Over the years the list of Star Wars tie-ins for popular video game consoles and PCs has grown to immense proportions. Gamers have long had an exhaustive selection of titles to chose from if they wanted to experience in some small way their own war against the Dark Side (and the related battles spawned as a result). In fact, the Star Wars universe is so vast that it’s easy to overlook the idea that some games were actually in the process of being designed before ultimately meeting their demise.
Star Wars: First Assault was originally slated for a summer 2013 release before being scrapped in 2012 by Disney/LucasArts. Intended to be available as a downloadable Xbox 360 and PS3 game, First Assault would have helped pave the way for a winter 2015 launch of Star Wars Battlefront 3. The initial plan had been to have First Assault premier in summer of 2013, followed by the release of something called Wingman – a game that would have expanded the maps of First Assault and added vehicles – in 2014. The winter 2015 release of Star Wars Battlefront 3 would have provided fans with a game that combined the features of the first two games, as well as supplemental battles between X-wings and TIE fighters and a single-player campaign.
Now twenty-minutes of technical beta footage of a Star Wars: First Assault has been leaked via Reddit (hat tip Eurogamer). Though this isn’t the first time that fans have been able to have a look at the game online (other videos have leaked in the past), it’s the first time that the footage has not been promptly taken down by LucasArts/Disney.
The first person shooter walks around an empty Tatooine village, as the sounds of battle rage all around. The game is divided between an eight-person team of rebels and an eight-person team of Stormtroopers. Apparently this clip was designed by LucasArts to showcase the marketability of Star Wars first person shooters running on the Unreal Engine. Reportedly, when LucasArts’ parent company LucasFilm was bought up by Disney back in September of 2012, all projects of the time were put on hold until the new owners could take stock of where exactly they were going with the franchise. That decision marked the death of First Assault as we know it.
Aside from the apparent Tatooine setting and the ability to play as a Stormtrooper, there’s little here that makes the game uniquely Star Wars. It could easily be interchanged with any other generic first person shooter. Of course, one must keep in mind that this footage is from 2012 – nearly four years before what appears to be the outstanding next-gen graphics and gameplay of EA/Dice’s upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. A lot can change in four years, especially when it comes to video games, so let’s not be too quick to judge a game that was never even released.
EA/Dice will release Star Wars Battlefront on November 17th, 2015 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. You can pre-order your copy here.