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Star Wars 1313 Looks Real, Real Good

Just talking graphics here, but it's a safe bet you haven't seen many games operating on this sort of technical level before.

The game that seems to be getting the most buzz here at E3 all of a sudden is Star Wars 1313, and there's a good reason it's grabbing a bunch of headlines: it looks absolutely goddamn amazing. I'm not blowing hyperbolic smoke, just making a quantitative statement about the kind of raw visual fidelity LucasArts is achieving by adapting a bunch of Industrial Light and Magic's film-industry rendering techniques and throwing them at the best PC hardware you can get right now. Lucas is being all cagey about when this game is coming out and what platforms it will actually sell on, but it's obvious that the demo on display at the show is targeted at machines a hell of a lot more powerful than the ones in your home right now.

Reading a lot of effusive language about nice video game graphics is kind of boring, right? Instead, here's a pretty good cross-section of the demo being shown at E3 so you can just get an idea for yourself how good the game looks. The craziest part about this footage is how much detail you can't see simply due to the compression in the video. Seeing this thing running in person, the natural look of the lighting, character skin and so on is pushing the graphical quality near the level of photorealism. It's absolutely something else to see when the camera goes in close and you can barely tell that the guy you're looking at is a video game character. (That has as much to do with the advanced performance capture LucasArts is doing in collaboration with ILM as it does with advanced pixel shaders and camera effects.)

Actually, forget the graphics. There's other stuff about 1313 to get excited about, primarily the fact that everything about its aesthetic and tone made it feel like the prequel trilogy doesn't exist, and that this is based directly on the original movies. It reminded me of that wonderful heyday of Star Wars PC games in the '90s that included stuff like X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Dark Forces, purely due to things like classic-looking costume and spaceship design, and the focus on telling a unique story with new characters in some unknown corner of the Star Wars universe (in this case, the seedy criminal underworld of the city-planet Coruscant). The people making this game want to steep it in a moral grey area, rather than the black and white morality that goes along with the jedi in the movies. Come to think of it, the phrase "no jedi, no Force" was used in the demo I saw, and I'm perfectly fine with that. It's time for something else. Something with more blasters and more attitude!

The playable demo of 1313 being shown here paints the game as Star Wars Uncharted, split as it is between cover-based third-person shooting against mercenaries boarding the player character's ship, and the sort of superhuman climbing and gymnastics that you see Nathan Drake engaging in on a regular basis. That might sound more reductive than it should--I'd be perfectly happy to play a well executed game like that, if the story is on point. Though, I do hope the full game has some more potential for exploration at some point.

In any case, LucasArts really stepped it up at what's honestly been a bland E3 overall, coming in with a demo that's extremely impressive largely because it's utterly different in at least one respect from everything else at the show. It's a tantalizing glimpse at what the next generation of hardware might offer, and it makes me hopeful that there might once again be a Star Wars game worth getting legitimately excited about in the not-so-faraway future.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
223 Comments
Posted by Brad

The game that seems to be getting the most buzz here at E3 all of a sudden is Star Wars 1313, and there's a good reason it's grabbing a bunch of headlines: it looks absolutely goddamn amazing. I'm not blowing hyperbolic smoke, just making a quantitative statement about the kind of raw visual fidelity LucasArts is achieving by adapting a bunch of Industrial Light and Magic's film-industry rendering techniques and throwing them at the best PC hardware you can get right now. Lucas is being all cagey about when this game is coming out and what platforms it will actually sell on, but it's obvious that the demo on display at the show is targeted at machines a hell of a lot more powerful than the ones in your home right now.

Reading a lot of effusive language about nice video game graphics is kind of boring, right? Instead, here's a pretty good cross-section of the demo being shown at E3 so you can just get an idea for yourself how good the game looks. The craziest part about this footage is how much detail you can't see simply due to the compression in the video. Seeing this thing running in person, the natural look of the lighting, character skin and so on is pushing the graphical quality near the level of photorealism. It's absolutely something else to see when the camera goes in close and you can barely tell that the guy you're looking at is a video game character. (That has as much to do with the advanced performance capture LucasArts is doing in collaboration with ILM as it does with advanced pixel shaders and camera effects.)

Actually, forget the graphics. There's other stuff about 1313 to get excited about, primarily the fact that everything about its aesthetic and tone made it feel like the prequel trilogy doesn't exist, and that this is based directly on the original movies. It reminded me of that wonderful heyday of Star Wars PC games in the '90s that included stuff like X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Dark Forces, purely due to things like classic-looking costume and spaceship design, and the focus on telling a unique story with new characters in some unknown corner of the Star Wars universe (in this case, the seedy criminal underworld of the city-planet Coruscant). The people making this game want to steep it in a moral grey area, rather than the black and white morality that goes along with the jedi in the movies. Come to think of it, the phrase "no jedi, no Force" was used in the demo I saw, and I'm perfectly fine with that. It's time for something else. Something with more blasters and more attitude!

