Next-gen deal dawns between Day 1, LucasArts

MechAssault-maker inks deal with Star Wars publisher to make all-new game for next-gen consoles.

Traditionally, Day 1 Studios has been linked with Microsoft and its platforms. The company's first two games, MechAssault (2002) and MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf (2004), were both published by Microsoft Game Studios. The pair were also both exclusive to Microsoft's sole platform at their respective times of release, the Xbox. The shop is currently working on the Xbox 360 version of F.E.A.R. for Vivendi Games.

Today, though, the Chicago- and Maryland-based studio announced it has a new publishing partner with which it is developing games for a new platform. Speaking with GameSpot, Day 1 president Denny Thorley and director of business development John Kimmich revealed that they have inked a deal with LucasArts to create an all-new original intellectual property for next-generation consoles.

The as-yet unnamed and undated game will be the first collaboration between LucasArts and Day 1. Thorley said he was drawn to the San Francisco-based publisher because of its focus on putting a larger amount of marketing muscle behind a smaller slate of titles than other publishers. "They had done a tremendous job with their games with their 'less is more' approach," said the veteran developer.

Day 1 executives also praised how LucasArts dealt with independent studios. Kimmich cited 2004's free-roaming action hit Mercenaries, which was developed by Pandemic Studios and published by LucasArts, as an example Day 1 would like to emulate. "They embraced the ideas we represented, instead of just focusing on making games prettier and focusing on the same old kind of gameplay, they want to radically change the way games are played," said the executive.

Though they steered clear of specifics, Thorley and Kimmich said that the new game will focus on the online play that was a hallmark of the MechAssault titles. They said it would feature innovative but "approachable" multiplayer modes that would draw on "our heritage...with the MechAssault series." Kimmich said that "co-op is going to be an important part of games going forward," but would not say specifically whether or not the new game would have a co-op mode.

For his part, LucasArts vice president of product development Peter Hirschmann said Day 1's proprietary development tools were a big factor in LucasArts beginning talks with the studio around the time of last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. "The phenomenal technology created by Day 1 directly affects gameplay in extremely innovative ways," he said.

Since MechAssault was among the first games to offer downloadable map packs via Xbox Live, it should also come as little surprise that Day 1's new game will also feature online content. "We watched very closely what downloadable content did in terms of player interest in a game, and it was very noticeable," said Thorley. "[Downloadable content] does a good job of keeping the product in the forefront of the player's mind. We've gone to school on it and we intend to incorporate it into our next product."

However, while the Day 1/LucasArts mystery project will feature downloadable content, Thorley would not say if it would adopt an episodic model a la Half-Life 2: Episode One and its two models. "With the way [console certification works] the challenge is the economics of [episodic content]," he said. "While we're not prepared to say whether we'll have episodic content for this new title, under certain circumstances it makes a lot of sense."

Last but not least, although Day 1 wouldn't reveal which next-gen console its new game is for, its president did drop some hints. "We're not announcing the platforms [for the game], but I imagine you can guess," said Thorley. Though the seasoned developer wouldn't elaborate, given Day 1's long history with the Xbox platform, his comments appeared to imply that the game would be coming to its successor, the Xbox 360.

That said, the game announcement says specifically it will be a "multiplatform" release. And just because Day 1 has an extensive history making games for the Xbox doesn't mean it will rule out making games for the PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii. "The consumer is going to vote on that," said Kimmich regarding the victor of the next-gen console war. "Nintendo and Sony have a ways to catch up in terms of online play, and Microsoft is going to continue to raise that bar. But [the competition means] the consumer is going to benefit, and in many ways the developer's going to benefit, because we get to do more interesting things on the screen."

LucasArts and Day 1 Studios expect to announce more details on their first collaboration later on in the year.

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43 comments
RC-07
RC-07

oooo common Battlefront3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mat2g
mat2g

Yeah yeah yeah, come onnnnnnnnnn Battlefront 3!!

_Mr_Derp_
_Mr_Derp_

I hope we get a new mechassault

rawpower
rawpower

Swk, Lucasarts doesnt develop their own games anymore, they get dev houses to develop, they publish and keep creative control. So it might be a star wars game, actually it is most likely because of the E3 demo that was shown. And in another interview Day 1 said they have at least one Wii dev kit and are looking into developing for it.

swk2000
swk2000

Its not going to be a Star Wars game on the Wii. Its going to be for Xbox 360, as he made many hints about the 'downloadable levels on Live' and their long running history. I doubt if it will even be a Star Wars game. Lucas Arts dont ONLY Do Star Wars games and If their pairing up with someone else I think they will keep Star Wars to themselves and create something NEW. This is all My Opinion btw, not Fact.

faridmon
faridmon

ok, is a star wars game coming to the Wii or not? just say yes or no, cause i can't stand those gamers who almost talk about star wars rumors.

ewjim
ewjim

Day 1?! Don't haerd of it...

