Everyone I've talked to has warned me away from Star Wars: the Force Unleashed II, but damn if the wizards at Robot Chicken don't make it incredibly compelling.

If only the game were more like this. I'd play a video game that involved Darth Vader avoiding the Emperor's questions as Starkiller systematically took out major Imperial installations one by one. I wouldn't even care if we never even saw the secret apprentice at all. just have a Stormtrooper pop in every couple of minutes to deliver the bad news.

Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode III - Force Unleashed Sketch [YouTube via TFTS]


Star Wars The Force Unleashed II developer LucasArts has confirmed a "minor adjustment in staffing".

This round of layoffs – first reported by 3Drealms' George Broussard on Twitter - is the second to hit the troubled studio since September.

According to Broussard, who has been right about similar matters in the past, the Lucasarts layoffs "come from a team working on an unannounced game".

But the company insisted it remains "committed" to making videogames.

"LucasArts recently made a minor adjustment in staffing to help us better address the needs of the business," LucasArts said in a statement.

"We remain committed to our internal studio - and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners - in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans."

Overnight we learnt that Star Wars The Force Unleashed II was North America's fifth best-selling game for October.

Haden Blackman, the man who created The Force Unleashed, walked away from the developer before the sequel's launch.

Blackman's departure from LucasArts raised a lot of questions. First there were reports of follow-on game The Force Unleashed III being scrapped (although that's now back on), then the PSP version of The Force Unleashed II was binned. And after that, Blackman left. The general consensus was that things weren't right at LucasArts HQ.

The LucasArts layoffs come after Activision confirmed the closure of Guitar Hero co-developer Budcat Creations and the potential sale of Blur creator Bizarre Creations.


The first downloadable add-on for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is set on the forest moon of Endor and sees players kill perhaps the cutest aliens ever conceived: the Ewoks.

It's set during the time of classic film The Return of the Jedi, but presents a "what if?" scenario, according to IGN. It's all part of the "infinite universe", see.

The Endor Bonus Mission, as it's called, adds new Achievements and Trophies. "One of the team's favourite is the 'Sith Kicker Achievement' but I'll let you figure that one out for yourselves," executive producer Gio Corsi said.

It's of comparable length to the add-ons from the first game, such as the Hoth Bonus Mission. Starkiller will have the same abilities as he did in TFUII, so he's incredibly powerful from the start – but the DLC assumes players picked the Dark Side ending. Boo hiss etc.

The Endor Bonus Mission will be released "later this year". No price was mentioned.

The Force Unleashed II launched last month. John Teti awarded it 5/10 for Eurogamer. C-3PO plays it in the Currys/PC World telly advert.



Strike Ewoks Down With All Of Your Hatred In The Force Unleashed II Add-onGood. Goooood. I can feel three decades worth of your Ewok anger. Take your copy of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and electrocute those Endor teddy bears and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

LucasArts may be making up for the so-so Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II by sending series star Starkiller to the moons of Endor, according to a report from IGN, one that sees the super-Jedi heading to the memorable forest world from Return of the Jedi. It certainly can't be more disappointing than Starkiller's brief trip to Dagobah.

The Endor bonus mission pack will come to The Force Unleashed II sometime later this year, a Dark Side adventure that's sure to reek of burning Ewok fur.

Starkiller's Adventure Continues in Force Unleashed 2 DLC [IGN]


Update: UKIE has released sales figures for the top 10 games. These show that leader Fable III sold 128,895 copies since launch on Friday - 6000 more than Fable II managed.

That makes Fable III the 13th biggest Xbox 360 launch ever. Halo: Reach, remember, is the largest.

Fable III also represents Microsoft's third Xbox 360 exlcusive UK all-formats number one this year.

Sales for the rest of the top 10 are as follows:

  1. Fable III - 128,895
  2. FIFA 11 - 75,703
  3. Fallout: New Vegas - 69,613
  4. Just Dance 2 - 58,375
  5. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II - 56,054
  6. Medal of Honor - 48,650
  7. WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2011 - 47,785
  8. Professor Layton and the Lost Future - 45,470
  9. The Sims 3 - 28,624
  10. PES 2011 - 26,732

Original story:
Fable III is the new leader of the UK all-formats chart.

