Cancelled Darth Maul game started out as a Nintendo exclusive - Nintendo Everything

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Cancelled Darth Maul game started out as a Nintendo exclusive

Posted on April 12, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, General Nintendo, News, Wii, Wii U

Some time after the release of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Nintendo and LucasArts were discussing the possibility of creating a new intellectual property for Wii, 3DS, or Wii U. Game Informer reports in its latest issue that the negotiations led to a Darth Maul game.

Red Fly began handling prototype work in 2010 under the code name “Damage”. Ultimately, the project became a multiplatform release and shifted development to the Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC “due largely to Nintendo not meeting financial demands to make it a first-party project.”

As for the game itself, Red Fly’s original idea was to create a title that would explore the origin story of Maul’s transformation into a Sith Lord. A number of ideas were considered such as creating a title focusing on stealth and action. George Lucas also stepped in at one point and changed the project’s direction, resulting in a story that would have Darth Maul and Darth Talon facing off against Darth Krayt and his Sith army.

Several prototypes later, LucasArts felt that Red Fly was in a position to create the project. LucasArts also considered the possibility of purchasing the studio.

Sadly, in June 2011, LucasArts ceased its communications for unspecified reasons and eventually sent out a letter stating that the game had been terminated. Red Fly Studios did manage to continue on despite Darth Maul’s cancellation and lack of funding, though the team did end up having to lay off about 70 percent of its staffers.

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  • sonicfan1373

    Nintendo is a very financially conservative company which can be a good thing but also a very bad thing (in this case I think it is bad because this game could have gotten a good following as a Nintendo platform exclusive due to IP it is based on).
    Of course I am not at all surprised by this announcement, because this industry is very high risk and many games that go into development (some of which reach late stages of development) are cancelled. Furthermore, LucasArts was acquired by Disney a year after the termination of this project which makes me believe that there was probably also a business reason for why communication ended and the game got cancelled.

    • D2K

      You would think that Nintendo would have done more to hold onto this. It’s not like they haven’t done it before. Bayonetta 2 comes to mind. This probably would have been the only chance of having a true Star Wars game on the Wii U. Now who knows when of IF that will happen?

      • sonicfan1373

        Seeing how Star Wars IP is in EA’s hand right now the chances of seeing a Star Wars game on Wii U are unfortunately extremely slim (the only way I see it happening is if Disney forces them to do a release that also targets Nintendo consoles).
        Nintendo of Japan seems to be more open to funding third-party exclusives in Japan which is why we got games like Bayonetta 2, Wonderful 101, Sonic Lost World, etc. Nintendo of America, and Nintendo of Europe fund far fewer exclusives; in fact, the only recent Western exclusives I can think of from these divisions is Lego City. I do not know if Nintendo of Japan is blocking funding or if these divisions simply have to allocate their resources to other things but something prevents them from being able fund exclusives.

        • D2K

          Speaking of partnerships, one with Disney is definite one that Nintendo needs to cultivate.

          • sonicfan1373

            Completely agree. Nintendo of Japan already has a partnership with Disney which is why we got the Disney Magical World game and the 3DS XL design to accompany it. However, a deeper relationship would benefit both parties. Disney can let Nintendo make use of some of its IPs and replace functions of Disney’s largely stale Disney Interactive division (which now only focuses on Disney Infinity) in order to make games, and Disney can make movies and cartoons based on Nintendo characters which will help get these characters even more exposure especially amongst younger audiences. Iwata stated that they were doing more partnerships and IP licensing so I hope that Disney is apart of his plans.

    • Aiddon

      though the IP would probably also mean that a lot of control over it wouldn’t be in Nintendo’s hands. Nintendo wants PARTNERSHIPS with companies, not to be some nanny who funds projects for spoiled brats who need their hands held.

      • D2K

        Um, funding a project IS a partnership. You think Nintendo just sent a check to Sega and said, “Here. Go make us a Sonic game,” or to Platinum Games and said “Here. Go make Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U exclusive.” It doesn’t work that way.

