Star Wars: First Assault's existence got leaked quite a while ago, thanks to its 'cover art' for XBLA getting leaked late last year, but now according to a source speaking to Kotaku, Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm - and thus also Lucasarts - could potentially lead to the death of several of the developer's gaming projects as Disney refocuses the company.
First Assault was apparently going to be coming out this spring, as a way of testing the waters to see if demand to a third game in the immensely popular Battlefront series was strong enough to restart production (And that's a whole other story of its own - Battlefront III has been cancelled and redeveloped and cancelled again multiple times over the past few years, moving from Timesplitters creators Free Radical, to Slant Six Games, the creators of SOCOM, before once more vanishing into the ether, not before Job adverts for Spark Unlimited stoked the fires again). However, since Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm last year, all of Lucasart's projects and Job hirings were frozen, with the source claiming development on First Assault has continued since then with no sure idea if the game will ever come out.
First Assault isn't the only Lucasarts project with an uncertain future. Star Wars 1313, a third person shooter set in the seedy undercity levels of Coruscant during the rise of the Empire, wowed people at E3 last year with its dazzling, potentially next-generation level graphics, as well as a promise to tell a darker Star Wars story, without a focus on the Jedi Order.
However, with Disney's gaming arms currently all hands on deck for their Skylanders competitor Disney Infinity, as well as a suggested move towards social and mobile gaming platforms following recent Console failures such as Split/Second or Tron: Evolution, the future of Star Wars as a gaming IP is looking particularly bleak:
"Fans should tell Disney/Lucas loud and clear they don't want shitty titles from random developers; they want games to be taken seriously, and they will only pay for quality," the source said. "I believe that if Disney/Lucas lets LucasArts die, it means the death of Star Wars as a storied game franchise is right behind it."
Between these murmurings and yesterday's announcement of Clone Wars' cancellation, I can't say my hopes for Star Wars' future beyond the new movies are all that certain, either.