New creative teams give Star Wars video game new hope

Electronic Arts and Visceral Games are stacking the creative deck for the upcoming untitled Star Wars video game. They scored a massive coup landing Amy Hennig, former Naughty Dog creative director for the “Uncharted” series. A little over a week later, actor and writer, Todd Stashwick, was announced as Hennig’s co-writer for the Star Wars game.

Disney clearly wants a video game franchise that lives up to arguably the most storied sci-fi intellectual properties ever. Star Wars action games have mostly been bad to mediocre for the last decade with the exception of the “Lego Star Wars” games. But those games don’t offer new creative content in a universe ripe for the picking.

It would be safe to assume that Hennig and Stashwick have been handed total creative control over their game.After all, why would the creative director in charge of PlayStation’s biggest series leave if not to take over something potentially bigger? It only makes sense to trade up for a bigger icon and to make their mark in something with far more reach. Hennig has a proven ability to create characters and stories that players can invest in with “Uncharted” standing out as her greatest accomplishment. She’s been a mainstay in the gaming industry since the late 1980s (even working at EA previously), and with as few women as there are in her position now, it is remarkable to reflect on her career trajectory over the decades.

 

 

Stashwick doesn’t have any other video game development credits to his name, but he is a long-time actor who has appeared in television shows like “Justified,” “Heroes” and “Teen Wolf.” He is currently developing a pilot for a space adventure/drama on the Syfy channel called Clandestine. He also has a role in the tentatively titled “Uncharted 4” which Hennig was originally involved with before a rumored creative falling out at Naughty Dog. Hennig vouched for Stashwick on Twitter stating that he was a “huge gamer, knows Star Wars inside-out and sideways, and is a brilliant writer to boot.”Hennig has also posted images on Twitter that include her and Stashwick having lunch with Nolan North, the venerable video game voice actor responsible for giving voice to Uncharted’s” Nathan Drake, and former “Lost” and “Lord of the Rings” star, Dominic Monaghan, who has been rumored to appear in the upcoming Star Wars movie.

Visceral Games seems like a natural fit for a new Star Wars game with its work on “Dead Space,” a space-themed survival horror game and “Dante’s Inferno,” a rather bizarre and very mature take on “The Divine Comedy.” “Dante’s Inferno” may have been an unabashed clone of Sony’s “God of War,” but it was a solid adventure game. Visceral could take the best of “Dante’s Inferno” and “Dead Space” and layer on a potentially amazing story from Hennig and Stashwick and the result would be better than any other Star Wars video game in recent memory.

Disney has been very active with pushing new Star Wars projects. The next movie is allegedly set to begin filming soon. There are at least two video games known to be in production, Visceral’s game and a “Star Wars: Battlefront” reboot being developed by DICE using the Frostbite 3 engine.

It has never been a more exciting time for fans of Star Wars. All EA has to do now is not screw up by rushing a game out that isn’t complete. Trust in the talent you’ve gathered, and they will bring a new hope to Star Wars video games.

Reach the reporter at michael.jerome.martin@asu.edu or follow him @NefariousMike