Today, Kotaku can reveal that Star Wars: First Assault is a downloadable multiplayer shooter that was originally slated for release this spring. The game supports up to 16 players—one eight-person team of rebels and one eight-person team of Stormtroopers—as they face off on Star Wars worlds like Bespin and Tatooine.
And according to one person familiar with the project, First Assault is "step zero" to the heavily-rumored, highly-anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront III. If First Assault sells well—assuming it is released at all—the third Battlefront could be next.
Last September, when executives at LucasFilm—the parent company of LucasArts—found out that Disney had signed an agreement to purchase the company, things got murky. LucasFilm froze all hiring and new game announcements, our source says. They had planned to announce First Assault and launch a closed beta by the end of September—which explains the Xbox listing leak on October 1—and First Assault was supposed to be out this spring.
So since September, employees at LucasArts have been working on the game with no knowledge as to whether or not it will actually come out. According to our source, LucasArts is "bleeding talent" as employees wait to see what executives at Disney and LucasFilm want to do with First Assault and other games the studio is working on.