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  1. #1
    Let There Be Rock vashivihan's Avatar
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    GDC 08: LucasArts Unveils The Force Unleashed

    LucasArts held a special preview event last week at GDC 2008 to demonstrate its highly anticipated Star Wars title, The Force Unleashed, on both the Xbox 360 and Wii platforms (LucasArts also demoed its original IP Fracture and the forthcoming Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, more on those later). Held at the LucasArts campus at the Presidio in San Francisco, the preview offered actual gameplay demonstrations of The Force Unleashed to further wet the appetite of Star Wars fans.

    "Four years ago, we sat down with George [Lucas] and talked about what next gen really meant," said Peter Hirschmann, vice president of product development at LucasArts. Hirschmann added that Lucas didn't care about graphics, RAM or any technical specifications; instead, he wanted to know how the next generation platforms could help tell a Star Wars story. Hence, the Force Unleashed, which takes place after "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" but before "Episode IV: A New Hope" and follows Darth Vader's secret apprentice. In the game, which will be released on the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360, players assume the role of the secret apprentice and must hunt down and kill the remaining Jedi who survived Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge. But Hirschmann said The Force Unleashed's story is full of twists and turns and is ultimately about redemption.

    LucasArts showed Xbox 360 run-time demo of The Force Unleashed at its campus in the Presidio, but unfortunately media attendees were not allowed to take pictures of video of the demos.
    LucasArts showed Xbox 360 run-time demo of The Force Unleashed at its campus in the Presidio, but unfortunately media attendees were not allowed to take pictures of video of the demos.

    LucasArts showed some Xbox 360 gameplay demo of The Force Unleashed in the campus' theater. Haden Blackman, project leader for The Force Unleashed, said the run-time demo was "still a little rough around the edges" with some bugs. Indeed, the graphics didn't look completely optimized and the demo did stumble through some occasional bugs. Nevertheless, the early gameplay footage was extremely impressive. The demo began with an early level of The Force Unleashed that takes place in a TIE Fighter factory, where the apprentice (played by actor Sam Witwer) must assassinate a Jedi. The trick is, the apprentice must remain a secret because Darth Vader wants to use him to eventually overthrow Emperor Palpatine. So the apprentice must kill everyone in his path, from Rebel soldiers to Imperial Stormtroopers.

    The action was unlike anything I've ever seen in a Star Wars game. Imagine being able to use the power of Half-Life 2's gravity gun on virtually everything, including objects as large as TIE fighters, and you get the idea. The apprentice is extremely powerful with the Force, so the demo showed the character using Force Lightning and other unique attacks. For example, "Force Lightning Grenades" can be used when a player picks up an enemy with the Force, charges the enemy with Force Lightning and then hurls them at other enemies. The physics and destructible environment effects, powered by Havok physics technology and Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) from Pixelux Entertainment, were outstanding and are sure to be a highlight of the finished product when it arrives later this year.

    The next demo section took place on the planet Felucia, which is an exotic planet world filled with giant mushrooms. LucasArts showed off a tremendous boss battle where the apprentice must take on a Rancor as well as other enemies. In addition to an assortment of Force attacks, the apprentice also wields a lightsaber and has an number of different melee moves to bring to battle. In the Rancor fight, the apprentice engaged in what LucasArts referred to as "Jedi finishing moves" that are similar to God of War's mini-game button combinations for its epic boss battles. The Rancor battle ended with the apprentice impaling the beast's head with his lightsaber (side note: The Force Unleashed is rated T for Teens, so LucasArts said there will be no severed limbs or decapitations in the game).

    The Force Unleashed will give players "Jedi finishing moves" to bring down boss enemies like the Rancor.
    The Force Unleashed will give players "Jedi finishing moves" to bring down boss enemies like the Rancor.

    The final demo section took place on Raxus Prime, a garbage planet filled with debris and toxic waste. Blackman said the design team wanted to include planets that offered a lot of destructible environments and objects for players to use the Force with, and Raxus Prime fit the bill (the planet had previously been featured in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). The demo showed a boss battle with a surviving Jedi named Kazdan, who uses his Force powers to create a "junk titan," which is an animated collection of garbage and debris that attacks the apprentice.

    After showing off the Xbox 360 run-time demo, LucasArts then turned it attention to the Wii version of the game. The graphics of the Wii run-time demo were weak compared to the Xbox 360 and looked more like the visuals of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. However, using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls for lightsaber action looked like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, media members were not given the opportunity to play any versions of the demo, so we don't know for sure (Red Steel, for example, sure looked like fun before we have a chance to actually play it).

    The Wii version of The Force Unleashed has less impressive graphics, but the game does feature Duel Mode mutliplayer.
    The Wii version of The Force Unleashed has less impressive graphics, but the game does feature Duel Mode mutliplayer.

    LucasArts said the Wii version of the Force Unleashed (along with the PlayStation 2 version) will boast extra content such as additional levels and planets. But the real draw for the Wii version will probably be the Duel Mode for multiplayer action, which gives two players the opportunity to select different Jedi characters from the Star Wars universe and engage in fighting game duels. Some of gameplay features for the Duel Mode include "saber-lock" and "Force-lock," where two players engage in an a sort of tug-of-war with their lightsabers or Force lightning powers.

    As for other multiplayer modes, such as online multiplayer or co-op modes, LucasArts wasn't commenting. LcuasArts did say that Darth Vader would not be voiced by original actor James Earl Jones; instead, Matt Sloan of "Chad Vader" fame, will provide the voice of Darth Vader for the game (Sloan previously provided Vader's voice for LucasArts' Empire at War: Forces of Corruption). No specific release date was given for The Force Unleashed, which is expected to be released later this year.
    very nice. i like it. linkage



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  3. #2
    Wakka Wakka Wakka PacMan200's Avatar
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    I'm actually pretty excited about this game. Looks like a lot of fun. I can't wait till there's more preview popping up around the internet.
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