Uncharted Creator and former Creative Director on Visceral’s Star Wars title, Amy Hennig, recently sat down with USgamer during the DICE Summit. Over the course of the interview, Hennig spoke about a number of things. As expected, her work with Visceral served as one of the more compelling topics. While she couldn’t divulge much, Hennig did share some of the difficulties the team faced, most notably with regard to the Frostbite Engine. Interestingly, she also noted that the project was “farther along” than people seem to believe.
To many, Visceral’s Star Wars appeared very Uncharted-like in nature. According to Hennig, such a conclusion is reductive, yet works in giving audiences something to envision. In addition, the comparison helps explain a few of the development challenges. For one, getting Uncharted-inspired gameplay to function within the Frostbite Engine, developed by Battlefield studio DICE, generated its own myriad problems.
Hennig told USgamer,
So I think Visceral was sort of beset with a lot of challenges. Even so, we were making a game; people have said it was an Uncharted Star Wars. That’s sort of reductive, but it’s useful because people can kind of visualize something in their head. But what that meant is we obviously had to take the Frostbite Engine, because there was the internal initiative to make sure that everybody was on the same technology, but it was an engine that was made to do first-person shooters not third-person traversal cinematic games. So building all of that third-person platforming and climbing and cover taking and all that stuff into an engine that wasn’t made to do that.
We did a lot of foundational work that I think the teams are still benefiting from because it’s a shared engine, but it’s tough when you spend a lot of time doing foundational stuff but then don’t get to go ta-da! [laughs] You know, here’s the game.
She also revealed that, despite popular belief, Visceral’s Star Wars project was pretty far along. What that means specifically isn’t clear; unfortunately, it’s likely to remain unclear for the foreseeable future. Hennig explained,
I wish people could have seen more of it because it was a lot farther along than people ever got a glimpse of. And it was good, you know? But it just didn’t make sense in EA’s business plan, ultimately. Things changed over the course of that time I was there. So you know, what can you do.
With Electronic Arts’ focus on producing projects that have a long tail after release, it seems generally linear, story-centric games wouldn’t fit the bill. Still, it’s a shame this particular title will never see the light of day, especially since it sounds like the kind of experience Star Wars fans have been eager to get their hands on.