While many of GDC's industry attendees were excited to hear about LucasArts' technology pipeline and day to day methods of operations, we sat in with the hopes of getting a sneak peek of the game. And after listening to an interesting anecdote (The Force Unleashed could have been replaced by the self-explanatory game Wookie Warrior had Lucas not ripped the idea), LucasArts did show us several minutes of restricted-photography real-time gameplay...along with a few early concept videos that were fairly amusing.
The gameplay started in a Tie Fighter hanger, our male protagonist looking down at the cleanly-textured room. Everything is understated, save for the size. It's so massive that I found myself mentally categorising other games that had indoor environments with ceilings that reach 150+ feet in the air.
And it reminds you that force powers are truly the intended focus of the game. Because while our male protagonist was indeed holding a lightsabre, he opted not to use it all that often. Sure, part of the gameplay decision was for our benefit, but when levels employ so much vertical space, sometimes propogated with Tie Fighters floating by (ready to be plucked out of the air), the saber feels so tedious.
We watched as the jedi made short work of the Storm Troopers (effortlessly lifting them and ran into the spaceship's hallways (also some of the largest we've seen). The blast doors were satisfyingly bent open ala The Force and then new troopers got the taste of some lightsabre.
Then something really bothered us. We noticed that when the troopers died, green orbs popped out like we've seen in God of War. While we're sure these orbs are intended to fill the force meter, their fantasy-based nature really sucked us away from the hyperrealism of gorgeous floating Storm Troopers, grabbing on to any near object in attempt to save life and limb.
Even on the large projected screen, the game looked very nice. We can only imagine it scaled down to a more manageable, non-jumbotron size. Unfortunately, there was one pretty cool image that you'll never see.
In an early concept video, designers rendered a mock battle between a jedi and a rancor (large humanoid monster). After battling for about a minute, the monster swallows the jedi.
Needless to say, this didn't end well. The monster was struck with a lightsabre ulcer so bad that its body exploded. And despite a packed hall of hoots and hollers in response, the content was too spicy for the ESRB to designate a "T for Teen" rating.
And it makes us wonder how long it will be until we're choosing between uncensored version of games and their "radio" edits.