Star Wars 1313 may not be the New Hope we're, um, hoping for, if Kotaku sources are to be trusted. According to three industry figures who are "familiar with game development at LucasArts", the promising title has been put on hold following the publisher's acquisition by Disney, in order to focus on projects that are directly related to the forthcoming new Star Wars trilogy, directed by J.J. Abrams.
Said sources have also shed some intriguing light on the game's development. Officially due for release on next gen consoles this year, Star Wars 1313 is a shooter with cover elements, set deep in the bowels of Coruscant, but it was originally conceived as an open world RPG comparable to Knights of the Old Republic, tied to a live-action Star Wars TV show that would have taken place between the original film trilogy and the prequels. The game was to receive episodic character DLC, and the story would have dealt with prostitution, terrorism and organised crime.
In 2010, however, budgetary concerns apparently obliged a rethink. The TV show was put on hold, and the game was re-written to stand alone. Purportedly, this was all part of a studio-wide reinvention process that would have seen LucasArts jamming Star Wars into all sorts of popular genres, such as the Facebook social MMO and, of course, Call of Duty's high octane brand of first-person shooting. Originally codenamed Underworld, 1313 was recodified as "Hive" and given platforming elements.
Sometime in 2011 or 2012 George Lucas laid eyes on the game and pronounced it the stuff of daydreams, encouraging the developers to weave in stories and characters from the TV scripts. Under his direction, the plotline would have addressed (and for all we know, will address) such questions as Boba Fett's identity, the nature of Han's business partnership with Jabba and the identities of Mon Mothma's Bothan spies. 1313's writers were still scratching their heads over all this when the game went public at E3 2012.
LucasArts has declined to comment on Kotaku's story, as you'd expect. "LucasArts has been working diligently to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the new Star Wars movies present," a company spokesperson observed. "Star Wars 1313 continues production." We'll toss them a mail ourselves and see if we get lucky. In the meantime, what do you think? Might want to revisit our most recent Star Wars 1313 preview, along with the video interview below.