You know you’re on to a good thing when a speaker sits down at a conference to talk about his or her new game and suggests they might let something secret slip even though they’ve not had a drink yet. That’s exactly how Amy Hennig opened her talk at Pax West in Seattle last week, laying out details about her forthcoming Star Wars game with Dead Space developer Visceral.
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“The task was to do the same thing that LucasFilm has been doing, and to do it with them,” opened Hennig, who previously worked on the Uncharted series.
“So we’re working really close, and I’ve been blessed to be working really close with the Lucasfilm story group and Doug Chang, who is their Art Director and Senior Creative Director over there, and that whole team, to say ‘what is Authentic Star Wars and how do we make more?’ Because our project is an original story.”
Hennig suggests ‘authetic’ Star Wars means being able to take charge of an AT-ST – hoorah – but also hinted that we may be able to control of more than one character in the game.
“It’s all about the new stuff, the new characters, the new story, the new locations, the new creatures, the new tech. All of this stuff that has to sit authentically alongside the Star Wars that we’re so familiar with,” she added. “When I broke it down, of course the genre is action-adventure, so it shows a lot of similarities, but there are a few things that jumped out that were really different about Star Wars. So I thought that some of the rules I had used making Uncharted no longer applied.”
Those rules, Hennig added, mean in games like Uncharted or films like Indiana Jones, you spend most of your time with the hero. In Star Wars, action flips from the heroes to the villains with almost equal time for both. The big question for Visceral, therefore, is how to replicate this style in a video game.
“Our goal in this game is to tell an authentic Star Wars story in an interactive context,” she continued. “So if our game wasn’t an ensemble game, and we weren’t telling an ensemble story, then it wouldn’t pass the litmus test on whether it feels like Star Wars.”
Hennig refused to confirm that such an approach means multiple characters will be playable – “I’ve probably said enough”, she added – but that sounds like confirmation to me.