While season four of the popular Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars officially kicks off this Australian spring, players of Sony Online Entertainment's free-to-play online game Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures will be able to play through an epic storyline leading directly to the first episode's opening act.
In an unprecedented collaboration between television project and online game, Sony Online Entertainment, the Cartoon Network, and Lucas Arts have worked together to create Campaign for Iceberg 3, an epic story told within the confines of the online game that bridges the gap between the previous season of The Clone Wars and the next.
Dave Filoni, supervising producer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures senior producer Todd Carlson spoke to Kotaku about the landmark cooperation and what fans can expect to see in Campaign for Iceberg 3.
The campaign marks the first storyline for Clone Wars Adventures, a family-friendly free-to-play online multiplayer game. Based mainly around a series of Star Wars themed mini-games, crafting a cohesive tale within such loose confines was quite the task, but when you're approached by some of the biggest names in the Force, you make do.
"It's really exciting for us to have been approached by Dave Filoni and George Lucas," said SOE's Carlson. "They're icons of ours"
As one would imagine the Clone Wars Adventures team are big Star Wars fans, which works out nicely as Dave Filoni is a big fan of the game. "Working in the Star Wars universe I'm always interested in what the other guys are doing," Filoni said. The online game has proven an inspiration to him. He recalls seeing clones running around online with little hats on. "I took that idea and put them in the show as officers."
So a mutual admiration existed on both sides of the Clone Wars, and the desire to work together strong, but how do you mix a narrative rich television series with a mini-game powered virtual world? Filoni says it was all a matter of "finding a story to base it on that made sense and what the capabilities of the game are.
Filoni worked closely with Clone Wars Adventures designer Jason Good, and what they came up with was Campaign for Iceberg 3.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
At the beginning of Campaign for Iceberg 3 the player finds themselves en route to the Calamari system, home of the famous Admiral Ackbar. Separatist forces have arrived on the scene, and the King of all Calamari is rightly concerned.
Upon arriving in the system players are ambushed by the Separatist fleet in an encounter that plays out using Clone Wars Adventures' Fleet Battle mini-game. Players then take a ship to the surface of the planet Iceberg 3, a journey that takes place within the Starfighters mini-game. On the planet you meet up with Commander Wolf and must defend a city from Separatist invasion by participating in a round of Republic Defender. You'll even battle General Grievous in the Lightsaber Duel mini-game. It's an inventive way to inject story into a game that isn't quite structured to support it.
Eventually the storyline will lead players up to the very beginning of The Clone Wars season four, where things will happen that I can't talk about. I can say that along the way players will run into one Captain Ackbar, a Mon Calamari due for a promotion somewhere down the line. This of course led me to ask the question, "So is it a trap?"
"In some ways it is," laughed Carlson. "As the storyline goes you're getting in a ship and heading out to the system, but you don't really know what's going on."
You will know exactly what's going on in season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as long as you make it through Campaign for Iceberg 3, launching today in Clone Wars Adventures.