Let’s be honest: Star Wars video games have always been hit or miss. Empire Strikes Back was killer on the Atari 2600, but terrible on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Star Wars: Dark Forces and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter on PC were tight, while Star Wars: Rebel Assault could quite literally render you sterile. When it comes to polygonal third-person action the results are even spottier. Sometimes you get a flawed but fun romp like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Other times you get Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace for the original PlayStation, a game that actually caused blindness and projectile vomitting.
All this is to demonstrate a point: Star Wars: 1313, announced by LucasArts on Thursday, sounds excellent on paper. That does not, however, mean it be will be awesome.
LucasArts has been teasing a new Star Wars game franchise for weeks now, but only now has it confirmed that the game is in fact 1313, a rumored title for the game that popped up after a domain name was discovered for it in May. The vague announcement showed now actual footage of the game, just concept art and a description of the action. Taking place on the seedy underground Level 1313 on the city-covered planet Coruscant, the game actually sounds similar to the long-in-production Star Wars live action television series. You will play as a bounty hunter dealing with the less savory elements of George Lucas’ universe and engaging in “agile cover-based combat, epic platforming, and seamless playable cinematic game play.”
That first part sounds like every third-person shooter made in the past 6 years. The third part sounds like a heaping dose of QTEs, or quick time events, the sort of big action carried out with simple timed button presses that littered Force Unleashed, making it less exciting in the process.
The second part about epic platforming though is a little bit more encouraging. Other people have speculated that Star Wars: 1313 will actually star a particularly popular bounty hunter by the name of Boba Fett. Fett posed as a soldier with title CT-1313 in a Star Wars novel. That sort of minutiae wouldn’t be evidence in most franchises, but Star Wars’ obsessed over canon is typically a reliable source when it comes to new franchise material. And Boba Fett does have a jetpack, which would make for some epic platforming indeed.
Epic platforming with a jetpack has been tried in games before, but never successfully. Capcom’s Dark Void in particular failed to capitalize on the freedom of the device. Then there’s Star Wars: Bounty Hunter on PlayStation 2 starring Jango Fett. Guess which end of the Star Wars game quality spectrum that one fell on? Right. The crap one.