The Xbox 360 exclusive beat off challenges from fellow newcomers Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (fifth), WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 (seventh) and The Sims 3 on console (ninth).

Harmonix's fantastic Rock Band 3 spent a first week in 26th, with a significant 61 per cent of sales made on Xbox 360. The Sims 3 PC expansion Late Night arrived in 15th.

FIFA 11 held strong to take second, last week's leader Fallout: New Vegas was third and Just Dance 2 was fourth.

Medal of Honor occupied sixth, Professor Layton and the Lost Future seventh and PES 2011 rounded the chart out in 10th.

Rock Band 3's weak performance this week underscored a flagging music genre. Rival Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock dropped again to 27th, and DJ Hero spent its second week down in 39th.

Vanquish struggled, too - dropping from 12th to 28th after two weeks on sale.

Video: This week's winner: Fable III. EG plays the first 15 minutes.

This Week Last Week Title Platform(s)
1 New entry Fable III Xbox 360
2 3 FIFA 11 DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
3 1 Fallout: New Vegas PC, PS3, Xbox 360
4 5 Just Dance 2 Wii
5 New entry Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II DS, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
2 6 Medal of Honor PC, PS3, Xbox 360
7 New entry WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2011 PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
8 4 Professor Layton and the Lost Future DS
9 New entry (re-entry) The Sims 3 DS, (PC, PS3, Xbox 360
10 9 Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
11 6 Wii Party Wii
12 7 Wii Sports Resort Wii
13 28 New Super Mario Bros. Wii Wii
14 8 F1 2010 PC, PS3, Xbox 360
15 New entry The Sims 3: Late Night PC
16 27 Forza Motorsport 3 Xbox 360
17 17 Red Dead: Redemption PS3, Xbox 360
18 20 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow PS3, Xbox 360
19 11 Halo: Reach Xbox 360
20 16 Wii Fit Plus Wii
21 14 Just Dance Wii
22 10 Dead Rising 2 PC, PS3, Xbox 360
23 15 New Super Mario Bros. DS
24 13 Toy Story 3 PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
25 24 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 DS, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
26 New entry Rock Band 3 DS, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
27 21 Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
28 12 Vanquish PS3, Xbox 360
29 19 Mafia II PC, PS3, Xbox 360
30 33 Mario Kart Wii Wii
31 30 Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii
32 Re-entry UFC 2010: Undisputed PS3, PSP, Xbox 360
33 26 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii
34 31 Enslaved: Odyssey to the West PS3, Xbox 360
35 18 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 PC, PS3, Xbox 360
36 29 Sports Champions PS3
37 New entry The X-Factor PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
38 32 Art Academy DS
39 25 DJ Hero 2 PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
40 22 Mass Effect 2 PC, Xbox 360
Product Release - Valve
Now available in North America and South America, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II! The release date for the rest of the world is to be determined.

With all-new devastating Force powers and the ability to dual-wield lightsabers, Starkiller cuts a swath through deadly new enemies across exciting worlds from the Star Wars films - all in his desperate search for answers to his past.


Say this for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: there is no pull-the-Star-Destroyer-out-of-the-sky moment. The original game got a bum rap because of that Sisyphean boss fight and other missteps like it, not to mention an abundance of small technical glitches. The sequel was supposed to learn from those mistakes. And it does, somewhat.

Sadly, this follow-up fails to learn from the things that made its predecessor great in spite of the flaws. Star Wars has been called both a space western and a space opera, and in The Force Unleashed, writer/producer Haden Blackman managed to capture both sensibilities in one crackling game. Starkiller was the ultimate gunslinger, riding into town and taking names (even the ones unpronounceable by human tongues). Yet he also played the central part in an epic tale of Wagnerian proportions, one that brought depth to the pre-Luke portion of the Star Wars timeline – more so than George Lucas' prequels did.

The Force Unleashed II maintains some of the crazy cowboy mentality. It's still fun to wade into a posse of stormtroopers and unleash every Force stunt in Starkiller's repertoire: slamming the bad guys against the wall, flinging them into oblivion, stunning them with lightning, and of course, decapitation-by-lightsaber. The game is at its best in prosaic moments, when the screen isn't filled with some titanic mega-boss but rather with an array of smaller challenges to dispatch one by one.

