If you were to rank the video game companies who have developed Star Wars games over the years on a quality spectrum, then you would find Factor 5 right up there with BioWare and Totally Games as the best of the bunch. The now-defunct team’s Rogue Squadron games pushed the graphical limits of what their respective consoles were able to achieve, not to mention they were all an absolute blast to play and a monstrous challenge to master.
Former Factor 5 president Julian Eggebrecht had a sit down chat with IGN‘s Nintendo Voice Chat podcast and described plans they had for the series that sadly never came to be, including an entirely new game and a trilogy bundle on the Wii.
The bundle, called Rogue Squadron Trilogy, was originally set for release exclusively on the original Xbox, but its mechanics were reworked to fit the Wii’s motion control set. Eggebrecht states that it took full advantage of the Wii Wheel, the Wii Balance Board, and the Wii Motion Plus for full on lightsaber fights. Most impressively though, he claims they got it running at 60FPS and says it would have been the most technically impressive game on the console.
As for the original game, Rogue Squadron: X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, it was a multiplayer focused game destined for the Xbox 360, but it got lost in internal conflicts within LucasArts. Eggebrecht claims that it was 50 percent by this point.
The rest is well known history. Sony brought in Factor 5 to be one of the iconic studios to show off the impressive power of the PlayStation 3 and more specifically, the Sixaxis controller’s exceptional motion controls… Sony was not interested in another Rogue Squadron game, and Factor 5 was put to work on Lair, an aerial combat game similar to the Rogue Squadron series but starring dragons rather than X-Wings.
The game tanked hard, and the lashings it received from the gaming critics even forced Factor 5 to send out pamphlets on how to “properly” review the game. Eggebrecht admits this game was a “pretty big mistake” given its launch title ambitions and the PlayStation 3’s difficult architecture.
Factor 5 finished out its contract with Sony, jumping back to the Wii for development, but its self-funded open-world Superman game, a cancelled Pilotwings-esque game called Wii Fly, and the two Rogue Squadron games all went unreleased. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
It’s a shame too, because the Rogue Squadron games were top of the of the line Star Wars games with only TIE-Fighter and Knights of the Old Republic really beating them out on the all-time lists. That Wii bundle sounds amazing, and even strong critics of motion controls, like myself, would have problems saying no to it.