When you look back at the Star Wars prequels many tend to bring up the abominations that were Jar Jar Binks, a screaming Darth Vader and Hayden Christensen's acting. While the prequels are universally panned by fans and critics alike they all can agree that Darth Maul was one of the main highlights, and arguably the only good point, of The Phantom Menace. It would only seem logical for LucasArts to bank on this character considering they just slaughtered their potential money pig, and thus Battle of the Sith Lords was born.
Inception and cancellation
The premise seemed brilliant, having a game detailing Darth Maul's rise to a Sith Lord, and his eventual premature death at the hands of Obi Wan Kenobi... except that was all they had. The games developers Red Fly Studio had no idea what story they were telling. However, LucasArts did tell them that Maul survived the ending of Phantom Menace, but did not tell them about his upcoming appearance in The Clone Wars series. Due to this, Red Fly had no idea what the story was about and began developing the game with the plan having it being action centric and incorporating elements of stealth.
George Lucas then revealed his interest in Darth Maul working with Darth Talon during a meeting with representatives of Red Fly. When Lucas was told that this wouldn't work since Talon lived more than 170 years after Maul, he said it could instead be a descendant or clone of Maul. Red Fly then began working with this idea, and their game's story finally started coming together. The plot would've featured Maul and Talon pitted against Darth Krayt and his Sith army, with a developer of Red Fly saying Maul could strike at the Sith for going against the former Sith Rule of Two.
Despite the project coming together however, LucasArts wouldn't "sign off on any of the big-ticket items that would allow development to truly get underway." The game slowly fell into developmental hell once LucasArts stopped communicating with Red Fly. On June 24th 2011, the game was cancelled.
Dan Borth, of Red Fly Studio, recently held a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), kicking off the discussion by saying his team was "working on resurrecting the Darth Maul game." He then later stated that the Texas-based studio was
"working on a full next-gen demo of all things Maul to show to the powers that be."
While this seems like exciting news there is in fact one big AT-AT sized problem. Electronic Arts.
In 2013, EA and Disney announced an exclusive agreement giving EA publishing rights for all Star Wars game in a multi year deal. If EA and/or Disney are done with Darth Maul altogether, Borth is holding out hope that EA would still
"see the value in us reskinning our combat mechanic to be more in line with what they are thinking for Star Wars."
With EA gearing up for the November 17th release of Battlefront, it is unlikely that we will hear any news about The Battle of the Sith Lords for quite some time.
If all of this wasn't enough to get you interested in a Darth Maul game, Game Informer have some prototype gameplay: