LucasArts' canceled Star Wars Outpost sounds amazing
"Star Wars meets Settlers of Catan/EVE"
By now we're all too familiar with the canceled projects that were Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313. Apparently there was also another casualty of Disney's acquisition of Star Wars -- a "hardcore" strategy simulation called Star Wars Outpost. Up until now, we hadn't heard of the project, but Eurogamer has received artwork, images, and details of the now-canceled project.
Star Wars Outpost was billed as a "hardcore" strategy simulation for PC and mobile devices. It was being built by a team of 30 working out of LucasArts' Singapore office, and was apparently 90 percent completed before being canceled.
"We were just looking for approval to start public beta testing. Instead we got a call they were going to kill the project," a source close to the project told the site.
Though rumors originally referred to the title as a Farmville clone, the source said that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, the game was designed to be a "very hardcore" experience, drawing comparisons to Settlers of Catan and EVE.
"The best way to describe the game is if Star Wars met Settlers of Catan/EVE," said the source. "You would take control of an Outpost on a planet within [the Star Wars galaxy]. The land on the planet was finite and so were the resources, so you were forced to search out and find other players. You had choices to either work with them or betray them for their resources."
"You could then start supplying weapons/ships/tools etc. to either the Rebels or the Empire. Supporting each side would control a balance of power where that side could start taking over the Galaxy."
Built like an MMO, nearby players who were allies would slowly connect to you via networks of roads and trade routes. A world completely controlled by the Rebels or Empire would grant bonuses to the appropriately-aligned Outposts.
It sounds pretty complex, and ultimately it sounds like that complexity is what doomed it (aside from the sale of Star Wars and LucasArts to Disney), as Star Wars Outpost was deemed too niche.
"It was a very deep game and always running like an MMO, we wanted players to really invest a lot in time," the source added.
It gets more complex, too. The original design called for Star Wars Outpost to connect with Star Wars: First Assault, the heavily-rumored, but never officially confirmed XBLA title, that would serve as a predecessor to the also canceled Star Wars: Battlefront 3. The goal was to allow players in Outpost to create weapons or ships for use in First Assault.
"We had the back-end working but not in-game," the source revealed. "Then the players from First Assault could buy those unique weapons and equipment. You could also send in dropship supplies to help a side during the fight."
Since Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, there's been a larger focus on casual mobile games. In fact, I'm willing to bet Star Wars Commander played a big role in the decision to cancel Outpost, though that's just my own speculation.
In any case, it's always interesting/sad to hear about games that could have been. Check out the gallery of artwork and images for Star Wars Outpost below.