Extended gameplay footage of a dead and buried Star Wars game subtitled First Assault has appeared on the internet. This is the project abruptly canned by Disney/LucasArts in 2012. More importantly, it was to be the first game in a series that would culminate in a fully fledged Star Wars Battlefront 3.
This is completely separate to the imminent Star Wars Battlefront 3 by DICE, and completely separate to the canned 2006 Star Wars Battlefront 3 by Free Radical (a studio now called Deep Silver Dambuster and making Homefront: The Revolution).
Star Wars: First Assault was being made internally at LucasArts as a downloadable PS3 and Xbox 360 game, according to reports by GamesRadar and Kotaku. GamesRadar said the game was inches away - $10,000 in certification fees away - from a winter 2012 public beta when Disney "declared a media blackout".
The new footage, posted to Reddit, shows 20 minutes of a technical beta that apparently ran on Xbox Live "a while back before the game was canned", said the person who posted it. "The beta only had this one level and I couldn't spawn bots or add another player."
It shows the sun-roasted level of Tatooine through the first-person eyes of a Stormtrooper (judging by the forearm armour). He picks up guns, as well as power-ups such as turrets and bombs air-dropped from ships whizzing overhead, and tries them out.
This isn't the first video footage we've seen of the game, but all that's come before has been pulled at LucasArts'/Disney's insistence. This technical beta footage also appears to be different to what has come before.
Star Wars: First Assault looks to play a lot like Call of Duty, which is unsurprising given the series' dominance when First Assault was dreamt up. According to GamesRadar's report, however, there were deeper layers setting First Assault apart. Respawns apparently happened from dropships in waves, and it sounds like everyone could heal via a melee ability, meaning teams could patch-up quickly. There were unusual guns based around tactical support abilities like knockback and repelling grenades, as well as cloaks and holographic decoys for a good ruse. Oh, and there were no Jedi or Sith.
The idea was for Star Wars: First Assault to come out in summer 2013, then be followed by a game codenamed Wingman a year later, which would feature bigger maps and also vehicles. Then in winter 2015, the plan was for a fully fledged Star Wars Battlefront 3 with all the features of the first two games plus a single-player campaign and space battles between X-Wings and TIE Fighters.
Why was Star Wars: First Assault canned? Kotaku pinned the decision on Disney's takeover of Lucasfilm, and with it LucasArts. All projects were frozen in preparation of the deal and then re-appraised when the new owners took over. But exactly why First Assault was binned isn't really discussed.
Nevertheless, months later - in summer 2013 - DICE's Star Wars Battlefront 3 was announced by EA.