For gamers, Star Wars means a great deal. Especially now as a new chapter, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, is just beginning to ramp up. The possibility that games could flow from this revived universe - with its new characters, new worlds, new vehicles, new enemies, and an extended storyline - is something most gamers are counting on. With this thought in mind, we raced out of the office to see the first official trailer to get a firsthand idea of what to expect.
Lucasfilm has offered a special one-day trailer preview (when select theaters show the trailer at the beginning and the end of their feature movie). The rest of the nation will begin seeing the trailer at the beginning of movies starting on Friday, November 20. Here's what we saw today.
In short, the trailer looked amazing. Gone were the dark overtones of the trilogy. Gone were the small sets and short scenes. Tatooine has gained wider land masses and larger city views. In one scene, you're looking down over a vast and expansive cityscape that looks like something out of a dream with rich blue skies. Another scene shows the young Anakin Skywalker looking up from the center of a Roman-type arena, and it looks massive. Taking in all of the cutscenes, one's brain quickly overflows. One scene shows a dark warrior with a double-ended light saber. Next an army of robotic warriors called Battle Droids marches ahead as others fly above them on small open pedestals.
Spacecraft and vehicle design is a cut above the simplistic-looking designs used in the trilogy with sleek architecture and an otherworldly look to them. And the view from the craft has improved tenfold. One scene over the planet Naboo shows the view from a craft as it races over a speeding lush world - the view from anything in the trilogy doesn't even come close to the speed onscreen that we saw. Considering that Shadows of the Empire's best levels were the fast flying snowspeeder scenes, gamers can see that one on Tatooine or Naboo would be easy to build.
One thing that several people in the crowd complained about in the trailer was Yoda. In Episode I, Yoda is supposed to be younger, but he actually looks very fake and overdone. This was the only complaint we heard.
From what we can tell of the movie, Anakin is the master and is being taught by Obi Wan in the ways of the Force. One scene shows Anakin piloting a fighter at mind-bending speeds. We all know that Darth Vader is one of the best fliers ever... more X-Wing action can't be far behind.
At the end of the trailer, the crowd went crazy and most of the attendees walked out - no one really came to see The Siege. In fact, we checked, and everyone we talked to laughed at the idea of watching The Siege. We noticed two camera crews running around talking to attendees. One of the crews was from ZDTV News, and the other was from LucasFilm - which was taping the crowd's reaction as they viewed the trailer.
We really recommend that you take a look at one of the movies offering the trailer this weekend. It's a long wait until May 21, 1999. And while the movie looks great, we know that the masterminds at LucasArts are already hard at work on a new series of Episode 1 titles for multiple platforms. We can't wait.
Movie file courtesy of Lucafilm's Star Wars official site.