The last of the Star Wars prequels leaves many fans questioning the future of the franchise. While we already know the direction of Star Wars on the small screen, it's the video game future that we're all waiting with interest to see.
Kicking things off next year will be Empire At War, and judging by early previews and screenshots, this will be the strategy title that all fans have been wanting since Force Commander all those years ago.
But so far little has been mentioned about the rest of 2006 and what we can expect. So, being the curious type, I've decided to make mention a few New Years Resolutions that hopefully will come true:
* Knights of the Old Republic III: This one is a given. After the amazing results of the first two titles, LucasArts would be silly not to explore this series just a little bit further. Most will recall that some of KOTORII was removed due to time constraints, and that before LucasArts culled it's staff, KOTORIII was in some form of pre-production. So there must be something bubbling away in the pot. If there is, look towards E3 for the announcements, if not sooner.
* LEGO Star Wars II: The 2005 sleeper hit, without a doubt, was LEGO Star Wars. While not a LucasArts developed game, the title went on to become a huge success, possibly even bigger then anyone expected. Again, it would be silly not to expand this into a franchise. Personally, I believe you could get more then just one sequel out of it. But for now, look for a Classic Trilogy edition of LEGO Star Wars some time next year.
* Star Wars Galaxies: As we've already mentioned, Galaxies pulled many punches this year, some hits some misses, but mostly the series of expansion packs this year based around Episode III has helped settle the fanbase after the major changes made. There should be at least another expansion in the wings for 2006, it's just a question of what content will be included. Wise men will put money on a title forming the links between Episode III and IV. The outsider's vote may fall upon an Expanded Universe title.
* Darth Vader: This is an interesting one. Many rumours have been around for some time regarding a Jedi Knight/Outcast style game revolving around the rise of Vader and the Empire. It's all quiet on the Vader front lately, but it's possible this game may re-appear around E3 time if LucasArts make it a reality.
* Indiana Jones: We might not see our old friend till 2007, but there will be some announcements and screenshots of the new adventure over the year.
* PS3/Xbox 360/Revolution: Who knows what may come of our favourite Star Wars titles for the new console war. Already Nintendo's Revolution controller has people thinking of many original ideas, while the power of Sony and Microsoft's entries will always be interesting to follow. LucasArts' next generation titles will be on show over the coming year. Don't forget, of course, the PSP and Nintendo DS, both of which should have at least one Star Wars title released over '06.
After that, who knows. What we can be sure of is that Star Wars within the video game circle won't be vanishing into the night just yet. If anything, the new TV and animated adventures may inspire LucasArts. On the plus side, it also leaves the company with a little extra time to develop some original titles. Or there is always Monkey Island ... or Grim Fandango ... hmmm ...