July 27, 2007 - Crafting the next chapter in a franchise as deep and beloved as Star Wars isn't easy but neither is running a presentation at San Diego Comic-Con. "Can we dim the lights a little bit?" said Matt Shell, marketing manager for LucasArts as he prepared to introduce the game's trailer.
Suddenly, the lights got brighter.
"Actually, the complete opposite of that would be great," Shell said.
After the lighting snafu, Windows Media Player bricked and had to be restarted, but eventually Shell and Haden Blackman, the project lead on Force Unleashed, got the popular dude-crashes-a-Star-Destroyer trailer up and running. When it was over, the nearly 330 fans and costumed crazies burst into applause.
"I guess that looks okay," Shell said with a grin.
In case you're just joining us, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed puts a lightsaber in your hand and unleashes you on an unsuspecting galaxy as Darth Vader's "secret apprentice." The tale takes place in the years between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Beyond that, not much was known about this title -- until today.
Force Unleashed will take place during a 17 to 18-year span and seems intent on creating a rich storyline for the main character as he comes of age under the wicked wing of one Anakin Skywalker.
"He's Vader," Blackman told the crowd. "He's like the worst father figure imaginable."
That's going to scuff the paint job.
Obviously, Darth's had a pretty rough life, and he's not going to go easy on the new guy -- expect physical and emotional torment. Blackman said that when the young apprentice gets hurt in battle, pseudo-daddy Vader's not going to kiss the boo-boos. When the apprentice fails, Vader's sure to punish him, but chances are he'll let the impending pain hang over the kid for a week or so before dealing out the whippin'. The apprentice says he's committed, but leave it to Darth to introduce a good-looking Imperial pilot named Juno Eclipse and watch how the option for love weighs on his apprentice's mind.
In general, expect Darth Vader to be a jerk to his right-hand man.
As the presentation continued, the LucasArts folks answered questions about the Force Unleashed team (there's about 20 of them) and what the Force is going to be (Blackman described it as "amped up, out of control, over the top" but said the extreme instances of its use will be explained in the story). While the audience asked questions, character art, action depictions and environments were displayed on a big screen, and Blackman even let on that the game was almost a Wookie superhero title.