Published on March 15th, 2013 | by Paul Arroyo4
[Friday Five] Things We Want in Star Wars: First Assault
Gamers and Star Wars fans alike are excited for Star Wars: First Assault, a possible upcoming first-person shooter that was initially scheduled to be made available this spring as a download on unconfirmed platforms. Allegedly intended to be the predecessor for Star Wars: Battlefront III (which was unfortunately scrapped), First Assault may or may not see the light of day due to Disney’s acquisition of LucasArts, which has left executives in pensive thought on how to go about using the Star Wars property. Earlier this week, a twenty-six second clip of in-game footage showing rebels against stormtroopers was leaked on the interwebs that is unsurprisingly being taken down from any website. Right off the bat, First Assault appears to have a Halo-y and Call of Duty-ish vibe to it. Of the thing we want to see from it, a few are derived from the beloved Star Wars: Battlefront series, assuming of course that we actually get to play it someday.
Whether they would be called killstreaks or not, if First Assault wants to directly compete with other franchises, some form of score reward would most likely be implemented, similar to how Halo 4 adapted by adding an ordnance drop feature. In Star Wars: Battlefront II, when certain criteria were met, the player was allowed to take the role of either a Jedi or Sith, depending on which faction they were playing. Perhaps after a specific amount of kills were met, a Jedi or Sith may be summoned or taken control of. If they could actually interact with the enemy Jedi/Sith, it would be a fun way for the new game to fully use the Star Wars IP.
First-person Cover System
Simply put, there is yet to be a first-person shooter with a dedicated cover system. Some people believe First Assault will be somewhat of a trial run to see if there is still any interest in a Star Wars shooter. If that’s the case, then this would be the opportune moment to go beyond the norm and take risks to attempt something innovative. A few first-person games such as Dishonored have already adopted a simple cover mechanic which allows players to peek around corners. A more advanced cover system mechanic would allow characters to stick on a wall or barrier of some sort to the point where visibility of the other side is nonexistent until aiming with a weapon or leaning outward; this could add a sense of suspense as you don’t know for sure if an enemy may be coming towards you, and a blip radar of some variety would most likely be made available so you wouldn’t always be unaware of your surroundings. This could also attribute to a balance between the frequency of kills in Modern Warfare and Halo. Modern Warfare’s kills per minute usually tend to be high, while Halo’s is slower, both for their own legitimate reasons. If a balance can be achieved, this would further distinguish First Assault from other shooters.
The Star Wars: Battlefront series had them and they were a blast. Footage from pieces of the defunct Star Wars: Battlefront III presented seemingly fluid space-to-ground flight combat, which looked promising. Even if it’s just a mode that allows you to use different types of vehicles, if First Assault took some of the best things about vehicular gameplay from the Battlefront series, it could be incredibly fun. Though it’s not the highlight of the franchise, the vehicles in Star Wars holds a special place in all our hearts. As a member of the Rebel Alliance, a 74-Z speeder bike or T-47 airspeeder can make traveling across the battlefield a breeze. For stormtroopers, a controllable AT-ST or TIE Fighter could dramatically change the tide of battle.
I don’t exactly mean MAG scaled battles, but enough people to the point where you actually feel like you are participating in an all-out cosmic encounter. The Battlefront series always made you feel like you were a part of a large battle due to all the bots on the field at once. Just think back to the Star Wars films and the immense battles that would take place, especially those in the prequels. If this were the direction being taken, PCs would most likely have a higher amount of available players on one server at any given time; take the case of Battlefield 3, which supports 2-24 players on consoles while its PC counterpart supports 64 players.
Interesting Not-so-Cookie-Cutter Weaponry
While it can be difficult to completely think of new weapon types for a shooter, developers should take the time to come up with unique ideas so that it doesn’t feel so copy-and-paste from rival shooting games. Borderlands serves as an excellent example of how weapons can be fresh and exciting. Fortunately, an incredible arsenal of weaponry already exists in the Star Wars universe and has been used in several games already. This potentially provides a bridge to build upon for even more intriguing new ideas. We can only hope that the developers for First Assault takes full advantage of this. The 26 second clip showed several types of fancy-looking gadgets and gizmos being used throughout the video. Flamethrowers, grenades, pulse energy thingamajigs were apparent here and there. Towards the end of the video, a stormtrooper can be seen protecting his allies with a shield that looked very much like a generic riot shield. While the riot shield would be a nifty primary weapon, it usually seems to be more effective at protecting the wielder rather than including their allies around them. Funny enough, allies were scattered all over behind him rather than directly behind, making them easy targets for enemy fire. Possibly for the sake of demonstrational purposes, the opposing team was shooting directly at the shield instead of the completely unguarded foes. In a real multiplayer situation, this would never happen. However, measures can be taken to make the shield a bit more interesting, such as giving the added effect of attracting incoming fire like a magnet for a limited amount of time.
We can expect a lot from First Assault, but depending on whether it does indeed release as a downloadable game or full $60 retail game can tremendously reflect the work ultimately put into the finished product. Many of us have a void left by the cancellation of Battlefront III that needs to be mended and here’s a game that may potentially do that, even if just a little. For now, we can only hope that this game even makes it into our homes one day.