The epic scale is gone, though, at least in terms of storytelling. The game zips from beginning to end with practically no fanfare – the second act, such as it is, consists of a five-minute trip to Dagobah. (Allows for the obligatory backward-talking Yoda monologue, it does.) The Force Unleashed II is about half as long as the original, but it's not that the game is short – I'll take a crisp, energetic five hours over a 20-hour slog – the trouble is that not much takes place in that time. Dude escapes Empire, dude retrieves Jedi master, dude fights Empire. Fin.

The central conflict is supposed to be the mystery of whether this Starkiller is the authentic article or just one of many clones that Vader brewed up in his backyard lab. Yet the game minces about this question without advancing toward a meaningful answer, like it's bored with its own premise. Starkiller yells "You lie!" at Vader once or twice or a thousand times, and that's about it.

As far as combat is concerned, while there's nothing that approaches the tedium of the Star Destroyer fight, the handful of boss showdowns don't exactly sparkle with excitement. The Force Unleashed II subscribes to the notion that boss fights need only to be long and noisy.

There is no cleverness required, or even allowed, to battle these monsters. A relentless series of tips pops up on screen throughout the game to guide you to the next step, lest you figure it out for yourself. Likewise, General Kota, the world's bitchiest Jedi Master, is on the comm channel to coach you at every turn. When this ill-tempered lout repeatedly screeches, "You have to deactivate the shield!" over a crackly radio connection, I can't help but think, hey, the Dark Side seems mighty nice this time of year.

Combat against the lesser foes is more entertaining, even though the selection of enemies is so skimpy that you'll see most of the game's basic antagonists within the first 20 minutes. There's the usual array of stormtroopers, of course. As mentioned above, screwing with these guys is so much fun it should be an Olympic sport.

Aside from those drones (which come in regular and somewhat-smarter-than-regular varieties), The Force Unleashed II has just a handful of basic tricks up its sleeve. There are the bad guys who are immune to your lightsaber, and the bad guys who are immune to everything but your lightsaber. Toward the end of the story, the game starts tossing these two out side-by-side. Enjoyment does not ensue. I understand the fast-paced chess match that the designers were trying to set up, but here it simply plays out as bland frustration. It's a clumsy tactical element that takes the most satisfying thing about The Force Unleashed – dancing on the edge of berserk with crazy combinations of powers – and neuters it.

Then you have the huge droids, which you are supposed to whale on until you get the opportunity to slay the beast with a quick-time event. You know quick-time events; they're those moments where the game flashes an "X" on the screen, and you get a mini-cut-scene as a "reward" if you press X in time. The Force Unleashed II is packed with 'em. Is this the best that the medium can do? The game tells us which button to push, and then we push that button? Star Wars deserves better than this tired old crutch.

One of the promises made by the developers was that they would improve the all-important 'Force Grip' controls used to manoeuvre impossibly large objects in mid-air. This seems like a strange claim now, as I perceived minimal change in the Force Grip part of the game. That's fine with me, as I never had much of a problem with it in the first place. It had a bit of a learning curve, but once it was in my fingers, there was no end to the thrill of grabbing enormous chunks of the scenery and flinging them around.

If anything, Force Grip is a tad worse in The Force Unleashed II. To the developers' credit, once you toss an object, it does seem to home in on enemies a bit more reliably than in the first game; the hard part is picking something up in the first place. The Force Grip targeting flickers all over the screen with no apparent rhyme or reason, so it can be maddeningly difficult just to make Starkiller grab the crate that's sitting right in front of him.

More problematic is the game's use of space. The Force Unleashed gave players wide-open spaces where they had plenty of room to manipulate objects in three dimensions. Too much of the sequel takes place in relatively cramped corridors, such that using Force Grip is a clumsy affair, like working your recliner sofa through a narrow doorway.

On one seemingly airy level, The Force Unleashed II even commits that most egregious sin of level design: invisible walls and ceilings. I found myself wondering, why can't I rocket that stormtrooper into the great beyond? The answer was: because the developers said so, that's why.

