Exclusive: LucasArts Discusses Clone Wars Republic Heroes

LucasFilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon is entering its second season this fall with support from a burgeoning Hasbro action figure line; the first season becoming available in its entirety on Blu-ray Disc and DVD; and LucasArts’ Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, the first video game designed to replicate reenacting the show’s action coming next month to Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, and Games for Windows.

To help shed some like on Republic Heroes, we’ve enlisted Cris “Soup” Lee, Assistant Producer on Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, to answer some questions. Want to know where to find an awesome Indiana Jones reference in the game? Or if AT-TE’s will get to partake in any rock climbing exercises? Read on to find out.

When did development on The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes commence and how did the game’s structure come about? An action-shooter for The Clone Wars seemed like a perfect match from when the film was first released last August.

CL: Development began as the first season was underway, and that was the focus from the initial conception of ‘Republic Heroes.’ We wanted to give fans the ability to jump right into a new episode of the Clone Wars and get to play as those heroes; be it Jedi OR clone.

I have found the Clone Wars series strikes a delicate balance of appeasing children with humor and adults with relatively violent combat (the image of the Clone being held by a Super Battle Droid and blasted in the chest from the film comes to mind). Was this taken into consideration when crafting the game’s story, i.e. the lighter and darker moments of the Clone Wars universe?

CL: Absolutely, it’s been a highly collaborative effort between LucasArts, Lucasfilm Animation and our partners at Krome Studios. From sharing one of the script writers of the series, show assets and the voice talent we kept everything as close to the series itself because we really wanted to make this an authentic Clone Wars experience for both the fans of the show and gamers of all ages.

In the game’s announcement it is mentioned the campaign will focus on chasing Cad Bane and fighting a new super villain, Kul Teska. Is this new villain someone who will appear in season two of The Clone Wars show or was he created specifically for the game?

CL: While Cad Bane manages to get himself tangled up in the story, Kul was created specifically for the game. We wanted a character that both fans and players could love as well as hate, and since he’s new to the universe, it’s that mystery which drives the interest in finding out more about this guy and how he’s involved with the story and the series. With General Grievous and Count Dooku, we already know so much about them, with characters like Cad and Kul we have this new territory to really flesh out these characters with the game and TV show to make them as iconic as those in the saga.

What can you tell us about Kul Teska?

CL: Kul once was one of the most brilliant scientific minds of the Techno Union until a pressure suit accident left his body irreparably damaged. Shamed by his disfiguration, he left the public eye to concentrate on his own personal experiments. Using his highly advanced knowledge in cybernetics, he was able to rebuild his pressure suit into an arsenal of destruction and deal retribution on those who had shunned him. His reputation as a ruthless villain has since rivaled the likes of Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, and even the Confederacy’s own Asajj Ventress. His most recent research in the field of gravity bomb technology, has captured the attention of Count Dooku. (click the image of Kul Teska to enlarge)

Was the same voice talent used for the game and the television show?

CL: Yep!

Has any of the “tech” that went into making The Force Unleashed Jedi powers so unique been ported into Republic Heroes when playing as Jedi Knights? Or will Jedi combat be strictly lightsaber-based for a more simplified hack-and-slash approach?

CL: As seen on the show the Jedi are very acrobatic, they rely on their use of the force as well as their signature lightsaber combat. We’ve made sure that the accessibility of the controls will allow players of any skill be able to pull of some really cool combos with their favorite Jedi. In addition the Jedi also have the ability to Droid-Jak, meaning the Jedi can jump on top of any droid in the game and use them to their advantage whether it be to solve puzzles or use them as a weapon of mass destruction!

Will cooperative play makes its way into the game? A human-controlled Clone and Jedi fighting side-by-side would be an intriguing experiment.

CL: Like the show, the Jedi and Clones are constantly working together so that ‘co-op element’ is a big part of the game. Dad’s who grew up with the saga and kids who love the series are watching the show together, so we wanted to provide that same experience in the game. At any point in the game, a second player can pick up a controller and jump right in and play. The levels are structured to be either Jedi or clone trooper focused, so you won’t have a player controlled Jedi or clone playing at the same time. But, we’re really confident that the co-op aspect of two Jedi fighting together and two clone troopers as part of a squad will really resonate with players.

In the announcement you mentioned rocket launchers, thermal detonators and jet packs. How many different types of Clone weapons and vehicles can we look forward to in total? Clone Commanders have unique designs compared to their troops. Are these Commanders, and other distinct clones, a part of classes with unique abilities and weapons use?

CL: From grenades to mini-guns the clones have an arsenal at their disposal… if it’s on the show, it’s in the game! All of your favorite Clone Commanders are in the game, including 4 brand new troopers we’re introducing for the first time in ‘Republic Heroes.’ Captain Rex has his signature dual pistols so you’ll be able to dual wield them in the game.

Will Juggernauts and AT-TE Walkers factor into gameplay?

CL: You can’t forget those iconic moments of watching the AT-TE’s vertically scale cliffsides in the show, so in turn you’ll also get to experience that in gameplay.

Aside from Mace Windu, Anakin, Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka Tano, what other playable Jedi might we look forward to?

CL: Yep, don’t forget the other Jedi ladies of the Clone Wars: Aayla Secura, and Luminar Unduli, they’re in the game and playable.

Can you let us in on any cameos from the television show that might make an appearance in the game? Nahdar Vebb, perhaps?

CL: The storyline bridges the gap between the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. Fans of the show will know (Spoiler Warning) that Nahdar met his fate at the hands of Grievous in the first Season and prior to our story(End Spoiler), but with the inclusion of unlockables like hats and masks you can customize your Jedi or Clone with a Mon Calamari mask if you want.

Was an online mode ever considered for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions where you could play as gunslinger bounty hunter Cad Bane rather than against him?

CL: Cad Bane is actually a playable character in the game. I won’t spoil his relationship to the storyline, but fans of the show will be happy to finally get their hands on this popular character.

Lastly, can you share any of the stranger or cooler Trophies and Xbox 360 Achievements built into Republic Heroes?

CL: There’s tons of collectibles, customization, and upgrades in ‘Republic Heroes.’ Play through all the Clone missions as Cad Bane nets you the “Nobody messes with Cad Bane” Trophy/Achievement. My personal favorite is equipping the Indiana Jones Fedora on Rex, or collecting enough artifacts to get the Vader mask and equipping it on Ahsoka.

A special thanks go out to the kind folks at LucasArts for working with us on this feature.

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