Now that we've all had a chance to see Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens multiples times and analyze it to the letter, it's hard to imagine how things could have been different. As it turns out, not that long ago, the seventh film in the saga may not have been a film at all, but rather a video game. Back in 2008 the book Rogue Leaders: The Story Of LucasArts was released and inside it a plethora of logos for various video game concepts were revealed. Some of the more intriguing titles included Star Wars: Jedi Knight III - Brink Of Darkness, Star Wars: Darth Maul and Star Wars: Scum And Villainy. But by far the most interesting title included was Star Wars: Episode VII - Shadows Of The Sith. For years speculation has swirled around what this game might have been and how close it got to becoming a reality.
Now, Cinelinx has stepped up to set the record straight. They recently spoke with LucasArts' former creative director Haden Blackman who revealed all about the game's concept. Here's what he said about it's brief development:
"I know everything about it, since it was my basic concept. In late 2004, we were focus testing/developing a ton of different concepts — over two dozen in all over about a 6 month period. To focus test, I basically just wrote up a 'one-sheet' — a brief description of the game, with a bit of concept art and a logo added. "
“We developed a bunch of logos for this exercise, and sometimes used similar names for slight variations in setting or features so we could do A/B testing (does a concept test better when it’s called out that it’s M-rated? Does the time period make a difference if all other features at the same? etc.). Ultimately, it was a good motivation to generate a ton of different ideas in a short amount of time, but it really just validated what we already knew — the vast majority of gamers wanted to be a Jedi/Force wielder, and the setting, story, even the core features were secondary to that."
And about the plot of the game, has said:
"Episode VII: Shadows of the Sith would have put you in the role of an adult Ben Skywalker who was walking the line between the light and dark sides of the Force, unleashing new Force powers never-before-seen in games or movies as he investigated a new threat to the galaxy (a Solo…)."
Of course, all of this was happening prior to the release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith in 2005, a time when George Lucas had seemingly decided that the film saga would end with that film. So a video game in place of a movie was a plausible idea, but ultimately did not come to pass. Blackman further explains that these ideas ended up being applied to other games:
"Eventually, I ended up pulling elements from several of the pitches to craft the pitch for The Force Unleashed. As we wrapped up TFU, I started working on some new concepts and revisited the far-future concept under the name “Shadow of the Sith.” The Darth Maul idea was also briefly resurrected after TFU2, and different versions of 1313 reused either the Underworld or Scum & Villainy codenames."
We've heard, and seen, a lot from the Darth Maul game, 1313 has seemingly been cancelled, and Underworld is a name that has been most prominently associated with the heavily rumored Star Wars live-action TV series. All of these sound like really cool ideas, so we can hope that they will be considered for new games in the future.
All in all, its fascinating to now look back at these concepts and consider what might have been. Sure, the game sounds awesome. And being that it would have fit inside the Legends-verse focusing on Luke Skywalker's son Ben, I'm sure a lot of book fans would be excited to play. But at the end of the day, I think The Force Awakens was the best Sequel we could have hoped for.
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