Dark side gossip emerges from GDC, with pundits pointing a very big finger at LucasArts and a Star Wars game to end them all. According to sources at last week's Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, California, LucasArts is currently hard at work on a game based on the villainest villain on Planet Star Wars, Darth Vader.

"They're being seriously cagey about it, but apparently it's a third-person action affair with the player taking on the role of Vader," one spy told Eurogamer. "It's a major Lucas project."

Activision, the publisher of LucasArts games in Europe, issued the standard response today. "There's no comment on matters of rumour and speculation," a spokesperson told us.

The game is expected to be announced at E3 or in the run-up to the American show, in normal Lucas style. The Star Wars games portfolio is looking somewhat anorexic at the moment, with only Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars: Republic Commando currently doing the Force thang on the Lucas roster.

While Activision played the closed-mouth comedy game today, Star Wars fans around here were incapacitated with excitement. "I can already feel his icy grip on my throat!" said one, as we pulled him out from under an Xbox.

Although there's currently no firm talk of a prospective platform, we'd imagine a multi-platform launch is on the cards with PS2 as the lead - a fitting role for the console affectionately known as Darth Vader's toaster...

Hopefully the run-up to E3 will show more on the Vader game and shed a great deal more light on LucasArts' ongoing plans to milk unending piles of cash from the greatest science fiction franchise in history.

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