      • sonicfan1373

        Making blockbuster video games are an extremely risky business, especially in more recent times where development costs are increasing and the audience is not wiling to pay more money. In many cases exclusives are an even riskier proposition, which is why funding from the platform developer is really essential to get these games going. Both Sony and MS pay to get exclusives as does Nintendo in Japan, it is just how the industry works and in more recent times it is the only way you can get exclusives on your system. Also, unlike multiplatform releases, both parties benefit from exclusivity agreement (so long as it is done with the correct IP). The platform maker (ie Nintendo, Sony, MS) would get more support not found on other platforms which helps draw customers, and the dev will have the ability to develop port with less of financial risk and the ability to focus its efforts on a single system; this is the basic foundation of mutual partnership.

        • D2K

          Exactly. All the hard work and money spent is not translating into profit for anybody right now. It’s not just a problem with 3rd parties, it’s a problem with Nintendo Sony, and Microsoft as well. The old model of doing things just doesn’t work anymore. The climate has changed drastically. Which ever company adapts the best, the fastest will be the most successful.

        • Aiddon

          Then don’t waste so much damn money. If you have rendered yourself unable to cover the costs of your business then that’s on YOUR head. Why the HELL should the platform makers give those idiots the gaming equivalent of a government bailout? Seems to me like game makers are unwilling to compromise with reality and keep crying to mama whenever something bad happens. No, Nintendo is not their nanny. They should not waste their assets on idiots who can’t handle their OWN problems.

          • D2K

            Yeah, because clearly Nintendo can handle THEIR own prob………er wait. 3-consecutive years operating in the red going on four. It’s that the business model companies should follow? By your stance Nintendo also are “idiots” and are “wasting money.” You are also calling Saturo Iwata a liar. Just so you know…..

    • ShilaquilOneal

      “Nintendo is a very financially conservative company which can be a very
      good thing but also a very bad thing. In this case I think it is bad
      because this game could have gotten a good following as a Nintendo
      platform exclusive due to IP it is based on.”

      And yet…

      “Furthermore, LucasArts was acquired by Disney a year after the
      termination of this project which makes me believe that there was
      probably also a business reason, beyond publishing risks, for why
      communication ended and the game got cancelled.”

      So basically, Nintendo dodged a bullet.

      Which is not bad at all.

  • Melatelo

    …well this is depressing :/

  • Adam Elbahtimy

    I like that Nintendo was expected to pay up to keep it exclusive. That’s like a ransom.

    • D2K

      Well, for what advantage is there for a developer if they do not? That’s been the catch-22 for the Wii U all along. Nintendo won’t pony up for more exclusives or help out with advertising costs so that dumps all the financial burden on the publisher which is why 3rd parties opt to go with Microsoft and Sony. There they have a much larger install base and the promise that their game will be well marketed. Even if the game doesn’t do well, the financial hit is far less severe. Companies that have made bombs on the Wii U have taken HUGE losses which is why most companies are one and done with the Wii U.

      Granted some of those companies are their own worst enemy with putting shoddy, unoptimized ports, but still the core problem remains.

      Either plus or minus Iwata, if Nintendo wants to salvage the Wii U they are going to have to figure something out with the 3rd party situation and fast.

      • Adam Elbahtimy

        Well, I think I’d rather play games that were developed with the platform in mind from people who came to the platform with interest, not looking for a blank check. Nintendo is a company that’s built their business around striving for fun and financial integrity, and I doubt they plan on simply having to buy the allegiance of these mercenary companies.

        • D2K

          Artistic license doesn’t pay the light bill. Simple as that. These companies don’t have 18 billion dollars cash to sit on. They MUST turn a profit on their games and if the send all of their money on advertising and development and it fails, what are they supposed to do?

          And before anyone goes there let me remind you that even NINTENDO is putting out games that fall well short of development cost in term of returns. Just look at Wonderful:101, Pikmin 3, Sonic Lost World, Wii Fit U, Lego City Undercover, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Mario and Sonic: Sochi Olympics all have sold LESS than one million copies. The only games the Wii U have that have sold over 1 million are New Super Mario Bros U, NintendoLand, Wii Party U, Super Mario 3D World, and New Super Luigi U (keep in mind that with NSMBU, NL, and NSLU the inflation of being pack-in games.)