The playable demo of 1313 being shown here paints the game as Star Wars Uncharted, split as it is between cover-based third-person shooting against mercenaries boarding the player character's ship, and the sort of superhuman climbing and gymnastics that you see Nathan Drake engaging in on a regular basis. That might sound more reductive than it should--I'd be perfectly happy to play a well executed game like that, if the story is on point. Though, I do hope the full game has some more potential for exploration at some point.

In any case, LucasArts really stepped it up at what's honestly been a bland E3 overall, coming in with a demo that's extremely impressive largely because it's utterly different in at least one respect from everything else at the show. It's a tantalizing glimpse at what the next generation of hardware might offer, and it makes me hopeful that there might once again be a Star Wars game worth getting legitimately excited about in the not-so-faraway future.

Edited by Grixxel

Woah! Oh wait, It's a Star Wars game.

Edited by ThePhantomStranger

Don't you hate it when you open an article and see that it has no first comment, only to relies that you left the page open long enough that there is totaly already comments? {leaving the original comment here to own up to how much of a douchey comment it was}

EDIT: OT: I still don't really understand what makes Star Wars separate from other sci-fi IPs beyond the whole force and lightsabers...that being said I wonder what they'll do if the next generation of consoles can't run any of these "next gen" games.

Posted by DaBuddaDa

They made me excited for a new Star Wars game. Mission accomplished.

Posted by TheSpoonyBard

Climbing around a large object as bits and pieces of it fall off. Shooting people inside a falling object while cover shifts around... I've seen this before :p

Posted by hojufixter

Looks pretty damn good

Posted by JazzyJeff

dat lighting

Posted by The_Nubster

Cautiously optimistic. I hope that, even if its broken, it's still fun to play based on premise alone, like tFU.

Posted by boj4ngles

This looks siiiiiiiccckkkkk

Posted by Dustpan

I have a feeling it's going to be Force Unleashed all over again.

Posted by GBOmega

Platformer/shooter.  Next.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

@ThePhantomStranger said:

Don't you hate it when you open an article and see that it has no first comment, only to relies that you left the page open long enough that there is totaly already comments?

No.

Posted by mrpandaman

Color me excited about this game.

Posted by jukeboxzer0

unstarwared?

Posted by Scotto

@ThePhantomStranger said:

Don't you hate it when you open an article and see that it has no first comment, only to relies that you left the page open long enough that there is totaly already comments?

I'm more pissed that I can't upload a virus to the internet, that causes a giant fist to come out of the monitor of people who type garbage comments to get that stupid site achievement.

Posted by mehojevich

Looks really good
Reminds me of shadow of the empire on 64

Posted by Zuldim

@Dustpan said:

I have a feeling it's going to be Force Unleashed all over again.

A good game with some flaws that gets trashed for not being the best thing ever, and merely being pretty good?

That said, it's kind of hard for me to get too excited for this game from a brief clip. Did anyone else think it kind of had a "Uncharted In Space" vibe? Could be good, fun to see something that's not super reliant on lightsabers.

Posted by zanshin

Back in the 90s, LucasArts could do no wrong, and I would buy every Star Wars game they made. But then I bought two or three games of dubious quality and I lost my faith in LucasArts.

Still, I have been dying for a game that goes back to the days of the original Dark Forces. The addition of lightsabers and force powers in the sequels to Dark Forces detracted from the games. Lightsabers were just melee weapons that relied on your ability to tap fire rapidly, removing the factor of player skil. And force powers just allowed you to spam the other players.

While the absence of lighsabers and force powers sounds good, I am going to wait for some reviews before I make a decision on this game

Posted by BestUsernameEver

Seeming that gameplay looks genuinely like modern cutscenes, yes I would agree this game looks good. The animation alone is top notch.

Posted by GalacticGravy

Used to be a gigantic Star Wars nerd, then I stopped caring for 5-6 years, and now I hope this comes through.

I remember reading some of the descriptions of city-planets with seedy underbellies (like the Han Solo Trilogy) when I was a kid and wishing I could go there. I really hope they get some gritty, grimy, technocentric street dwellers to breathe some new life into this universe.

Posted by ThePhantomStranger

@Scotto said:

@ThePhantomStranger said:

Don't you hate it when you open an article and see that it has no first comment, only to relies that you left the page open long enough that there is totaly already comments?

I'm more pissed that I can't upload a virus to the internet, that causes a giant fist to come out of the monitor of people who type garbage comments to get that stupid site achievement.

Alright I get the point.

