This past December, my brother and I were Christmas shopping when we strolled past the video game section at Walmart. We had just left the toy aisle, but when we came upon a shelf with pegs filled with Disney Infinity and Skylanders products – he asked why these action figures weren’t kept with the others in the toy aisle.
I tried my best to explain to him that the figures he was admiring – ranging from Pixar favorites to Captain Hook – were more than action figures, but actually components to a video game. While I’ve never played either platforms, I understand the basics behind it and told him users purchase figures of the characters they wish to play in the game.
It’s a brilliant evolution in toys and a concept I believe we’ll see more in coming years, perhaps the most promising strategy to breathe new life into action figure sales. I imagine this concept was the inspiration behind Telepods – although stripped down and much less sophisticated, tech wise.
While Skylanders was the first to really corner this marriage between video games and toys, Disney launched Infinity August of last year and sold more than three million copies of its toys and video game products. That’s a huge success and encouraged them to expand the line.
Disney officials announced they’re working on Disney Infinity 2, which will expand the character roster to include Marvel and Star Wars. As information comes forward in coming months, I have to imagine Boba Fett is high up on the list of characters to roll out.
Last August, Disney asked fans to vote for what characters they want to be included in the game via a hashtag campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do a similar prompt during development of the sequel – and when this happens, you can bet we’ll be pushing to get Boba Fett well represented and push to have him a part of the expansion.
Disney Interactive announced its upcoming game Star Wars: Attack Squadrons, inviting fans to sign up for beta testing this coming New Year. Promotional materials including game art and a short trailer shows a glimpse at Slave I, which will appear in the game.
Attack Squadrons will be a free online game, which offers users to customize popular vessels and wage combat with as much as 16 players at a time. Lucasfilm officials said more details on ships, environments and more will be forthcoming the next few weeks.
Sign up for the beta testing at www.starwars.com/attacksquadrons.
One of my favorite holiday pastimes this month was the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. If you’re looking for more LEGO fun, then you may be interested in playing the Advent Calendar video game at Lego.com.
To get the fullest experience from this game, you’ll want to use the secret codes attached to each day’s box from the physical calendar – when peeling away each square, a code is printed on the bottom right-hand corner of the building instructions. These codes unlock characters and ships in the online game.
The game play is smooth and easy to grasp. Use the arrows to move your character and the spacebar to fire your weapon. It’s very reminiscent of the 16-bit Nintendo games like Mario Brothers. There graphics also run smoothly, so there’s no lag or buffering that Hasbro’s Fighter Pods online game suffered.
My favorite element of this game is playing with Jango Fett running around in a Santa Claus suit. You can still play this game online, even if you haven’t purchased the Advent Calendar – Jango is a default character and can be played with immediately – but entering codes to unlock other characters just enriches the experience.
Last April, a rumor followed the news of the LucasArts shut down, concerning the much anticipated game, 1313. It was reported by insiders multiple changes during development led to Boba Fett being the central figure of the game.
This led to plenty of conversation on forums and social media platforms. Some fans casted doubt on these rumors, citing early concepts shown at E3. Other fans totally believed the rumors and voiced disappointment – nonetheless, when IGN.com shots of the game – confirming Boba Fett’s role – a delayed rage finally showed its face on the Internet.
IGN received a look at a 15 minute demo of 1313, which they report would have debuted at this year’s E3. The footage fully confirmed the rumors heard earlier this year. According to IGN, the game followed a young Boba Fett, working for Jabba the Hutt. Other bounty hunters were featured and they worked for other crime bosses. The game traced Boba Fett’s evolution from the prequels to the Original Trilogy.
IGN’s source also revealed the game would tie into Star Wars Underworld, a live-action television show that never got off the ground. I’m very disappointed this game was canceled, although I’m surprised fans didn’t voice their anger about its plug being pulled until now – other than now they can see actual screen grabs – but I’ve seen the Internet go running with much more vague rumors in the past.
Although this game is canceled, I have faith it will be show up as another project in the future. While the franchise now belongs to Disney, I don’t think the good people at Lucasfilm will suddenly abandon their trait of never throwing anything out. Kathleen Kennedy and other officials studied under George Lucas, and he was the biggest proponent of archiving concepts and finding the right time to reintroduce them in new ways.
When Lucasfilm announced it partnered with the video game Konami to release a digital card battle game, I was excited. I’ve always loved trading card games, but the nearest comic book shop is quite out of the way. This was the driving force for me to convert to reading digital comics, rather than buy single hardcopy issues.
When Star Wars: Force Collection became available on Sept. 4, I eagerly downloaded it for free. The online previews were vague, so I didn’t know what to expect. Within seconds though, I got a bad feeling. This application/game was a great letdown. It became abundantly clear this was merely a cash grab for Konami, not only is the game play confusing, but it felt more like a third week workbook prompt from a high school computer programming class.