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

Day 1 did a decent job with the two MechAssault games. Looking forward to hearing more about their collaboration with LucasArts.

messin18
messin18

Depends on how good the wii motion senseing is. If it isn't dead on accurate it would suck for a light saber fight. So far only games that are useing it don't have it for fast sword swining so it might not be.

juanfraino
juanfraino

the Wii needs a starwars game! ive said this sence day 1 c`mon lucas arts your gonna make doe on it!

twilight-X
twilight-X

imagine the Wii motion sensing on the lightsaber

9997
9997

Someone put it in english. Will Wii have Star Wars or not??

jdlddd
jdlddd

I can see it now, playing as a jedi using force push to blow away hundreds of stormtroopers with rag doll physics in a highly detailed environment, nice.

danmp18
danmp18

Star Wars AT-AT Assault!!!

KorJax
KorJax

No offense to Day 1, but frankly, the Mech Assault games DESTROYED the traditional Battletech game franchise. As in, it completely butchured the custimization and "sim-like" gameplay of pioloting a Mech in First Person VIew whilst you command your squadmates to take out targets, and complete objectives. And teh multiplayer really had a sense of scale to it. MechAssault destroyed the franchise, by making it so its just a run+gun third person shooter with no sense of "realism" the other games had, and was completely arcad-y. It KILLED the franchise, to cater to the 12 year old console crowd. Im not saying it was a bad game though. I'm saying its not a Battletech game. It turned the franchise into a game like every other game except dealing with larger enemies.

vanessasboy
vanessasboy

The thing to watch for will be exclusivity. If "good" and "hyped" titles are consistently for one system, that system has much more incentive to grow among the consumers. Oh and on another note... Most companies do make a big deal concerning a product they are publishing. This does not necessarily relate the quality of another developing studio's game.

tanenbaum
tanenbaum

It's obvious to me at least that they are going to make A Sam and Max MMORPG, i think that would really appeal to XBOX live's core audience. They just need Doublefine to sign on...

WaffleBoy13
WaffleBoy13

K1LLSWITCH, Mercenaries is one of the best games I own. Gamespot itself gave it an 8.8. Maybe you should get your facts strait whether than bashing a great game because you didn't like it. Nevermind that a large percent of the people who bought the game love it, myself included.

K1LLSWITCH
K1LLSWITCH

Interesting. This article is correct in terms of LucasArts making a big deal out of nothing. I still can't believe I was dooped into believing the hype of how good Mercenaries was. That game was junk! I also hope that Day 1 doesn't choose to go down the road of episodic content for this new game, whatever it may be. It's just a mess. But we'll see in the coming months what this game is and what it's about.

Pablo620
Pablo620

Sony isnt the only one losing exclusives but im sure no one will bash MS like they do Sony cause thats how it is. And classic-rocker, PS3 isnt hard on al developers. Alot of them love PS3 and its 7 cores

WolfSkill5544
WolfSkill5544

Cool. I think the star wars empire it's gonna take over the world with this deal.

REVENGEotSITH
REVENGEotSITH

Can you see an on-line MM game with AT-STs, AT-ATs, etc.? Kinda like Battlefront, but on steriods. Then again, they did say that it would be a new IP, so who knows?

Crazy_Hand
Crazy_Hand

I kinda doubt this would go to the Wii, but who knows...

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

I love co-op games especially when you get annoyed at the other player you can always turn on them, pisses them off but its a lot of fun to be betray the guy. More Co-op in games will be great!

WillT12345
WillT12345

What is it that you all don' t get? Artical says Day 1and LucasArts are working on a next gen game together thats focus is on Co-Op and Online play. And that the game will most likely come to the 360 with other systems being possible depending on how they sell. It wasn't that confusing.

antibob72
antibob72

Perhaps a Metal Warriors 2?!

denawayne
denawayne

More Co-Op games, please. Thank you.

SaMuRaI_Slice
SaMuRaI_Slice

I didn't really like MechAssault, I'm sure people will like the games they make, but it's nothing mind blowing or a great buisness decsion that some incredible awesome game will appear from it.

arfy2
arfy2

Mmmm, I don't think it will be Star Wars themed. Probably another Mech game. Which is no bad thing :D

Shinji0187
Shinji0187

This seems like a good thing... I'm sure this will be quiet for a while and then pop up as the next game to get exicted about in a couple of years.

classic_rocker
classic_rocker

probally going to 360wii just because ps3 is apparently too hard to produce games for, online ok co op great downloadable content awesome

jams_shop
jams_shop

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]