Picture the scene. Chris Avellone sits in an office peppered with South Park memorabilia. There’s a rat-a-tat-tat at his door. It’s studio head Feargus Urquhart, wielding an edict for a new Star Wars game. Chris - who’d rather elope with an Ewok than watch the films again - sighs, deeply, lengthily. And then he gets to work on a script that quietly but fundamentally subverts Lucas’ spiritual parable, and emerges with the best Star Wars game in an age. Again.
That, to hear Urquhart tell it, is exactly what’s happened. If only Obsidian can get Disney to light the green paper in their arcane and unknowable publishing ritual.
The Old Republic’s struggle for subs isn’t really the stuff of a compelling pitch presentation, and so Obsidian plan to shunt their timeline a couple of thousand years forward.
“There’s a lot of different eras in Star Wars, and that’s what we would focus on,” Urquhart told Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
“We pitched a between-Episode III and Episode IV game [to LucasArts]. Because we think that timeframe is super interesting. It’s the fall of the Republic, the extermination of the Jedi, it’s Obi-Wan going off and making sure Luke is OK. You have the Sith, but you have the extermination of all Force users except for very, very few. So it was an interesting time to set a game, and you know, Chris Avellone came up with a really cool story.”
“We also latched onto it because it has elements people remember, but not the stories. It can just completely not involve [the movies]. It can tease them, but nothing else.”
But what about Star Wars’ latest seismic shift? Its relocation to Disney, who’ve pledged a new focus to mobile and social games? Whose latest act was to close their flagship AAA studio, Warren Spector’s Junction Point?
“It’s something we’re still hoping for, even with the Disney/Lucas stuff going on,” said Urquhart. “It changes things a lot, but you know, we’re gonna push on it. I would say it’s within the top three pitches we’ve ever come up with. We really worked on it hard and distilled it down to these eight or ten pages that really sold the story and characters. Then we sold it off to LucasArts and got a call back later that day. They were like, ‘This seems really cool. We want to talk to you guys, like, tomorrow about it.’”
“We haven’t [talked with Disney yet]. We’re kind of waiting for the smoke to clear. But that’s one of my next big things to do. To kind of go over there and [get the ball rolling again].”
I’m quite partial to the Old Republic era myself, with its lo-fi vibroblades and unfathomably alien Mandalorians. But a follow-up to KOTOR II is splendid news on any timeline, right?