Star Wars 1313 offers a peek into our very pretty future

Star Wars 1313 may be our first look into the next generation of games – at least the next generation according to Microsoft and Sony. LucasArts' internally-developed third-person shooter slash Uncharted-esque third-person action game is the very definition of "early" for a game in development. "We're in pre-production," said Craig Derrick, LucasArts producer, ahead of a PC-based demo.

Further pushing that point: the team isn't talking platforms just yet, nor engine, indicating to many that it could be headed to Microsoft and Sony's yet-to-be announced console successors. The demo runs on an Nvidia 680 graphics card, which I'm told is the fabled "Kepler" architecture of the next generation. And the game is gorgeous for it. Both in cutscenes and in gameplay, the graphical detail is near-equal to that of Naughty Dog's latest efforts. Again, the game is in pre-production.

Credit's due here to LucasArts' Industrial Light & Magic, as well as Skywalker Sound and LucasFilm Animation, who are assisting on the project – no doubt – but few games look anywhere near this good at this point in production.

To be clear, the game is pretty rough around the edges when it comes to gameplay. The natural-looking combat seen in the gameplay video LucasArts released (seen above) is hardly representative of the playthrough I watched – cinematics didn't trigger properly, the gun sight didn't center properly when popping out from cover, and collision detection was occasionally wonky.

The Uncharted-style jumping and climbing sequences played out more smoothly (seen below), with SW1313's placeholder main character leaping from his own burning ship to an attackee's, deftly climbing up and around the crashing ship in mid-air in an effort to ... nonchalantly survive. The acting could use some help for sure.

Again, though, the game is in pre-production. That means no launch window, no planned platforms (beyond the PC it was running on), and plenty of time for LucasArts' variety of teams to build a great game around the pretty visuals of Coruscant's "ruthless criminal underworld." There will be "no Jedi, and no Force" in that world, promised Derrick. There will, however, be collectible gear.

An "ever-expanding collection of weapons, gadgets, and gear – and experimenting with how they behave in this world" are the "toy at the heart of the gameplay experience," Derrick said. Demo attendees didn't get a chance to see that aspect of SW1313, but it sounds like one of the more promising aspects of the game. A pretty face only gets you so far, ya know?

If Star Wars 1313 really is our look into the next generation of games, the future's looking more attractive than ever. And here's hoping it's smarter than it looks.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.