I’m really excited for this opportunity to make my first public post about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed here at PlayStation.Blog. I spoke with Jeff from the Blog last Friday, and many of the questions you asked are answered in the video below.
The game is finally done, after several years of hard work by an incredibly talented team, and I can now just enjoy playing the game and begin to reflect on the experience of building it. When I do look back on the development effort, I’m amazed and humbled by the fact that we actually managed to finish the game. As the first internally-developed title from LucasArts in quite some time, we bit off several huge challenges, including: building a brand new game engine and tools from scratch for two new (at the time we started, anyway) platforms (including PlayStation 3); crafting a new story that bridges the gap between the two Star Wars trilogies; assembling a new team that had never worked together before; and integrating new and cutting-edge simulation-based technologies. Along the way, we also formed a new and unique partnership with our sister company Industrial Light & Magic, and worked closely with Krome Studios in Australia on the PS2 and PSP versions of the game.
From the outset of development, we were committed to building games from the ground up for each platform, taking advantage of each platform’s strengths. We really tried to push the visual boundaries on the PS3, with lighting, cinematics, and VFX that I believe are world-class. In order to achieve the scale of destruction necessary to make the Force feel truly “unleashed,” we worked with Pixelux Entertainment to incorporate a simulation-based technology called Digital Molecular Matter (or DMM), which simulates the way that materials behave based on real world physics. If you throw a stormtrooper through a plate glass window, that window will shatter differently every time based on the angle of impact, the velocity of the stormtrooper, and other factors. We also use DMM on things like metal doors, which you can blast your way through using a powerful charged Force Push that causes the doors to bend and warp. To bring our characters to life, we collaborated with Natural Motion to integrate biomechanical AI called euphoria into the game. Euphoria infuses each of our enemies with a central nervous system and full suite of reflexes. Stormtroopers you pick up with the Force will writhe and flail, and will protect their heads or grab onto objects when thrown. The power of the next-gen systems allowed us to bring together these technologies – alongside the Havok physics system – to create authentic environments that are ultimately designed to be just really fun and interactive Force “playgrounds.”
The feel of being “unleashed” has also been brought to life on the PlayStation 2 through robust physics. The physics system allows the player to affect and move around more objects than I’ve personally ever seen in a PS2 game. This allowed us to create highly-interactive and destructible environments. We also added exclusive content to both the PS2 and PSP. You’ll be able to visit the Jedi Temple, for example, a location that’s not found in the PS3 version of the game. On the PSP, we also have the concept of “historic missions,” which allow players to relive some of the key fights from the Star Wars Saga – but with “unleashed” powers. Imagine Luke and Darth Vader battling on Cloud City, but with amped up Force Push, the ability to create violent shockwaves, and more… And the PSP is one of the few platforms to include a multiplayer mode, again because we wanted to ensure that each version of the game has its own unique features.
Everyone at LucasArts, ILM, Krome, n-Space, Skywalker Sound, and Lucasfilm who has touched The Force Unleashed has worked extremely hard to realize the core vision: a game about kicking ass with the Force, wrapped up in a compelling new story that bridges the gap between the two trilogies. Most of us on the team are Star Wars fans, and we tried to make a game that we’d want to play, with a story that we felt remained true to the saga. But ultimately, I’m just hoping that people will find the game fun and addictive, whether you’re tossing stormtroopers into oncoming TIE fighters or punting Jawas into chasms on the junk world of Raxus Prime. I’m really looking forward to meeting fans at our Launch Event on Monday the 15th, and to hearing reaction to the gameplay and story.
We’ll have more on that – and a way for you to win some Star Wars/The Force Unleashed loot – next Monday.