          Investors can care less about what you or I “like” when it is costing them millions of dollars in operating losses. I’m not gonna rehas thing again because anyone defending Nintendo’s business practices at this point just sees what they want to see. The investors say it is bad, the press say it is bad, the analysts say ti is bad, the gaming community says it is bad, even the boss HIMSELF say it is bad. It was IWATA that said that Nintendo NEEDS to look into mergers and acquisitions. It was IWATA that said HIMSELF that Nintendo needs to rent out their brand not only to 3rd parties but in the general consumer marketplace as well. It was IWATA who said HIMSELF that Nintendo needs to make games the cater to the West. And he also said that the first step in any mergers and acquisitions would be to reacquire all Nintendo stock and as we know Nintendo purchased all the stock back from the Yamauchi family. So that tells me that he may be serious.

          So the excuses for Nintendo died back at the investors meeting in January. We’ve on from that and are in the phase of making changes for the better.

          • Aiddon

            maybe if these idiots managed their money better they wouldn’t have to be so worried over paying the light bill. You’re telling me these companies, a lot of which are worth hundreds of millions if not BILLIONS of dollars, need constant handouts from the hardware makers? To me that really sounds like what needs to happen is Natural Selection; the incompetent and the worthless need to die out and be replaced.

          • D2K

            There is no video game publisher worth hundreds of billions of dollars for starters. Next, the further technology increases, the more expensive it is to develop games. More money for the technology, more money for the manpower, more money for the resources. Even if you game is perfect, you still have to advertise it. That costs money. Even if the games is rated 9 out of 10 on all gaming sites, if people aren’t buying it, you don’t make money. i.e. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The gave has had rave reviews and yet it has only sold 450,000……………..

            50,000…………….just let that soak it. Oh, this is NINTENDO by the way. Wii Fit U sold only 260,000. That’s less than Rayman Legends and Zombi U.

            You can’t have you cake and eat it too, It is beyond retard to compare finances of 3rd party publishers some of which are less than a decade old to that of a company that have been around since 1889. You are not that dilapidated.

            The point that that while some 3rd parties are just d-bags and trash the Wii U’s power and other stupid stuff as a ridiculous excuse, the vast majority of companies have legitimate reasons not to bring games to the Wii U until Nintendo is willing to partner up WHICH is what IWATA said Nintendo NEEDS to do and is GOING to do whether YOU like it or not.

          • TalesOfBS

            Nailed it.

            “E.T.” needs to happen again.

          • D2K

            And if it doesn’t, then what?

          • TalesOfBS

            Then the bad games/good graphics trend will continue forever.

          • D2K

            Companies don’t have a choice but to do that if they want to make AAA titles. Why do you think so many companies are investing more in mobile games than console games? It’s because they can make mobiles games for next to nothing and make profit from the get go. If the game doesn’t sell then the loss is minimal. However that is still not a sure thing to develop the next Angry Birds or Candy Crush. There are thousands of indie games out there that no one knows anything about because after awhile it becomes white noise. ALso, you can be 100% responsible with your money, not be losing any money at all, and be operating in the black, but if you are in that state chances are it is because you have made a lot of good financial decisions and at the right times. That being said why would you chose to LOSE money develop for a console that.

            1. Is more difficult to develop for than 4 other consoles available on the market.

            2. Costs more to develop for.

            3. The vast majority of casuals don’t know that it exists and/or think it is some type of peripheral for the Wii.

            4. The vast majority of people hat do know about it don’t want it.

            5. Has 6 million install base compared to 7 million PS4, 4.9 XBOX One, 82 million PS3, and 81 million XBOX 360.

            Replace what YOU want with what makes sense from a business standpoint. If a company can afford to invest in the Wii U they will. That’s why some developers have said “we’ll come back to the Wii U later on.” Probably because they want to see if their game does well and if it does then they would have the time and MONEY to develop a QUALITY title for the Wii U instead of just porting over unoptimized trash.

