When LucasArts was at its height, it almost felt like there was a new Star Wars game out every single month. In the era of the Nintendo 64, the Dreamcast and the first Playstation, games of all stripes released for the Star Wars universe, including smash-hit titles like Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire. This ushered in a new age of Star Wars storytelling that eventually made its way through the Battlefront series, to Knights of the Old Republic, and even the new Battlefront franchise made by EA.
But like most major franchises, some stories never saw the light of day, and the list of cancelled Star Wars games seems to grow as rapidly as they once released. Just this past year, we watched the fall of two Star Wars games, and the effect those losses had on the studios that were working on them. While the Star Wars franchise is still active on th gaming front, there certainly is something amiss when it comes to narrative titles on bigger platforms like consoles and PC.
Currently, Star Wars: Battlefront II, its predecessor, and a slew of mobile games are the only 'recent' video game titles that the saga has to boast about. On the heels of The Last Jedi's release, and with a potential future where a Star Wars film release every year, there's hope for a larger amount of titles that matter to the galaxy's narrative in similar ways to Battlefront II's entertaining, but admittedly short single player campaign.
As the twin suns rise and set, the future of Star Wars games remains vague, but has the potential for some incredible experiences. Until then, here's a look back at some of the coolest (and weirdest) video game projects from everyone's favorite galaxy far, far away.
This Boba Fett-centric title was once an extremely anticipated game with cinematics that blew away technology at the time. 1313 was first announced back at E3 2012, but when Disney bought Lucasfilm, the game was shuttered and shelved along with nearly every other LucaArts project that you'll see mentioned in this article. The game was originally set roughly 5-10 years before the Battle of Yavin, and was meant to continue the story of Young Boba Fett as he became the infamous bounty hunter that he's apparently known to be by the time Empire Strikes Back rolls around. Fett has returned in several new canon stories since, but this particular title seems gone for good.
Another casualty of the Disney buy was First Assault, a LucasArts-made game that looked like it would be a first-person shooter using Unreal Engine mechanics. Not much has been revealed about the project, but concept art was created for it by Richard Lim, and 343 Industries' Tim Temmerman, was on board as a Systems Designer.
Kids these days don't know the glory of the various Star Wars X-Wing and Tie Fighter games or Rogue Squadron (well, okay, some of them might), but following the era when starfighter games reigned supreme, development began on Attack Squadrons. This game actually went into production after talks with Disney began, and Disney Interactive itself had a hand in the game. The game wasn't meant to be especially complicated -- in fact, it was a "freemium" game intended to work on web browsers, not unlike the ones that continue to be popularized by Adult Swim.
Development on Attack Squadrons went as far as having a closed beta for players to test the game, but after the beta wrapped, Disney made the decision not to go forward with it.
Battle of the Sith Lords was another title featuring a mostly-unexplored (at the time) yet still fan favorite character, Darth Maul. The game wasn't actually titled that -- it was given the working titles of Maul and Damage at certain points -- but it was still an interesting concept that put players in Maul's shoes for a "stealth-action" game. Unfortunately, problems started long before Disney came in: communication between developer Red Fly and LucasArts was a little shaky, and the game's story changed several times, as Red Fly wasn't let in on the details that would soon come to fruition regarding Maul's survival after The Phantom Menace.
Like Boba Fett, Maul's story has been more deeply explored in other forms of media now considered canon, including The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and the still-canon Dark Horse Darth Maul comic series. While we'll likely never see Darth Maul and Darth Talon team up outside of fanfic, the George Lucas-formed dream team would have been cool to see on screen.
Oh, Chewie. Arguably Star Wars' best example of a lifelong friend, the Wookiee co-pilot has ridden alongside the saga's primary story since the beginning. Back in the days of LucasArts, work began on an untitled game that explored Chewbacca's origins, which had only really been done in the novels of the Expanded Universe and the Holiday Special. George Lucas himself had the game cancelled during development, and while Chewie hasn't really played a major part in anything since (he's appeared in Battlefront, headlined a few children's books and featured in his own Marvel comic miniseries) fans do at least get to see him on the big screen for the forseeable future, in both Solo and the untitled ninth installment of the Star Wars saga.
