I’m Still Transcribing the Mike McShaffry Interview, But Here’s Something We Talked About
The interview with Ultima 8 project director Mike McShaffry went off swimmingly on Monday evening, and I’ve transcribed roughly half of it thus far. One thing we talked about toward the end of the interview was his post-Origin Systems work, which included a stint at Red Fly Studios, back around the time that they developed Mushroom Men, Thor, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. (Interestingly, a number of current Portalarium staff are former Red Fly developers.)
Anyhow, one game he mentioned was an unreleased, cancelled Star Wars title that LucasArts had approached Red Fly about, which would have starred and focused on the story of Darth Maul. So imagine my surprise when, whilst checking the news feeds this morning, I spotted this article at Polygon:
Citing anonymous sources as well as Red Fly CEO Dan Borth, Game Informer reports that LucasArts gave the Austin, Texas-based indie developer a chance to make a Darth Maul game after the studio proved itself with the Wii version of 2010’s Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. However, the publisher initially provided very little guidance except to say that Maul survived being cleaved in half — Red Fly wasn’t directly informed of Lucasfilm’s plans for Maul in The Clone Wars.
According to developers who had worked on the Darth Maul project, it was originally intended to be exclusive to Nintendo platforms before LucasArts shifted it toPlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows PC and Xbox 360. Red Fly began creating prototypes in October 2010 based on the information it had, but during a meeting with Star Wars creator George Lucas, he presented a new vision for the Darth Maul title. According to Game Informer, Lucas wanted a “buddy cop-like experience” with Darth Maul and Darth Talon — a Sith Lady separated by more than 170 years of Star Wars fiction from Maul — teaming up as friends.
Red Fly tried to make that new direction work, figuring out gameplay mechanics to satisfy LucasArts’ suggestions. LucasArts reportedly considered buying Red Fly outright. But according to an ex-developer, the publisher eventually cut off communication with the studio for two weeks before canceling the project in late June 2011.
The full story — or, well, as much as sources were willing to reveal — will evidently be in the May issue of GameInformer. And Mike McShaffry did share a tiny bit about the game as well, which will be in the interview when it goes live. Which I’m currently hoping will happen on Thursday.
(Image credit: Wookieepedia)