For Star Wars fans, the Clone Wars Adventures Online game will be a fun exploration into the world that they know and love. Based off of the hit TV show, CWA follows the show in real time and is an open, social game that all ages can enjoy. We had a chance to speak with Lead Artist, Matt Higby about the game.
MH: Clone Wars Adventures is a virtual world for kids of all ages, basically for the audience of the Clone Wars TV show. The idea of the game is to have a place where fans of the show go to our website, create a character, sign up for an account and downloading the game is seamless in the background while you’re doing that other stuff, and you can pop into the game and meet up with your friends and play, you can meet up with iconic Clone Wars characters, take part of these really exciting battles, play different mini games, and basically have your very own Clone Wars Adventure.
AE: So this game is parallel to the tv show?
MH:Ya, we are working super close with LucasFilm and have been since the inception(omg great movie) of the project, we met with directors of the show and we’ve shown them the game, they’ve shown us episodes of the show that are coming up. We’re really trying to create a holistic online place, the ultimate destination for fans of the show in the game.
AE: And every time the show spits out another episode or more information, then you get more information making your game go hand in hand with the show, right?
MH: Ya, the thing that is most exciting for me as a game developer about this is we really have a completely, unique opportunity to create a game, online games are obviously continuously updated, we have this unique opportunity to make a continuously updated game based on an IP that’s also producing content. If you look at some games like Lord of the Rings Online, Lord of the Rings was written 80 years ago, there’s not a tremendous amount of new stuff that’s being made. Clone Wars is creating new episodes every week when their seasons are live and we need to be totally in sync with their stuff. If a new space battle occurs in the show, BOOM, we can have that in the game, that day! I mean literally that day we can turn it on so players can have access to it.
AE: So the game never gets old!
MH: Right, and nobody’s ever had that closeness before to a really AAA, huge IP that’s creating new stuff and we have a game that’s based on it. It’s really exciting.
AE: With all of the characters in the game, people are going to want to play them, and they can!
MH: Yeah. That leads pretty well into our wearable system. You’re able to wear basically anything you want. So, Mandalorians were in season two, so cool, I can have this Mandalorian armor. The day that Mandalorians show up, we can say hey hop into the game and see the brand new armor. Whatever new stuff that goes on in the show, we’re able to have it accessible for the fans online. It’s so cool.
AE: It makes you want to keep going back to the site.
MH: Absolutely, it works both ways too, because Clone Wars is a tv show and they have an off season, they skip weeks, so during that down time we’re going to be able to provide new Clone Wars content for fans of the show. So if you really miss hearing about what’s going on with Anakin and Rex and all of them because you can’t watch new episodes because it’s the summer time, we’re going to be continually adding new stuff for the game, so you don’t really have to be like, ‘Oh, it’s summer, so I have to forget about Clone Wars for now’, you can just keep being involved.
AE: (I’m now watching the game being played) So, how’s the game mechanics?
MH: This area here is our basic social hub, this is where you show off your wearables, chat with friends, show off your pets, you can add different attachments to your pet, I just attached a pogo stick so now instead of walking he now bounces on the pogo stick. He can also do many other animations. All of the pet stuff we’re trying to do, we just really want it to be funny. We want humor from the droids, especially when we use the dance card and everyone around will start dancing. If we can make people laugh, that’s exactly our goal.
(When he uses his Party card, every character on the screen busts into the same choreography—Beyonce’s, “Single Ladies”. It’s actually pretty funny.) Kanye West would approve.
So again, it’s all about humor. We really want things to be really fun and we’re taking a super light touch to some of the Clone Wars stuff specifically and working with LucasArts has been really great. They’ve been really open to us exploring things, like we have Han Solo equipment and that’s not really a part of the Clone Wars universe, but we’re just able to explore these things that people are going to be able to enjoy. You could have your Tuscan Raider in a pink palette and they normally don’t wear pink, so it’s pretty open and fun.
AE: It’s nice that you have a little bit of creative liberty.
MH: We want things to be fun and we want our players to be able to express themselves however they want.
In addition to all of the customization that’s available for your character, you can also customize your droid, you’re going to have a house that you can get furniture for, so we have a lot of that personalization and self expression game play and that’s a big filler of our game play.
But we also have our mini game gameplay. There are actually a tremendous number of mini games available to play. They vary from being really full featured 3D games to being sort of smaller 2D puzzley games. This game right here, Star Fighter, is one of our really big, full featured 3D games.
(Matt shows us the mini game. It’s very iconic from Star Wars, with tie fighters flying through space shooting at the enemies. The game shows a real cinematic style of gameplay, really explosive but yet really simple. Since the game is made mostly for kids, the controls are really simple and easy to use. The game is based more on an arcade style. The ship pretty much flies itself, with the exception of being able to do some barrel rolls or dives but basically all you have to do is move it left or right and shoot. You can play the game pretty much solely with the mouse. It’s simple enough for the 6 year olds but there are some complexities in how you pick up the power ups that makes it difficult and challenging for the teenagers. The replay value is high as you can try to top your last high score, and keep searching for power ups and better ratings. There are also challenge modes within the game, like Ace, where you have to kill every single enemy ship. There is also an accuracy bonus challenge. The mini games last about 3-4 minutes per stage and there are about 15 different stages. They are releasing new stages all the time, including all of the challenge modes. So there’s lots of gameplay.)
MH: This is a perfect example of something where if there’s a new battle in the tv show, right away we can make a stage based on it. A new big space battle happens in the Clone Wars show, great, we’ll create a space battle that’s based on it and put it in the game.
AE: How do you get the coding done so quickly?
MH: Well, we already know all of the season three plots, so we’re starting to work on season three content right now that we can release in the same time as the episodes. We’ve been working really close with the LucasArts guys and they’ve been so helpful with getting us all the information that we need.
AE: How far are you from launching the game?
MH: In Fall. We’re really close to approaching our alpha milestone.
AE: And it’s FREE!
MH: Yes, it’s free, web launch and it’s safe. For parents, it’s really important that they feel comfortable letting their kids play the game so we have that socialization area but we have whiteless chat, we actually have a sophisticated back end that keeps track of stuff like characters asking other characters what your phone number they get flagged. CS will look at it and check to see if there is a pattern. We have all kinds of parental controls, disable chat and can set it to where your kids can’t see other people’s chat. All that sort of stuff is really important to us. We really want to create a place where parents can feel good about their kids go to play. It’s a lot of effort and work, but it’s so important.
Clone Wars Adventures is definitely a great game with many fun mini games to keep you busy and challenged and the social aspect is a lot of fun with many customization options that kids (and maybe even adults) will love.
Keep your eyes out for Clone Wars Adventures coming this fall!