It's hard to imagine a game that squanders its opportunities more than this one. The Force Unleashed was not just a very good game; it also had plenty of room for improvement. That translates into a rare chance to make something phenomenal. This sequel should have been like Mass Effect 2: a triumphant success that makes good on the original vision.

Instead, we get a game that feels like it was created out of obligation rather than inspiration. The Force Unleashed was Haden Blackman's baby, yet he left LucasArts a couple months before the sequel was released. In retrospect, that may have been a sign of trouble. The game industry's obfuscating wall of public relations minders and non-disclosure agreements will keep us from knowing the story behind The Force Unleashed II for a long time, but the final product certainly has the whiff of a creative process gone awry.

Whatever went down behind the scenes, the result is a game that sometimes resembles a flavorless tech demo for The Force Unleashed – not a worthy successor. While there are certainly pleasures to be had in The Force Unleashed II, they come off as the dregs of a concept that has run its course. The series was bound to exhaust itself someday, but the fact that it happened this early is a brutal disappointment.



Haden Blackman, the man who created and then walked away from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, has made himself a new home: Fearless Studio.

And he made it not because of "dissatisfaction" with employer of 15 years LucasArts, but because he wanted to make his own Star Wars.

"My father has only given me a handful of advice in my lifetime. One when I took the LucasArts job was, 'Make sure you don't ever give up writing your own stuff or designing your own games.' It's because he knew that at the end of the day I don't ultimately control the destiny of where Star Wars goes, and I want something that I have more control over - and beyond that, to be able to try my hand at something new," Blackman explained to Gamasutra.

"I really want to build big, story-driven action games," he added. "And I'm a big horror buff; I would love to do a horror game. That's kind of where our head-space is at right there."

"The reason we left wasn't dissatisfaction with LucasArts or the changes that happened there recently."

Blackman's departure from LucasArts raised a lot of questions. First there were reports of follow-on game The Force Unleashed III being scrapped (although that's now back on), then the PSP version of The Force Unleashed II was binned. And after that, Blackman left. The general consensus was that things weren't right at LucasArts HQ.

So, Haden Blackman's new comments contradict those murmurings of internal strife at George Lucas' quiff palace. Or do they? Even his jovial chat with Gamasutra talks about how he and business partner Cedrick Collomb are hoping to establish "an environment where you're not micromanaged".

"I believe very strongly that I've done my best work when I've had a sense of autonomy - when I felt like I was making decisions on my own and had an opportunity to master my craft," Blackman expanded. "[And] in an organization where I had a sense of purpose, where I was working on something that I felt was bigger than just me."

Blackman and Collomb (sounds like Gollum) are aiming at hiring roughly 50 people to make what will probably be "a big console title".

Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II - a game Blackman had time to finish before he walked - approaches a 29th October release. There's a demo out now on PS3 and Xbox 360. The game's also in development for DS, PC and Wii.

Video: We Kenobe the hero.

Announcement - Valve
Enjoy huge savings all week on LucasArts titles! You will find a new title for sale each day this week. Monday's deal is 75% off of Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition.

The Star Wars Collection will be 50% off all week: September 12th - 19th.


Yes, Yes, We Know What You're Going to Say NextMaurice Lamarche is Mr. Freeze in Arkham Asylum 2, but he played The Riddler with MTV News, outing a special guest in Star Wars: STFU 2. When his agent got him the gig, I hope he said IT'S A PART!

Said Maurice to MTV:

I'll just say that I have been paid to say the words 'May the Force be with you.' That's all I'll say. I'll just add that I won't be ordering any calamari anytime soon. It's given me a new respect for calamari, if you know what I'm saying. It's not a trap. This adventure takes place a long time before the trap.

Good heavens, to what character might Lamarche be referring?!

MTV Multiplayer speculated that we might "be getting a look at a much younger Ackbar, serving in the early days of the Rebellion." Maybe, but if X-Wing is canon - and it did not take place much later than the events of The Force Unleaded - I don't think he'll look or sound that much different.

Admiral Ackbar To Appear In 'Force Unleashed 2'? [MTV Multiplayer]


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