The original Battlefront series was just as much of a hit with fans as it is today (with way less microtransactions), but, along with several others, it too became another name on the list of games that were cancelled after LucasArts closed its doors.Development on the third installment of the game was never formally announced, but by 2009, renders of characters and sequences had leaked from former employees of Free Radical Studios, the game's developer. Released footage featured cutscenes and hints of a more linear storyline at the game's heart, like the most recent Battlefront II, as well as a really interesting air-to-ground feature where players could go from battling on foot, first person style, to hopping into a starship and taking to the sky for a battle in space.
Knights of the Old Republic 3 suffered bad timing at its worst, cancelled well before the Disney era due to unknown, unspoken complications. While The Old Republic filled its shoes, the story was already hashed out, according to designer John Stafford. "We wrote a story, designed most of the environments/worlds, and many of the quests, characters, and items," Stafford said in Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts. The project was sadly shuttered long before it got much further, though updates continue to roll in on Knights of the Old Republic II.
Developers from Obsidian recently spilled the beans on the story, which mentions the Unkown Regions that are currently so important to the rise of the First Order. "The player would be following Revan's path into the Unknown Regions, and he goes very, very deep into the Unknown Regions and finds the outskirts of the real Sith Empire," said Obsidian co-founder Chris Avellone in a 2016 interview. "And that's a pretty terrifying place."
The Unknown Regions, for anyone not acquainted, is the area well beyond the limits of the Outer Rim (where Tatooine is located, among others). Currently, the story behind it is that several remnants of the Empire, including Brendol Hux (General Hux's father) fled to the Unknown Regions, where some hidden power there would help them build the First Order.
As mentioned before, Rogue Squadron was enormously popular as both a game and book series, putting players in control of legendary Star Wars fighters with stories that centered around fan favorites like Wedge Antilles. Dark Squadron was intended to be the Imperial answer to Rogue Squadron's success, telling the stories of TIE Fighter pilots and writing alternate endings into the Star Wars storyline for the most skilled pilots. These additional endings reportedly included one where Darth Vader succeeded in stopping the Rebels from destroying the Death Star, and another level where the Empire descends upon the Rebels to destroy their base on Yavin IV. Development on Dark Squadron was cancelled in favor of the Chewbacca game, which, as also previously mentioned, got canned by Lucas himself.
One of the most exciting pieces of news in regards to modern Star Wars games was the announcement of a Star Wars single-player action game from the developers of Uncharted. Modern-day game creating legend Amy Hennig was tied to the project, and while everything seemed fine since its 2016 tease at E3, news broke this past October that EA would be closing Visceral.
While the EA says that development on the game has continued internally, news of how that will work has yet to be announced, and one can only imagine that a good deal of the early work Visceral put into the game might end up on the cutting room floor. So, while this one is on this list, it isn't exactly cancelled -- just suspended somewhere in space, waiting for the Force to guide it back.
Proteus not only got cancelled, it was the first of three games that one single team within LucasArts worked on that got cancelled. Yes, before Knights of the Old Repubic 3 and the cancelled Chewbacca game, Proteus hit the chopping block. Originally developed as an MMORPG to match the wits of Star Wars: Galaxies, Proteus' interface and user experience development faced several challenges, reportedly finding difficulty with creating an attractive revenue model. The game's concept art revealed locations on Bespin and Sullust, as well as characters who were human, Quarren, and Kel Dor.
If you're curious about the history of LucasArts, definitely pick up a copy of Rogue Leaders, which includes plenty of interviews with developers and plenty of LucasArts alumni to elaborate on some of Star Wars' best games of all time -- and the ones that didn't make it.