best game possible and tell the very beststory.”

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Preview

The major question I had walking into the demo of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 was: Is it possible to feel an emotional attachment to a character we’ve already said goodbye to? In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, players will be asked to do just that. Although the game’s lead character Starkiller — or Galen Marek, according to Star Wars novels — sacrificed himself during the true ending of the previous title, the character returns as the playable character in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2.

During the E3 2010 hands-off preview of the upcoming sequel to the “fastest selling” Star Wars title of all time, executive producer Haden Blackman walked us through the game’s opening, which follows a mentally-torn Starkiller as he attempts to escape from his former mentor, Darth Vader.

“We’re focused on an epic story that, again, revolves around Starkiller,” Blackman told me as the demo began to load on a big screen in a secluded room. Reminiscent of a level from EA’s James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, the demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 begins with Starkiller leaping to freedom from a tower attached to his holding cell on the storm planet of Kamino.

Falling from this area, Starkiller can toss his sabers — yes, you can dual-wield them now — or use force push to destroy geometry that gets in his way. From the outset, the character is a powerful beast; however, Starkiller can still upgrade his abilities to dish out more powerful attacks. All of Starkiller’s original force powers return; however, Blackman says each has been redesigned “from the ground, up.”

The newest ability in Starkiller’s repertoire is the classic film power, the Jedi Mind Trick. Using it will enable Starkiller to turn enemies against each other and even get them to leap to their death. Adding a second lightsaber also vastly changes the game’s combat, Blackman says. “They’re faster and have more area of effect attacks,” he tells us as Starkiller mows down half-a-dozen on-screen enemies.

Another feature added to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is the Force Fury mode. As Starkiller defeats enemies, solves puzzles and completes mission objectives he’ll gain “force fury.” When triggered, the feature “takes your powers to the next level.” As Blackman explains it, “If force push hits an enemy like a cannonball, in force fury mode it really sends them out into orbit.”

As was revealed in the E3 trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, one of Starkiller’s major motivations in the game will be discovering whether or not he is a clone. According to Blackman, the biggest motivation for the force-fueled behemoth is reuniting with his love interest from the previous game, Imperial pilot Juno Eclipse.

Following his escape from the clutches of Darth Vader, Starkiller is very much a man on the run. Blackman explains that his new status in the world will help introduce large set pieces where Starkiller must run for his life rather than stop and kill a room of enemies. On the opposite side of the spectrum sits the “good guys,” who are wary of Starkiller’s motivations and whether or not the “resurrected” warrior is a “clone on a mission” or the “genuine article.”

One of the biggest aspects of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed were the light and dark side decisions players were able to make. In The Force Unleashed 2, Starkiller begins the game on the run from his former master, which would imply that the character has turned over a new leaf for good; however Blackman says there will still be a system in place for players to make their own choices.

“We want this character to evolve and have his goals change as he grows and changes. His mission in [The Force Unleashed 2] really is, at least initially, ‘Let me get reunited with Juno.’ Along the way he meets back up with [Rahm] Kota and other characters. His relationship with Vader is always the heart of the story, I think. The saga is Vader’s saga, all six movies. We want it to feel like we’re apart of that saga,” Blackman confesses. “The choice between light and dark, even in the films, isn’t as clear cut as, ‘Do I join the Rebel Alliance or do I turn to Vader?'”

“That relationship takes some twists and turns that are pretty interesting but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Starkiller is always going to be out to kill Vader or even rejoin him. We’re going to, eventually, have to resolve that relationship and we take it another step forward in this game,” Blackman says.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is set to release on October 26, 2010. Yea!!!!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Limited Collector’s Edition In Detail Released

LucasArts has given us the scoop on what the limited collector’s edition of the upcoming video game git, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. Here are the goodies that come with this amazing set:

* A collectable SteelBook
* Exclusive in-game content
o Three exclusive challenge mode levels
o An exclusive Ralph McQuarrie concept “Deak Starkiller” skin
o An exclusive Lightsaber crystal
* An exclusive MIMOBOT designer 2GB USB Flash Drive that comes preloaded with:
o Digital art book, featuring insights into the art of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
o Game script by Haden Blackman
o Themed wallpapers

Those USB drives are pretty darn adorable, and the game script is a nice inclusion, especially for anyone interested in writing for games. I definitely would have preferred something along the lines of a real, functioning light saber or domesticated Ewok, but I guess we’ll see. 🙂

New The Exorcist: The Pressure Unleashed 2 Motion picture Trailer Brings Vader & Angst!!!

The first chapter in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed universe may not have lived up to its enormous hype, but with its original storyline about new character Starkiller in full non-Jedi, berserk mode and cool physics engine, it was a decent start. The sequel is coming, and to help celebrate the developers have issued a new trailer that showcases Darth Vader’s true nature, and a new look at our anti-hero in action. I would have preferred some actual gameplay (full CG-cinematic trailers really don’t do anything for me), and I’m unsure which i’m digging the angst-driven believe that I’m getting here. Still, it’s hard to not get excited at the possibilities of mowing and trimming lower Imperial troops along with other stormtroopers with duel lightsabers along with other crazy/awesome Pressure action forces.

Without doubt we’ll be hearing plenty much more about The Exorcist: The Pressure Unleashed 2 at E3 in a few days, so keep checking at Playswitch.com for the sweet Sith action you’ve come to anticipate from this series!

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