GameSpot talked with Tom Sarris of LucasArts Entertainment about the just-announced Star Wars Battleground, a real-time strategy game in joint development at LucasArts and Ensemble Studios. The game uses Ensemble's proprietary game engine, and it is being designed in part by Ensemble's Bruce Shelley. Sarris was unable to go into specifics about the upcoming game since it was just announced earlier this afternoon, but he said that the company plans to reveal more information as we get closer to E3 in May.
GameSpot: How long have you been working on Star Wars Battleground?
Tom Sarris: LucasArts and Ensemble began discussion about a partnership in mid-2000. Development of Star Wars Battleground began soon afterward.
GS: Of all the technology currently available, why did you choose to license the Age of Empires engine from Ensemble?
TS: With the Age of Empires engine, LucasArts saw an opportunity to deliver a compelling and dynamic Star Wars game using a well established and very successful technology. We're confident Star Wars Battleground will deliver the kind of experience Star Wars game fans have been asking for in the RTS genre.
GS: How are you improving on the Age of Empires engine, if at all?
TS: We'll be discussing specifics about gameplay and technology for Star Wars Battleground later this spring.
GS: Is anyone from Ensemble, like Bruce Shelley, involved in the development and/or design of Battleground?
TS: Bruce Shelley is acting as a design consultant on Star Wars Battleground.
GS: Admittedly, Force Commander didn't live up to some people's expectations. Have you identified the problems you encountered in designing Force Commander? How will those problems be addressed in Battleground?
TS: Force Commander was a 3D experience that was more tactical in nature than a typical 2D RTS. The art in that game is not nearly as detailed as what players will see in Star Wars Battleground. Star Wars Battleground is based upon a very successful and proven technology, which will enable LucasArts to concentrate on great game design, art, and story.
GS: Is Battleground set in the classic Star Wars universe or in Episode I?
TS: Star Wars Battleground will combine elements from classic Star Wars and Star Wars: Episode I.
GS: When will Battleground be finished?
TS: Star Wars Battleground is expected to release fall 2001.
GS: Thanks, Tom.
For more information about Star Wars Battleground, read our previous article on the game.