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Star Wars Storyteller, Producer Blackman Leaves LucasArts

Longtime LucasArts producer Haden Blackman, a key figure in the writing and production of Star Wars games, is leaving the company after 13 years to "explore new creative challenges."
Longtime LucasArts producer Haden Blackman, a key figure in the writing and production of Star Wars games, is leaving the company after 13 years to "explore new creative challenges." The writer and executive producer of the fan-favorite Force Unleashed series, who's also worked on a number of the developer's Star Wars tie-ins in the past, told consumer site IGN that his resignation was a tough decision, but it's "the best time" to move on. A LucasArts rep told the site that Blackman's departure won't affect the development of upcoming Force Unleashed 2, set to launch this October. Specifically, Blackman had been serving as senior executive producer and franchise director at the studio, which means Force Unleashed 2 was one of multiple projects under his purview. He was also the writer on both installments; Blackman and the rest of the Force Unleashed writers won the second annual video game writing award from the Writers Guild of America for their work. Gamasutra spoke to Blackman recently, and he told us he has been responsible for "a lot" of the script of the next installment. He also spoke passionately about his focus on pushing the boundaries of gaming, and how his goal for the Star Wars games has been less about "the sense of a juvenile power fantasy and more of a sense of empowerment and being on this epic, mythic journey which is very true to Star Wars... we deal with issues of redemption and revenge and identity." He also spoke about the importance of blurring the divide between "casual" and "core" gamers, and said that his focus with the Star Wars games had been more on the over-arching, broadly appealing themes of the Star Wars universe and less about "fan service". Blackman hasn't revealed what his next project will be, but in our earlier conversation, he told us he maintains an interest in cross-media IP, an issue he called his "soapbox": "ln order for us to continue to grow gaming and to create franchises that become really kind of true transmedia franchises that can cross from to games to film and whatnot -- but starting in games, we need to be much more inclusive about the way we design our games," he said. "And whether that is game designs that support multiple play styles, or things like co-op or what some of the MMOs are doing with sidekick systems... but the more we can be inclusive and invite everybody in and not make it feel like it’s a private club, I think the better off we’re gonna be, and I that’s definitely been one of our philosophies with Force Unleashed."

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