Star Wars 1313 Designer Breaks Silence on the Game’s History
In his book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier devotes a chapter to the famously cancelled Star Wars game, Star Wars 1313. Now, one of the designers of the game has spoken out regarding the games cancellation, and how it affected his own life.
For those unaware, Star Wars 1313 was an action-adventure game that LucasArts was developing prior to their acquisition by Disney. The game was rumored to be a more mature, gritty game compared to previous Star Wars titles, and would have been focusing on the bounty hunters of the world. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled after Disney ceased development of it.
After Jasons book released, Matthias Worch – a designer on Star Wars 1313 and Mafia III – decided to take to Twitter to discuss the game and its affect on his life. In a long tweet thread, he goes into detail on how he juggled the games cancellation with the realization that he would be having twins. It’s a fascinating read, and can be found in full below:
Reading the Star Wars 1313 chapter in Blood, Sweat & Pixels triggered some complex emotions, and not just for reasons you might imagine. The book sheds light on what it’s like to make videogames *as a creator*; how hard it is, how complex it is, how personal it is. I’ve upheld a long-standing policy of not contributing to behind-the-scenes reports. Maybe it’s time to (kinda) break with tradition:
Maybe my personal life experience, which I haven’t publicly shared before, can illuminate life in game development just a bit more. So, I wasn’t in the office when Disney acquired Lucas on Oct 30, 2012. I got an SMS about it, sitting at a hospital, waiting for my wife. I was deep in SW1313 prepro, we were there for a routine early ultrasound for our 2nd baby. The Disney thing added a wrinkle to both. That became especially true a bit later when the ultrasound didn’t just reveal my baby’s heartbeat, but also that of her twin sister. (I might not be able to accurately explain the feeling of finding out that you’re pregnant with twins, on top of a toddler. But…It feels a bit like you’re drowning, and somebody hands you a baby.)
Making games is a constant battle against uncertainty. Doing so while Disney is acquiring your company and with 2 babies in the pipe…Did I mention the drowning?
Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be an exercise in self pity or acknowledgement. I’m not here to describe *actual* hardship. But it is context for what I’m trying to explain to you next: that where you see a finished game, a game developer sees a lot more. Where you see a very cool Star Wars game that tragically got cancelled, my memories are move involved, and my thoughts about…those last few months of SW1313 development are not just memories of a game that could have been. I remember feeling dazed and confused and asking our leads group to cover for me while I was dealing with “personal life stuff”.
I remember two multi-day emergency trips to Kaiser to stop early labor, because it was definitely way too early to meet our children. I remember interviewing during that 2nd time (post Lucas closure), and the effort to keep continuous health insurance for the family. Every game developer has these kinds of life stories on top of actual game development memories. This is just my personal account. At the end of game credits you usually find the names of “Production Babies”. I understand if that section barely registers. But the next time you see it, it might serve as a reminder of the lives that are attached to the game you’ve just been playing. It might be a reminder of the memories that a team of game developers associates with that game.
This is 100% true for non-game-developers as well, of course: life experiences shape our memories. Just providing my example, in games.I have many good memories of the last few months of Star Wars 1313 dev as well, by the way. I remember arriving in Hawaii just a week after the Disney news, on the evening when Obama won his reelection campaign. I remember sketching a combat showcase level & sneaking into the office over xmas to make it as a surprise for when everybody returned. I remember an entire LD team rallying around it & creating ever-better levels lfor the next few weeks, for the team to play & review. I remember adding the jetpack feature during those last few months, which added a whole new dimension to our arenas. I remember a team that stuck together until the very end and kept making SW1313 more awesome, because everyone believed in one another.
Man… for all the uncertainty and waiting, those were good times. In the end, things always work out. The cancellation of Star Wars 1313 led to me making Mafia 3, a game I’m really quite proud of. Why? Well, for all of the obvious reasons, of course. But also for a bunch that you might not immediately imagine.
Matthias closed the tweet thread out with a shoutout to what looks like the team behind Mafia III.
33/33 (The End) pic.twitter.com/LyqACpOfXJ
— Matthias Worch (@mworch) September 12, 2017