Brett's Production Diary #4

The Concept of the Force Unleashed

March 15, 2007

Get an Insider's look at the making of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed every two weeks from Assistant Producer Brett Rector. Formerly editor-in-chief of Star Wars Insider magazine, Brett's been a collector and fan of Star Wars since 1977.

When I last left you I gave a rundown of the germination of the idea for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and that it wasn't our first idea for the game we're now making. But as much as the process is about putting ideas down on paper and brainstorming what we want the experience to be, it's the actual visualization of those ideas that sometimes helps sell the pitch.

Take the first film, Star Wars, for example. As many of you know from watching the documentary Empire of Dreams, George Lucas knew he was going to have a hard time selling the idea of Star Wars without any visual representation. Asking someone to imagine what he was imagining would have been impossible, so George hired Ralph McQuarrie to create concept art to show the executives at Fox the scope of the project he was proposing. Based on McQuarrie's art alone, the studio bought into the concept George was trying pitch. For The Force Unleashed the team needed to convey how they envisioned an amped up version of the Force, and they pretty much took the same path as George to get their message across -- using concept art.

Now, you're probably thinking "Didn't the pre-viz serve that purpose?" Yes it did, as I mentioned in the second diary. But before the team could get buyoff from the executive staff to even create the pre-viz, there needed to be art to help pitch the concept. The first piece that showed the Force unleashed was created by artist Greg Knight, and in it was a depiction of Force Push (to the right). As you can see from the picture, a Jedi is using the amped up power to push a hapless stormtrooper through not one, not two, but three stone columns with incredible velocity -- as if he were hit with a cannonball and blasted backwards. The use of this particular Force power in this way is decidedly different than the use of the power as seen in the movies. The second image, also created by Greg, shows a new Force power created for the game, Force Repulse. This power works similarly to Force Push, but it is more of an area effect that can take out enemies in a radius around the player. As the art illustrates, it is very over the top and very unleashed, which is exactly the intention.

Be here for our next installment as I continue our spotlight on concept art from outstanding artist Amy Beth Christenson.

- Brett Rector    

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