Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is an upcoming multimedia project developed and published by Lucasarts. This new franchise for the most famous sci-fi brand of all time includes a a tie-in novel, action figures, a comic book, a reference book and a role-playing game supplement.
Honestly folks, despite a certain level of... 'crappines' to Mr. Lucas' films and merchandise machine, you really have to give him a hand for generating great excitement over all the stuff he makes. This new line seems to be no exception.
The one thing I love about Lucasfilm/Lucasarts previews is that, for someone like me who is untrained in the entire Creative Process of developing a certain type of media, I just love these kind of behind-the-scenes look. It may be a peek at times at the idea generation phase, but it really makes for fascinating television. I will not deny that I found the Super Special Edition Original Trilogy Starwars DVD previews compelling as hell - and the new trilogy's behind-the-scenes featurettes aren't so bad either.
Lucas seems to somewhat understand just how rabid his fanbase is. Everything is captured in film, nothing is spared - from Concept to Completion. (Unlike other franchises...)
Speaking of concepts, you will notice in that nifty video that Starwars: The Force Unleashed's main concept was simply...
"Kicking someone's ass with the Force"
Repeat that three times and you'll appreciate this new franchise. You can really feel the enthusiasm of the Lucasarts Creative Team, who are constantly trying to one-up themselves in everything they do, all in the name of Lucas. But anyway, the team bases this entire project on this... idea. It really does take a strong concept to drive a project such as this - something in which a lot of other franchises seem to miss.
In a similar fashion to how most fan-fiction ideas are born from hardcore fanboys, you have these professional geeks working for Lucas, talking about how this and that event was referenced in the original movies, and how they wanted to expand on those ideas and concepts. While not new, I just love that whole spinoff-ish idea - especially when done right.
Imagine how a single word/reference in a movie or series can be a gold mine of potentially cool and profound fiction. Starwars is literally littered with these kinds of story nuggets - the more famous ones are references to Kessel Run, Bothan Spies, Ord Mantell, aw heck, I can give you a whole list of geek stuff (all of which have already been expanded in the Starwars novels, games and comics).
"Good concept art for me is the beginning, it... unleashes creativity, so to speak... What if we do this, what if we do that...?"
I would love to dwell in the future about Concept Art in general but I think the concepts shown so far for this new franchise will really make your head turn. It's like they really hit the mark in capturing the feeling of the game, without having to actually play it (reference to Media Res in my previous post Xavier Marquis)
The concept art for this feature always had these amazing stuff I've always imagined Starwars to be. Wide open shots of hundeds of AT-ST and AT-AT walkers in a ruined city, or other similarly dazzling display of artistic prowess are just... great. But like everything, its just the beginning. Though I have to say that the developers are really delivering well in the promise shown by the earlier Concept Art.
One last, quirky thing I saw in the feature was this... continuity checking. I really have never seen anything like it until now. From what can be plainly seen in the featurette above, the Creative Team first faxes question forms with questions like "Can Vader's apprentice be this or that?", and then The Man himself, George Lucas will check either a Yes or a No.
Despite all his faults and ideas, they treat the man like a god, as opposed to other franchises were the original creators of a show are mocked and laughed at. His ideas and inputs are like the Holy Grail - the Core Continuity. I find it kinda odd beyond reason actually, but its not really that different from what I am doing now with some of my own projects. All in all, it really made me wonder how more continuity-sensitive franchises are run.
I hope you had a good time reading this, and I hope you read the other posts in this blog. Feel free to leave some comments and suggestions!