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Previews

Star Wars 1313 - a bounty hunter game for those who hated the Phantom Menace

We check back on the progress of LucasArts' next gen looker

LucasArts might be under the Imperial sway of Darth Disney these days, but that shouldn't put a bump in development on Star Wars 1313, a gritty, dark game based on the galaxy's city-planet of Coruscant.

What we've seen so far features two bounty hunters guiding their ship (which is carrying a secret bounty) deep into the bowels of Coruscant, and down to the criminal underground that resides on Level 1313. Suddenly their ship comes under attack by soldiers, their secret bounty is stolen, and they're forced to escape their burning vessel and take refuge in another craft nearby.

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When we visited LucasArts last year, the game was being made by Industrial Light & Magic, the multiple-Oscar winning special effects team who have worked on everything from Star Wars to the Avengers. At the time, we were promised that this team would continue to work on the full game, and we're hoping that Lucasfilm being bought by Disney won't mean that IL&M gets pulled off the project to do something different.

As impressive as it looks, none of what we've seen so far is final: the super-cool bounty hunter characters, seen fighting soldiers on a battered spaceship as it plummets into the centre of the planet, are both placeholders. However, the design of the game is nailed, flashing back to the style of Republic Commando, Knights of the Old Republic and Aliens. A world where nothing is smooth and nothing seems to work, where tech is dirty and takes blows to fix, where the old sits alongside the new.

"We don't want to see a happy bonsai garden popping up," lead artist Dave Smith told us. "It all needs to feel oppressive and heavy. A used future." Taking elements from different real-world cities and compressing them together, Level 1313 is a compressed sink-slum in a cave thousands of miles underground.

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The name can't be changed either, so we'll definitely be following a bounty hunter navigating the subterranean metropolis, in a mature-rated Star Wars world, targeted explicitly at those people that the recent movies have failed. And the final thing? It's looking increasingly unlikely to be appearing on the Xbox 360, but will be aimed squarely for the next generation of Xbox.

By Dan Griliopoulos

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