The guys at Forcecast.net’s The Sabacc Table podcast give a comprehensive review of Force Collection in Episode #6: Virtual Cardboard, downloadable for free on iTunes.com or at ForceCast.net.
My main motivation for giving this game a try was to battle with Boba Fett. Unless you have lots of disposable income, it’s virtually impossible to acquire more rare and popular characters. Not to mention, the game isn’t fun – literally, it consists of endless tapping “cardboard cutouts” of Stormtroopers who never strike back.
Boba Fett does make an early appearance in the “storyline” of the game, wanting your assistance in taking down a target. This rubbed me the wrong way, also. During this era in Star Wars, Boba Fett wouldn’t be recruiting assistance. If you don’t agree to help out, you then battle Boba Fett – a poor execution for a “boss battle.”
I’d love to see a virtual battling card game debut, maybe with similar technology being used by Hasbro’s Telepods. Imagine purchasing an action figure, which comes with a special trading card that could be scanned into a mobile application and used in virtual battles. Now that’s a game I’d love to see.
Force Collection simply piggybacks off the Star Wars name to eat away at our iTunes balance.
Earlier today, Kotaku.com reported that a version of the canceled-1313 video game was centered on the adventures of Boba Fett. The focus of 1313 had changed throughout development, but Kotaku’s sources said George Lucas assigned developers to go in this direction just before E3 – it has been argued by some Internet bloggers the game had possibly been rethought and sent in another direction since then.
We’ll never know for sure though, since the game was shelved. In fact, earlier this month, LucasArts, was announced as being shut down – leading to numerous layoffs – and officials said it would now only license projects.
While this leaves a door open for a third-party to pick up the development of 1313, sources told Kotaku, this is very unlikely. Evidence points to Disney wanting to separate itself from the prequel era, so if the project were to be picked up, it would most likely be refocused and reshaped to fit the coming sequel era. It’s hard to get too optimistic about this, since we have no clue where this new era will take us or who the major players are.
This is disappointing news. Even if the game’s focus had evolved past only following the bounty hunter, it’s hard to imagine he still wouldn’t have been included. Especially, if developers already created the model, lighting and other configurations for the character.
Note: The following blog contains SPOILERS to the video game.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II was released as the second installment of The Force Unleashed multimedia project in 2010, which developed the story of Starkiller and the rise of Darth Vader through a mix of books, video games and graphic novels.
As the player, you control a clone of Starkiller as he quests to find the original Jedi’s love interest – Juno. The journey also pits you against legions of troopers, droids and creatures. However, for readers of this blog, the most engaging element of this game is the addition of Boba Fett.
After escaping the cloning facility on Kamino in the first level, a video clip shows Darth Vader recruiting Boba Fett to kidnap Juno and bring her back to Kamino. It’s obvious this is a ruse to draw Starkiller into a trap.
This story is set between Episode III and Episode IV in the Star Wars canon, and this scene establishes more history between the relationship of Darth Vader and the bounty hunter. The scene is haunting, with Boba Fett examining the ruble and delivers the line:
"I’ll need a squadron of Storm Troopers. They won’t be coming back.”
Darth Vader not only gives Boba Fett the troopers he requests, but also equips him with a giant spider droid, which later serves as a formable distraction and opponent to Starkiller as Boba Fett succeeds in abducting Juno and taking her back to Kamino.
Disappointedly, the player never gets to battle Boba Fett, but that’s not the last time we see the bounty hunter. The games finale allows the player to choose one of two alternative endings once defeating Darth Vader at the end of the game.
If you choose the light side – allowing the Rebel Alliance to capture Darth Vader for interrogation – Starkiller and Juno are reunited and board their starship, with Darth Vader in custody, only to reveal the Slave I camouflaged in space debris and then detaching from the floating haul of an enemy craft and pursing Starkiller and the captured Sith Lord.
The Force Unleashed II is a great game, with an engaging story and breathtaking graphics. The gameplay is easy to learn and you’ll have a great time taking out enemies with the half dozen abilities Starkiller possesses, including Force Push, Force Lighting, Mind Trick, Repulse, duel Lightsaber action and more.
Players can also upgrade abilities and unlock various costumes to wear throughout the game – these costumes also carry over into the video clips between levels. There is also a vast array of secret costumes to play in, including Boba Fett’s armor.
You can play as Boba Fett by pressing start, toggling over to “cheat codes” and entering, “Mandalore.” If you play as Boba Fett, you cannot use any of his weapons, but retain all of Starkiller’s abilities.
The Force Unleashed II is available for PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, Wii, Nintendo DS and iOS.