September 11, 2008

Star Wars Still Going Strong In The Videogame Market

The Force is still going strong for George Lucas in the videogame world, despite lackluster reviews for the latest Star Wars movie, "The Clone Wars."

This fall LucasArts will release two new Star Wars games. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be released on all platforms on September 16, while Star Wars: The Clone Wars will hit both Nintendo platforms on November 11.

Darth Vader, and Yoda are even be making an appearance in Namco Bandai's recently released Soul Calibur IV.

Star Wars: Galaxies, the multiplayer online role-playing game created through a partnership between Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts, is also keeping thousands of gamers enthused about the franchise.

"Star Wars is and will always be a core part of our DNA at LucasArts," said Kevin Kurtz, the company's marketing director.

"George Lucas created such a deep universe ripe with possibilities that it will continue to be a source for incredible stories and gameplay for years to come," Kurtz added.

This year Star Wars fans will see a 30 year wait for a true lightsaber battle come to an end when Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duel is released on Nintendo's Wii.  The revolutionary Wii uses motion sensor controllers allowing players to replicate the moves of Jedis from the upcoming CGI TV series. 

Developer Krome Studios worked with LucasArts to ensure that the new game experience stayed realistic.

LucasFilm's Singapore division created the Clone Wars movie, upcoming TV series, and created Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance, a game for the Nintendo DS.

"LucasFilm is telling The Clone Wars story in two different ways -- through a linear, TV format, as well as through an interactive, handheld format," said Gavin Leung marketing manager for LucasArts.

The cross platform story allows ideas to flow freely.  According to Leung, a battleship in the videogame will be featured in a future episode of the TV show.

Developers met with Lucas for four years to develop The Force Unleashed, a new videogame that will bridge the gap between the two Star Wars trilogies.

"George gave us a history lesson about what the major characters in the Saga were doing in that time frame, and offered feedback and suggestions about the plot and characters," said Haden Blackman, executive producer of the game at LucasArts.

The game will introduce a new character, Darth Vader's secret apprentice.  Players will be able to learn the powers of the Force through missions as the apprentice.

LucasArts is likely to develop games regardless of whether they make any new Star Wars movies.

"The Star Wars franchise has legs and games seem to be successful with or without films, as we've seen with the LEGO Star Wars games the past few years," said analyst Michael Pachter.


Image Caption: Screen Shot of Vader from Soul Calibur IV


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