A prototype shows a lightsaber combat game that could have been.
It’s not that a Star Wars fighting game has never been tried; it’s just that the results weren’t very good. Still, if fans really want a fighting game centered around lightsaber combat, the idea could work as long as every combatant wields an equally deadly laser-blade. This was the theory behind the prototype for a Star Wars fighting game from defunct Studio Gigante. A tech demo of the game has surfaced, showcasing a well-animated lightsaber duel between Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Sith Lord Darth Maul.
In the video, Skywalker and Maul face off in something resembling Emperor Palpatine’s throne room. They hack away at each other with lightsabers, but to the game’s credit, make contact very sparingly. Instead, the demo cuts away to intense parries, which often result in one character punching or kicking another, in order to reduce health. Slashes and impalements seem reserved for finishing moves, although the two warriors can also make use of Force abilities, such as telekinetically pushing an opponent.
Studio Gigante, which put out two other fighting games for the Xbox during its short lifespan (Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus and WWE WrestleMania 21), pitched this prototype to prospective publishers along with another one based on Kill Bill. Whether anyone would have accepted the pitch, however, is hard to say, since the studio shut down in July 2005 and was unable to finish the project.
The concept, mechanics, and graphics seem solid enough, and let’s face it, it’s not like Star Wars lightsaber combat games have set the bar very high. Actually, the multiplayer mode in Star Wars: Obi-Wan wasn’t terrible, for all five of you who played that.