If it were not for Return of the Jedi, videogame forests would be distinctly less interesting. Sure, everyone ribs a developer when they make the effort to craft a jungle and then give up fill it with furry critters and exotic interconnected tree houses, but for one this is hardly a LucasArts-only convention - we've seen Ewok Villages in everything from Donkey Kong Country to Brute Force - and for another it's difficult to imagine how else to do interesting forests in three dimensions.
Plus, with most graphics engines now more than capable of rendering a decent forest, we're starting to get better Ewok Villages, and who better to show us how it's meant to be done than LucasArts themselves? Or rather, multiplayer shoot-'em-up Star Wars: Battlefront, which is underway at Pandemic Studios for PS2, Xbox and PC.
Judging by the flaming torches, sun softly piercing the canopies and rows of twigs and branches lining the screen in every direction, Pandemic is enjoying its work. Thanks to a pair of new movies that crept onto the Internet overnight, you can make your own mind up - the thirty-second Endor trailer gives us a decent enough (albeit rather dark) appreciation of the real thing, and it's nice to see AT-STs stalking around in preparation too, and looking a darn sight more sprightly than Factor 5's efforts in last year's disappointing Rogue Squadron title, Rebel Strike. Perhaps these ones will be good-looking and manoeuvrable.
Meanwhile, a thirty-second preview of Geonosis indicates that Pandemic is getting an even better handle on the scorched skies of the birthplace of the Clone Wars, which the developer is revisiting following its other Geonosian third-person shooter, the middling Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Many of the same units are back and looking distinctly better, like those big-wheeled rollers and plodding tortoise-like tank contraptions, complete with troopers scampering in-between their legs.
Although Battlefront is still going to have to do something special to impress across all three platforms, we're expecting to be impressed by this when we turn up at E3 next month, and judging by the potential of this and some of Pandemic's other titles in development (most notably Mercenaries), we have every right to be. You can download the two new trailers (amongst other previous offerings) from 3D Gamers.