            Most companies whether they are rolling in it or just hanging on, it doesn’t makes good financial sense right now to develop for the Wii U. Nintendo has not shown ANYTHING revolutionary with the GamePad to entice developers into wanted to try something different with it. I mean, if Nintendo isn’t excited about their own product, why should anyone else be? They treat it like a red-haired stepchild compared to the 3DS. With each passing day it feels like Nintendo never really even wanted to make this console. It’s almost like Nintendo is saying, ” *sigh* FINE, HERE. You got your HD system. OKAY?!!? ALRIGHT!!?!? Leave us alone.”

            I’m also not exactly sure where people think these companies have all this money. There is no option to make a ‘cheap’ AAA title. Not for 3rd parties or 1st party.

            As people conveniently seem to ignore, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft also are losing their tails in game sales. Profit is not plentiful in the gaming industry today which is why Sony is 2 paychecks away from going under, top-brass want the new CEO of Microsoft to can the XBOX division or sell it off, and after 3 consecutive operating losses investors are finally ready to show Iwata the door unless he bring it at E3.

            Bruce Lee put it this way….

            Trying to force a square-peg into a round hole isn’t going to work. You must adapt to the current climate. You can’t do things the same way you did 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Console manufacturers and publishers need each other to survive or the crash WILL COME. I’ve always said that Nintendo needs to BUY 3rd parties and make them 2nd party studios. It’s obvious that the drought between 1st party games are going to be a permanent fixture for all three consoles. Yes, the Wii U has a ton of indie support, but Sony has 3X that amount. If Nintendo isn’t going to help 3rd parties and making developing for the Wii U more financially advantageous for them, then the need to buy them outright so that they always have games being worked on to minimize droughts.

          • TalesOfBS

            Most Nintendo consoles and, especially the handhelds, always gave third parties a good (could even say obscene in the handheld portion) profit for the money they invested on to bring their sh*tty versions of the games, so lets not start it.
            The Wii and DS were especially the best example of this. Most of times the cheap s***ty ports they got usually sold like 3 to 5 times more than their PSP/PS3/X360 counterparts, which is where most of their profits were being invested back, especially on the struggling HD development. We all saw that happening.

        • Aiddon

          INEPT mercenary companies at that. Maybe it’d be worth it if a lot of these guys didn’t repeatedly prove that they’re incapable of handling the vast resources available to them. Seriously, if these guys can’t handle their own finances, why should Nintendo trust them to handle THEIRS? Nintendo chooses its partners wisely. And if you’re not picked by Nintendo it probably means you just weren’t up to snuff.

      • KH

        Yeah, but Nintendo cannot go throwing money around like Sony and Microsoft does, since the last two have way more divisions than there gaming ones, though Sony probably gives some I-O-U, seeing their gigantic debt. If Nintendo had another division, that wasn’t gaming, and that division left some good money, they could go helping and promoting all the 3rd parties they want, but, while they stay as a simple gaming company, they can’t, it simply is way to risky.


        • D2K

          Nintendo is the only company that actually can afford to go throwing money around. Thing is, they don’t need need to do that. They just need to spend SOME money. They don’t give you free cash chips in the stock market. You have to spend money to make money. No, you don’t make unwise decisions, but you need to make SOME decisions. I don’t see why people feel that you have to go from one extreme to another.
          Nintendo isn’t spending ANY money. Not even on their own IPs which is one major reason why no one buys them. Who many commercials for DKC:TF did you see on prime time or period? How many for SM3DW? How many for Wonderful:101? How many for Sonic: Lost World. How many during the Winter Olympics did you see for Mario and Sonic Winter Games?

          The number is probably less than five, possibly zero. However if Nintendo would SPEND MONEY on advertising those games, maybe those games would sell better and more Wii U’s would have been sold. Or maybe if Nintendo formed a partnership with Disney then you could see commercials for Nintendo products during prime-time hours on ABC and ESPN. Imagine how
          many Wii Fit U’s could have sold with that being advertised during sporting events on ESPN or during weekly morning programming when lost of women usually watch TV? That’s being SMART with your money.