Posted by stinky

Blue lasers which means you are good, was hoping for something edgier.

Posted by leejunfan83

If I want graphics i'll watch a movie give me gameplay

Posted by leejunfan83

@Dustpan said:

I have a feeling it's going to be Force Unleashed all over again.

Bingo Amigo

Posted by hagridore

The graphics are pretty damn amazing. And it speaks to the quality of Star Wars that I couldn't care less about this game's existence.

Posted by connerthekewlkid

i hope they can get some bounty hunters from the extended universe in this game because that would be pretty cool since there are some really good ones like embo.

Posted by MrSlapHappy

I quickly pegged it as "Oh, a Star Wars Uncharted" like Brad did and my brain started to dismiss it as such. Then, I stopped and thought, no wait, I'll play that...I like those games. Cool, Star Wars Uncharted!

Posted by prestonhedges

Walk down a corridor, scripted sequence spews cover into said corridor, corridor fills up with bad guys.

Yup, that's a modern video game.

Posted by BonOrbitz

I'm excited to see more of this, but am extremely disappointed we're not getting a Republic Commando II or Battlefront III with this tech or something more current gen. Has hope for those games expired?

Posted by connerthekewlkid

@BonOrbitz: keep dreaming mah brother

Posted by Boboblaw

I honestly don't get the buzz surrounding this game. The graphics look good sure but I don't think they look particularly out of this fucking world crazy and there has been barely any gameplay shown. Maybe theres something more special about seeing it in person but yeah, totaly underwhelming thus far for me.
 
Still excited for it though.

Edited by Downside

I hear it was running on some of the best hardware out there, but just how high end? 680/7970 range or 690/Dual 680/Dual 7970 range? Remember you saying it was barely keeping 30 FPS on the podcast, wondering just how demanding this next gen stuff might be on PC's.

edited for grammar

Posted by Pullarius_Capax

This game graphically looks absolutely phenomenal, but the gameplay doesn't seem like anything special.

Posted by sibane

It sure looks pretty, but when things look this sweet, my alarm bells go off. After all, at it's core, it's just a third person shooter somewhat similar to Uncharted and Force Unleashed (those are just the modern examples, of course). It can be done well, but it can also be done miserable, as a case in point, Force Unleashed 2. It all depends on variables which are hard to detect just based on a short clip.

There is reason to be cautious of this one, but I'd reserve a tad bit of hope for it as well. Can't be all that bad?

Posted by believer258

Gears of Uncharted Stars: War.

Or something of that sort.

Anyway, I've only seen a little bit of it so I can't say much, I'm just poking fun at what I've seen.

Posted by rmanthorp

I have SO much hope for this game!

Moderator
Posted by Encephalon

"No Jedi, no Force" seems like a pretty good philosophy.

Posted by pakattak

I honestly think this is the first time I've seen a game start to climb out of the uncanny valley. Most impressive was the close shot of the main character saying, "Fresh air is overrated" and smiling.

Posted by frankepooz

It looks really good but i still think it needs some texture work

Posted by onan

@mrpandaman said:

Color me excited about this game.

Color me excited about next generation hardware.

Posted by ShakeItBaby

@stinky: except if you're in space, then green lasers mean you are evil

Posted by bunnymud

Is that gameplay or a video made to look like gameplay? Didn't see any QRE prompts.

Posted by Obinice
@TheSpoonyBard

Climbing around a large object as bits and pieces of it fall off. Shooting people inside a falling object while cover shifts around... I've seen this before :p

Wait...."video games"?
Posted by warxsnake

I will look amazing and take place in uncharted esque corridor levels with little amount of actual exploration of the world.  
 
I guess thats still better than another Star wars-meets-dragonball Z Force Unleashed sequel.  

Posted by sirdesmond

@sibane said:

at it's core, it's just a third person shooter somewhat similar to Uncharted and Force Unleashed (those are just the modern examples, of course).

I don't remember doing much shooting in Force Unleashed.

Posted by Brendan

@warxsnake said:

I will look amazing and take place in uncharted esque corridor levels with little amount of actual exploration of the world. I guess thats still better than another Star wars-meets-dragonball Z Force Unleashed sequel.

J...Jedi Knight? P-please?? Somebody? CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME!!!

Posted by Chris_B

Please, Please Let this be good.

Edited by Phished0ne

This game looks amazing. anyone who doesn't think so is completely crazy. That scene where he's climbing on the descending ship, even the fidelity of what amounts to a endless scrolling background looks amazing. But doesnt Lucas kind of have a history of going "HEY LOOK WHAT KIND OF CRAZY STUFF WE CAN DO WITH NEW TECH" then developing mediocre games?

Posted by Gerhabio

dem lazuhs