Undeterred by EA's recent push for the title of Least Liked Publisher Ever, LucasArts is apparently on the brink of cancelling an Xbox Live Arcade game that's billed as a "spiritual predecessor" to Free Radical's controversial Star Wars: Battlefront 3 - and a possible foundation for a true Battlefront sequel.
The game in question was/is Star Wars: First Assault, boxart for which appeared last year - and we know about its life and possible death thanks to a new Kotaku report, which includes some attractive screenshots.
A downloadable multiplayer shooter for up to 16 players, First Assault is allegedly "step zero" to Battlefront 3. It features maps that take place on famous planets like Bespin and Tatooine, and includes vehicles such as TIE Fighters and AT-ST walkers. Alas, the Jedi are conspicuous by their absence.
The game was down for release this spring, following a closed beta across October 2012, but the project has been paralysed by Disney's recent acquisition of LucasFilm, parent company of LucasArts. If you recall, the promising Star Wars 1313 is also rumoured to be in trouble on this count, as Disney/LucasFilm shift resources towards projects that relate to the new, JJ Abrams-directed Star Wars trilogy. LucasArts is "bleeding talent" as a consequence.
Most upsettingly of all, Kotaku's source suggests that the future of LucasArts in general may be in question. He or she has called on players to express their loyalty to the company, and ensure that games like First Assault see release.
"Fans should tell Disney/Lucas loud and clear they don't want shitty titles from random developers; they want games to be taken seriously, and they will only pay for quality. I believe that if Disney/Lucas lets LucasArts die, it means the death of Star Wars as a storied game franchise is right behind it."
You heard the man. Let the outrage be free and unconstrained. I'll mail LucasArts for comment.