If you paid attention to the build-up for the release of “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” then you probably saw the image above or one like it. You got the hint that, in the game, a Jedi would tear a Star Destroyer down from the sky.
If you played the game long enough, you reached that part.
I finished the game, and after talking to the game’s executive producer, Haden Blackman, about the game’s promising DLC offering, I asked him about this section. I had to admit to him that it was far from my favorite part.
Some might find the following exchange nitpicky on my part. I, however, thought people would find it interesting to see one very specific moment discussed between player (me) and creator (Blackman)…
Multiplayer: Just one other thing: I have to ask you about the taking down of the Star Destroyer. It was by far the coolest thing in the promotional materials and, I hate to say it, the most disappointing thing in the game. I found that particular mini-game moment very frustrating in how long it took. I didn’t feel very powerful. What’s the post-mortem on that moment in your mind?
Blackman: That’s one of those things which, when we tested it and play-tested it, the reaction was very different. I think we were [hearing in play tests] earlier that [the game] felt too repetitive, and by adding some of those moments it actually broke it up. The feedback was positive on that particular moment. … It’s a hard question to answer. Had we spent another year on it, we would have done something even better, obviously. I was in creative writing class in college and there was always this saying: “Stories and poems are never finished; they’re abandoned.” As an artist you always feel that no matter how long you work on something, you always want to polish more. But, to be honest, that wasn’t at the top of our list to spend more polish on, because it had tested well and served its mission to break up the gameplay and provide this big over-the-top moment. In context, it kind of made sense in the story.
Multiplayer: I do see that and I don’t mean to belabor the point. I wanted to share what I’ve heard that people who’ve played it say about it. Their reaction did match my own: it was cool at first, but it was surprising how long it took to unfold.
Blackman: Yeah, there is an issue we could look at and that all games struggle with: the difficulty curve. I think one of the reasons that[’s the case], is when we do test it, internally, some people were blowing through it so fast. And there may be moments in the game like that where on certain difficulty levels — I don’t know what difficulty you were playing it at…
Multiplayer: The middle one. Normal?
Blackman: There may be things we have to look at in: Did we veer off too far one way? Maybe it’s too hard or it lasts too long. But that’s such a subjective and hard thing for us as game developers in general. I’m hoping we get a good cross section of critics, reviewers and gamers [so] we can see if we over-corrected too far one way.
Multiplayer: Cool. I think people take this game, overall, as a pleasant, positive return to form for Star Wars action games, which hadn’t had a highlight in a bit. Congratulations on that.
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