This video from GVMERS is fantastic. The graveyard of cancelled Star Wars titles is a trove of missed opportunities. It's a commitment at 20 minutes, but well worth it for some of the later games. I am sad to relive the games cancelled over infighting - more Rogue Squadron is always welcome. But, the few cancelled during the takeover of LucasArts by Disney might be the truly unfair. I dare you not to salivate while watching the footage from 1313.
There are a lot of Star Wars games. A. Lot. Most tend to tread outside of the traditional storyline of the main saga, in what used to be the wild west of Star Wars known as the E.U. (expanded universe). The general freedoms allowed were vast and it made for games that ranged from middling to great, with most landing in the great category. Near misses were few during the LucasArts era, which was especially surprising considering the plethora of genres they tackled - arcade dogfighting, real-time strategy, first-person shooter, 4X, etc.
Along comes Disney and their best bud EA. I have reservedly accepted that Disney's purchase of Star Wars is actually a net positive for such a cool franchise. Electronic Arts and the way they make video games is a direct negative to everyone. Just like publicly traded companies tend to make pretty bad movies to avoid risk, the same is true for video games. Risk aversion in a video game is death sentence for enjoyment. Ask fans of the Mass Effect franchise how that EA purchase is working out.
Look, LucasArts didn't nail it every time. They tried to make podracing work on the GameBoy Color. Not a great plan. But they tried, and they tried everything. I don't get the sense that they particularly feared diluting their property by sending regular releases, even if they were taking significant risks. With Disney now in charge, risk averse may or may not be the name of the game going forward. In two years, it is already evident that they are still figuring it out. Everyone played it safe like with Episode VII - just remake the stuff fans like. But, a year later, Rogue One tread new ground and really blew the doors off the stuffy Star Wars main saga.
I hope that the cancellation of games like 1313 are not an indication of things to come. My fear is that in the hopes of maintaining the gleaming, bright, sparkly world of cinematic Star Wars, the cool grimy underworld that made the main saga work will be removed from the E.U. altogether. We may be in for a future where books and games like Shadows of the Empire are not a viable choice economically because Disney can't afford to lose on taking chances. I don't think that is the case, seeing where they were willing to let Rogue One go. But, I do think that if the chance arrives to try a game that's truly gritty and divergent from the Star Wars mainstream that leaving it in the hands of Electronic Arts is tantamount to hoping for failure.
There is a little studio in Santa Monica called Naughty Dog, and I am willing to pay right now for their version of Dash Rendar.
In what I hope to be a tradition for each of these blogs, here's the cool thing I ran across while reading on all these canceled games - KOTOR remake!