Where's Han? Star Wars' Reluctance to Embrace Its Most Iconic Era
I’ve been waiting for a Han Solo game my entire life. It makes sense: a fan-favorite character, a swashbuckling bounty hunter with plenty of adventures and hijinks all around the galaxy. It could essentially be Grand Theft Auto in space, and players could pimp out the Millennium Falcon to their liking!
Seems like a perfect fit. So why hasn’t there been a single video game with Han Solo as the primary character, other than 2003′s Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon on Game Boy Advance?
How did we get to this point? I blame it all on two titles: Star Wars Galaxies and Knights of the Old Republic. When both games came out in summer 2003, it changed everything. KotOR was one of the first hugely successful, big-budget Star Wars video games not based at all on the era of the original film trilogy. It took place long before that, when Jedi abounded. Along with this came Galaxies, an MMO taking place in the era of Episodes IV, V, and VI. It was a gargantuan commercial flop.
The success of KotOR and the failure of Galaxies has pushed LucasArts away from games based on the original movie trilogy. There have been a few exceptions, but by and large, it seems video games have unfortunately become the exclusive realm of Star Wars‘ Expanded Universe. Maybe this is great news for fans of the hundreds of Star Wars tie-in novels that have been written, but for the rest of us fans, it’s a shame. It may be a long time before Han Solo finally gets his own game.
The upcoming Star Wars 1313 shows some promise, though. While it’s not connected to any of the films, the developers maintain that players will NOT be able to use a lightsaber. In our lightsaber-obsessed Star Wars gaming community, that’s great news to me. The seedy Coruscant underworld setting looks much darker than previous SW games, and the developers claim it deals with “mature themes.” We’ll see what that means, though; it’s always a gamble when franchises seek to hard-boil themselves. In an effort to appear more grown-up, many franchises lose their heart and soul–just look at Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within or Max Payne 3. Hopefully Star Wars 1313 bucks the trend.