Interviews

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Pt. 1

Haden Blackman on movie cross-overs and a "bold" ending

The Force Unleashed sold amazingly well - and it was also the best Star Wars game in a very, very long time - which is no coincidence.

Expectedly then, LucasArts has moved swiftly to put out a sequel to the lightsaber-swinging, Force pushing action game and despite reports of trouble at the internal studio, we're promised "90%" of the original team are on board.

Those who finished the game might have some questions - especially considering protagonist, Starkiller sort of erm, died at the original's conclusions.

We put our queries to exec producer and all-round LucasArts pioneer, Haden Blackman, who answered. Here's part one...

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After the first Force Unleashed came out there were a lot of stories about staff reshuffling and the studio being changed about. How much of the original team is actually working on the sequel?

I would say about 85% of The Force Unleashed II team is made up of TFU veterans - maybe even more. It's probably closer to 90%. So people who've either worked on Force Unleashed 1 or some of the downloadable content are working on TFU2. In fact I'd be hard pressed to name anybody who didn't work on either the first game or the downloadable content.

So the vast majority of the TFU team has returned for TFU2.

The first game was a huge sales success for LucasArts. How much was your decision to make the second a response to that success? Or was the sequel something you planned anyway?

Well we always hoped we'd be able to do it but a lot of it was based on the feedback that we got, the success of the first game and our passion for the franchise and what we wanted to do with it. If we didn't have ideas for where to take the gameplay, how to improve the game or what type of story to tell we wouldn't do it. We had more story to tell and we had more gameplay innovations.

At the end of your presentation you said you have something Star Wars fans would be very interested in, does that mean changing the continuity of the series? Because we'd guess you were under a fairly strict mandate.

It's not so much a change in the continuity. We're dealing in a period of time that has largely been unexplored by anything. Force Unleashed was the first major story we set in that time period. I think we surprised a lot of fans with that story because we showed the formation of the Rebel Alliance and introduce the concept of the dark secret apprentice.

We wanted to have that some kind of impact with TFU 2 so there are meaningful ties to the saga. There are untold stories that will unfold in TFU 2 and surprise fans. I can't talk about details but we've made some really bold choices regarding the ending that are going to surprise fans and leave the speculating about how the saga might continue.

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You're a huge Star Wars fan. How amazing is it to now help shape that 20 years of story that you know?

To have that wide-open runway was pretty exciting, and Lucasfilm licensing who approves everything we do, they've been really great about letting us do what we need to do to make the best game possible and tell the best story.

Does George Lucas himself ever come down? has he given you any feedback on Force Unleashed?

He was involved early on, in terms of green lighting the high level concept, the direction we wanted to take the force and the idea of Darth Vader taking a secret apprentice. He gave us some general story advice about the types of characters we should have in the game and stuff like that.

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