We sit down with the producer of The Force Unleashed!
NZGamer.com recently got sit down with the producer of The Force Unleashed, Dan Wasson, and spend some quality interview time with him. We managed to get some exclusive information out of him but we can assure you it wasn't by force.
What? Were you expecting a Star Wars article without a force-pun?
NZGamer: Tell us about the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed experience...
Dan: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is about being the most powerful Jedi of all time. You're Darth Vader's secret apprentice; you've got these amazing force powers and he sends you out into the galaxy to hunt down the last Jedi. So it's this great action/adventure game with these amazing abilities that no-one has ever seen before in Star Wars.
We take it to a whole new level of action; we call it kicking ass with the force. Because you're so strong you can send someone flying fifty yards in half a second, you can pick things up and infuse it with lightning and it's all these amazing powers that make you feel like you're super-powerful.
NZGamer: The Wii version is going to have a slightly different story isn't it?
Dan: The great thing about working on the Wii version with Krome studios we were able to come up with some unique content - five different missions in three locations that you won't find on the PS3 and 360. One of those missions is the Jedi Temple; it kind of weaves into the story. Darth Vader sends you to the Jedi Temple; it has been destroyed after the Clone Wars and you're there investigating, you're seeing what's going on and you go into these Jedi Trials which teach you about yourself, makes you stronger and puts you against these enemies that you've never seen before, for example, the ghosts of long dead Sith opponents.
NZGamer: Can you tell us about the other exclusive location?
Dan: There's a Nar Shaddaa level, which takes place in Act 2. Nar Shaddaa is actually the moon which is actually underneath one of the very first levels [of the game]. The Empire has built these big floating orbiting factories where they make TIE Fighters. In the beginning of the game you'll be there, but in a later mission you're sent to see what's happening on the moon itself.
NZGamer: Nar Shaddaa is a moon of Nar Hutta and Nar Hutta is where you can find Hu--
Dan: Hutt's are not part of our adventure, [laughs] sorry.
NZGamer: Big news for many is that you'll be able to play as Darth Vader in the opening level.
Dan: Yeah, that's a really exciting treat for people is that we let you play as Darth Vader in what we call the prologue level, the first level. You're attacking Kashyyyk to hunt down a Jedi so there's a big imperial invasion. You're taking out Wookiees, destroying parts of the planet and then you finally face this Jedi opponent.
NZGamer: And Vader is playable on all formats?
Dan: Yeah, all versions are going to feature pretty much the same story, characters and locations. So you'll be dropping into Kashyyyk on every platform. They are all done differently, though. So what you might see in the 360 version is an attack in the day-time, a different kind of level design, while on the Wii, PSP and PS2 it's actually at night and you go through a different set of levels. So while we have the same structure and cinematics each game is going to play differently.
NZGamer: Vader is in essence Star Wars; all six movies are about him. With TFU being an extension to the saga how is Vader portrayed? Is he merely resigned to appearing in the first level and consequent cutscenes?
Dan: Vader is a huge part of the story. The idea of the secret apprentice is just exactly that, he takes this boy under his wing, he trains him in the Dark Side and Sith Powers and lets him loose on the galaxy to hunt down Jedi. Eventually he becomes even more powerful than Vader himself.
NZGamer: So there's going to be a fair bit of relationship building seen between Vader and Starkiller?
Dan: It's really important to us that we tell a really cool Star Wars story. And it's important to George Lucas that anything related to this is going to give you these interesting characters and explore the ones you know. Darth Vader for example, you've seen him a bit but you don't really know anything about him. You seen how he was Anakin and fell to the Dark Side but now we're going to tell you about the events leading up to Episode IV (A New Hope) and his relationship with the Emperor and his apprentice. You'll even see a lot of development between the apprentice, his pilot, Juno Eclipse (who is also his love interest), and Proxy, his holo-droid.
NZGamer: Do you think the events of TFU will affect people's perspective of the original trilogy?
Dan: Well, we're trying to draw the two trilogies together. We're telling the story between episodes III and IV, we're going to fill in information - we're going to tell you what's going on in the galaxy, what's princes Leia doing? What's Bail Organa doing? Who is out there in the galaxy and what're they doing, that sort of thing. The Empire is out there taking over worlds and the Rebellion is just starting; we're telling you how all that comes together, that's our story.
NZGamer: We've heard about Leia being in there, tell us more...
Dan: Other than she's there and you're going to run into her... I can't talk too much about it but yeah, she's definitely an important part of the story.
NZGamer: PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, PSP and DS... But no PC? There's been a bit of backlash regarding this decision, care to clarify it?
Dan: For us, ultimately it was... technologies like Pixelux, DMM (Digital Molecular Matter) and Euphoria are so processor intensive and powerful that the kind of machine you'd need to run them is not the kind of machine most people are going to have. It's such an advanced spec that we feel we really needed to do it justice. If we pulled that stuff out and delivered a sub-par experience...
We also felt that was a wrong approach as people are going to miss out on this. We didn't want to do it [the PC version] half-way. Every platform is getting a great game and they should all be able to stand-alone; we didn't want to deliver a sub-par experience for PC gamers.
NZGamer: Will we expect to see a lot of choices in the game built around the commonplace light-side/dark-side mechanic we've seen in many recent Star Wars games?
Dan: There's definitely elements of choice, but don't think about it as a coda, or like some kind of RPG - there's no meter which swings from dark-side to light-side. We're more about telling a story in an interactive way. The best way to describe it is that you're going to go places and come back later and see that place has changed because of your actions. You're really going to go on this journey... The theme of the story really is redemption. You may start out doing Darth Vader's bidding, killing Jedi, hunting them down, but as the game ends things aren't going to be the same.
We also are going to feature multiple endings so there are going to be elements along the way which contribute to which ending you get.
NZGamer: Thanks for your time!
Dan: Thank you.
The Force Unleashed releases in New Zealand on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS on September 17.