'Kicking ass with the Force' is Haden Blackman's development maxim when it comes to Star Wars. He's the Executive Producer/writer of Force Unleashed 2, and Galen Marek is his baby.
And - hold the front page - it soon transpires Darth Vader's apprentice-turned-Rebel Alliance leader didn't actually buy the farm at the gripping climax of the original Force Unleashed. At least, we think he didn't... but then this 'new' Starkiller might be a clone. Heck, we're confused already. "That's the idea," reckons Blackman. "Plus this is more personal, darker in tone. It's our Empire Strikes Back."
Lofty comparisons, but then after some of the tech we were demoed LucasArts have every right to be bullish - Unleashed 2 is looking stellar. Grounded in revenge, this sequel sees a majorly narked Starkiller raging across the galaxy searching for lost love Juno Eclipse. He'll ruck with Rancors and infinitely bigger beasties like the Gorog (in the original most boss fights were against Jedi and Sith - now you'll come up against giganto-monsters too). Result.
TAKING THE SITH
Blackman is well aware that the original Unleashed was decidedly one-paced - a mindless tour-de-Force of hacking, slashing and electrifying. Now, there's more variety - from increased strategy within combat itself to the odd (simplistic) puzzle. Most importantly, the Jedi Mind Trick is now a confirmed 'in' - and watching some of the Lemming-like mass Stormtrooper suicides Starkiller is able to initiate when he's fully Forced-up is absolutely hilarious.
In order to refine combat, LucasArts have lowered the number of enemy types from 100 to 25 - imbuing each and every one with a more distinct battle personality, while there are also dramatic new 'run for your life' moments and (yay) dual lightsabers! With a 20-year 'black hole' in the Star Wars narrative canon to play around with, Blackman and team are revelling in the creative freedom. This could well be the best Star Wars game ever.