Star Wars: First Assault—an Xbox Live Arcade game revealed last October through leaked box art on the official Xbox website—is a downloadable multiplayer first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe, a source has reportedly told Kotaku.
Alleged screenshots of First Assault.
Developed by LucasArts, the Unreal Engine 3 title, which has been described as a predecessor to Star Wars: Battlefront III, sets two teams—8 Rebels and 8 Storm Troopers—against one another on franchise staple worlds such as Tatooine and Bespin.
Almost complete, the game omits vehicles, Jedi, and the Battlefront name to avoid high expectations, although it is reported that a small team has been prototyping vehicles for a would-be Battlefront III.
Although set to be released this spring, the fate of the game, along with Star Wars 1313—which is still in development according to LucasArts—is uncertain due to Disney’s purchase of the company, according to the source.
“Last September, when executives at LucasFilm—the parent company of LucasArts—found out that Disney had signed an agreement to purchase the company, things got murky,” says the Kotaku post. “LucasFilm froze all hiring and new game announcements, our source says.
“They had planned to announce First Assault and launch a closed beta by the end of September—which explains the Xbox listing leak on October 1—and First Assault was supposed to be out this spring.”
If released, the game would be a “step zero” for Battlefront III. It would be a title that, if well-received, would be the basis for the shooter, as the next Battlefront would be built on the same code—not a single scrap of the previously-canned iteration developed by Free Radical and Slant Six will be used.
Employees then, according to the site’s source, have continued to work on the game despite being unsure as to whether or not it will ever see the light of day, and that the company is “bleeding talent” as a result.
“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 reportedly told Kotaku.
“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.”