By now you've probably heard the news: Red Fly Studio, a video game developer based in Austin, TX, recently announced that they want to pitch a version of a Darth Maul game to Star Wars games license holder EA. Back in 2014, footage of canceled game Battle of the Sith Lords hit the web. Fans were openly disappointed that the development of the action-stealth game was halted by Disney's buyout of Lucasfilm, and it looks like Red Fly noticed. In a recent AMA, Red Fly CEO Dan Borth said of the once doomed game:
"We are currently working on a full next gen demo of all things Maul to show to the powers that be. It's been a lot of work on our off time."
The game, which reportedly would have followed Maul from a young age to just before The Phantom Menace, was in development all the way back in 2010. Red Fly used their experience gained from working on the Wii version of The Force Unleashed II to create a game inspired by the popular Batman Arkham series. However with EA focusing solely on the Original Trilogy and the upcoming Episode VII for Star Wars: Battlefront, games centered around/before the prequels don't seem too appealing. One commenter pointed this out and asked if Red Fly would consider reskinning the game to shift focus to the Original Trilogy. Borth's response was:
That's a fair point. I don't know what are chances are realistically. I would say this helps them if there were any. Hopefully EA will see the value in us reskinning our combat mechanic to be more in line with what they are thinking for Star Wars if they are not interested in maul.
So here we are: Red Fly has a game they want to pitch, EA has the Star Wars games license. The way I see it, there are three ways for the game to go forward.
1. Battle of the Sith Lords is reskinned as The Force Unleashed III
This is the least likely outcome for the game if it moved forward. The reason I mention it is because Red Fly worked on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and they possess the experience needed to make a sequel. However, the cons far outweigh the pros: as stated before, marketing for Star Wars is (so far) steering clear of events before the Original Trilogy, and the performance of the second "Force Unleashed" game doesn't at all merit a sequel due to its less than stellar earnings and reception. Chances are we won't be seeing Starkiller return to our consoles anytime soon.
2. Battle of the Sith Lords goes ahead as originally planned
The possibility of the game continuing along its originally intended path deals with the same major con as the first option: current marketing for Star Wars is sticking tight to Episodes IV, V, VI, and VII. On the other hand, if the game were to stick to its origins, it would save a decent bit of time and work: little to no story changes would need to be made, game mechanics are already polished, and the positive response from fans seeing the original footage is encouraging. It's not much to go up against the marketing machine, and it's definitely understandable that Disney, Lucasfilm and EA would want to keep moving forward with the Star Wars universe, but it stands more of a chance than a Force Unleashed sequel.
3. Battle of the Sith Lords could be reskinned to a cinematic Sith
While this option is the most likely and logical with the Star Wars marketing machine in mind, it's far from solid. Vader (and Kylo Ren, as far as we know) don't move with the agility and ferocity of Maul. New story would have to be written and the game would need a visual overhaul to accommodate a new protagonist. However it does give EA a platform to build a game on instead of starting from scratch, and it could easily be reworked to fit with the current focus of Original and New Trilogy canon. It's not perfect, but it may be our best shot.
What do you think of Red Fly's announcement of their attempt to resurrect Battle of the Sith Lords? Would you like to see the game brought to completion and play as Darth Maul? Sound off in the comments, and thanks for reading!