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George Lucas ruining a Chewbacca game was just one of LucasArts’ woes

Photo: StarWars.com

A long time ago in an industry far, far away, companies other than Electronic Arts made Star Wars video games. LucasArts and its various partners churned them out for decades before Disney snapped up Lucasfilm and handed all game development over to EA. But in its last several years as the software division of an independent Lucasfilm, LucasArts was in dire straits. We already know of several Star Wars games from that period that were canceled in various states of completion—Knights Of The Old Republic 3, a sequel to Republic Commando, a game about smugglers—and a recent video from the vigilant snoops at Unseen64 claims to have unearthed two more, including one that would have starred Chewbacca.

According to the report, Factor 5 was pitching LucasArts on a game called Star Wars: Dark Squadron, which would have flipped the script on its Rogue Squadron trilogy of dogfighting games by putting players in control of Darth Vader as he led Imperial forces from inside his fancy TIE fighter. The studio even hoped to implement more strategy-game elements, giving Vader the ability to call in reinforcements and orbital strikes in the heat of battle. At the same time, a development team from within LucasArts was pitching a game about Chewbacca that recounted his transition from bounty-hunting Wookiee to Han Solo’s partner in crime. Whether due to internal politics or a lack of faith in Factor 5, the Chewbacca game was given the green-light over Dark Squadron, but its development wouldn’t last long. According to Unseen64, it was noted Wookiee hater George Lucas himself who put the kibosh on that project, and the team behind it moved on to develop Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.


Beyond those two previously unknown projects, the Unseen64 report gives a fascinating look behind the scenes of Factor 5’s final years. With Dark Squadron off the table, the studio instead focused on a rerelease of its Rogue Squadron games for the original Xbox. That was shelved in favor of an online multiplayer Rogue Squadron designed to launch alongside the Xbox 360, which was also canceled. At that point, the studio took a break from Star Wars to release its critically panned PlayStation 3 exclusive, Lair. With a handful of games in early development—including the doomed Superman game whose cancellation would be one of the final nails in Factor 5’s coffin—the idea for a souped-up Rogue Squadron collection was revived, but this time, Factor 5 would once again be teaming up with its old pals Nintendo.

Previously outed by IGN as Star Wars: Rogue Leaders—Rogue Squadron Wii, this anthology would have brought together all three Rogue Squadron games with a handful of extra modes, including cooperative multiplayer and a fully featured lightsaber-dueling mini-game. According to Unseen64, development was progressing on the collection, but with the company about to go bankrupt, its management secretly formed a new studio called White Harvest and transferred over all of Factor 5’s assets and games just days before it closed its doors. White Harvest continued development on the Rogue Squadron collection, but with multiple law suits being filed against the studio’s founders by former Factor 5 employees, LucasArts canceled the still-unannounced game and White Harvest shut itself down.

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