When we first learned that the highly revered Amy Hennig (Head Writer for Uncharted 1-3) would be Creative Director for a Star Wars game, excitement was understandably high. Details have been scarce ever since, with an incredibly brief teaser trailer shown at E3. The silence was finally broken however, as Hennig dropped major hints at the Star Wars Celebration about her “original Star Wars story with new characters, new locations, new tech, new creatures, you name it. All of it has to sit authentically alongside the stuff people know now.”
“The process that I’ve been using is really similar to what I did with Uncharted, to be honest. If you’re trying to re-create that classic – in [Uncharted’s] case – pulp action adventure experience, you need to deconstruct the films so you know how to reconstruct them in an interactive context as gameplay.”
“The end goal is by the time the player has finished playing they feel like they really did play a Star Wars film. So I’ve done the same thing for Star Wars. What does that mean? It’s getting the structure right. It means you have to understand where the act breaks fall, where all the obstacles and reversals fall, and the set-pieces. What are all the component parts that make up a Star Wars story.”
“It means getting the tone right. It’s what my writing partner Todd calls breezy urgency. It’s the idea that there’s sort of a swash-buckling charm to the thing. There’s humor and buoyancy but at the same time there’s stakes and jeopardy.”
“What I was really eager to discover is what distinguished Star Wars films from the others I’d been studying in the action adventure genre. The first thing that jumped out was these are always ensemble stories… People would say there’s other characters in something like Indiana Jones, but they’re side characters. In Star Wars they’re co-protagonists, so if you think about the original trilogy it’s as much Leia’s, Han’s, and Vader’s story as it is Luke’s.”
“Think about Star Wars Rebels, that tradition continues now. Think about Rogue One, it’s the same thing, and the same thing is true of our game. Part of our deconstruction is to figure out how we enable that in the story and honor it in the gameplay as well. It’s not a lone-wolf story because that’s not Star Wars. Your characters have to be a coordinated ensemble acting in the moment and in parallel. If you think about the film and the Death Star, they only escape because everybody does their part in parallel.
“[Characters are] always outnumbered and outgunned, so they have to be smarter than their enemies, more improvisational, and work together. The challenge for us is to figure out how we enable that in gameplay so that the player really feels that experience, so that it’s not just part of the story but also the gameplay. That’s why you deconstruct and reconstruct.”
Whether this results in multiple playable characters remains to be seen. Hennig’s guarded description and the still-early phase of development mean we’ll have to wait at least until 2017 for more concrete information. I’m even more confident in Hennig’s ability to deliver a quality title after hearing of her process and detailed understanding of what makes a true Star Wars story. If only she could have helped with Episodes 1-3.
The still-unnamed title is set for a 2018 release.