In the wake of dire news for the Star Wars property in video games, we’re hoping Respawn Entertainment can be a shining light.
It’s been a bad few years for the Star Wars property in the world of video games. When EA acquired exclusive rights to the license, there was a healthy amount of skepticism involved, but no one could have predicted that things would go as poorly as they have. Star Wars: Battlefront in 2015 felt like half of a game, with no single player content to speak of, while its sequel in 2017 was a victim of aggressive monetization and got caught in the middle of a controversy. That, on top of cancelled projects that we’ve heard plenty of over the weeks and months, is enough to show us that the aforementioned skepticism wasn’t exactly misplaced.
That said, there is at least one ray of hopeful light in these dark times for those who’re hoping to see some good Star Wars video games. Respawn Entertainment, the developers of the excellent Titanfall games, are bringing a brand new action adventure title based on the property to us, allegedly this year itself, and though we know very little about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order other than its name, we still can’t help but be excited, simply because of Respawn’s pedigree and track record, if nothing else.
In this feature, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen things we want to see from the upcoming action adventure title, set between the events of Star Wars Episodes 3 and 4, as we hope for a game that can finally deliver the kind of Star Wars video game experience we’ve been craving for so long. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
One of the most exciting things about Fallen Order is its setting- set during the time when the Jedi were being hunted down by the Empire, there’s obviously a lot of potential for drama and great storytelling. Our hope is that all of that will revolve around characters we haven’t seen much of (or at all). Rather than relying on well established characters as the centrepieces of its story, hopefully Respawn’s game will focus on new personalities and build them well enough that we can grow to care about them.
Though we want the main players of Fallen Order’s story to be new faces, it obviously wouldn’t be a Star Wars game without some canonical appearances as well. Hopefully though, the game will move beyond the cameo appearances from the likes of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader that we’ve all grown so accustomed to seeing in our Star Wars games (and other media). I mean, it’s not like we don’t want to see them at all, but there are plenty of other characters Fallen Order can bring into the mix. Given the period it’s set in, there’s potential to rope characters from Star Wars Rebels into the story, just as an example.
MIX OF NEW AND OLD LOCATIONS
Visiting exotic, breathtaking locations throughout a galaxy far, far away is always one of the best things about any Star Wars story, and chances are that’s very much going to be the case in Fallen Order as well. Our hope is that throughout the course of its campaign, not only will the game take us to places from the series that we’ve seen before, but also to completely new, beautiful, imaginative locations. Given its very nature, the art team at Respawn has more than enough room to flex its creative muscles in this area, and we’re hopeful that that will be the case.
Prior to its release, quite a few people were excited about the single player campaign in Battlefront 2. And though the campaign wasn’t bad by any means, there’s no denying that it didn’t even come close to maximizing its potential. We’re hoping that we aren’t in for a similarly disappointing story in Fallen Order. A tight, well-written, well-paced story that makes us care about its characters and the larger goings-on in the galaxy is one of the things we’re always on the lookout for in anything to do with Star Wars (even more so in Fallen Order, given not only its setting, but also how starved we are for it in context of how the property has been handled in games recently), and hopefully, that’s exactly what Respawn’s game will deliver.
We’ve mentioned the potential of the time period Fallen Order is set in a few times already, but that’s because there’s just so much Respawn’s writers can do with it. As a game that (presumably) focuses on the struggles of the Jedi as they were being hunted down by the Empire, we can also expect to see Inquisitors play a role, which is a name that you might recognize if you’ve seen Star Wars Rebels (among other Star Wars media). This order of Force-sensitive elite assassins who’s only aim is to eradicate the Jedi is one of the best villainous organizations we’ve seen in this series in years, and getting to see them in action in Fallen Order would not only make a lot of sense, but would also make for some excellent narrative opportunities for Respawn.
Following on from our previous entry, perhaps we’ll even get to square off against some of the Inquisitors in combat as well. Having some epic boss battles in the game against Force users where both sides are using lightsabers and Force powers would make for some epic, memorable moments, and we’re hoping Respawn will use the potential of these scenarios to the fullest. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get to fight a full-fledged Sith at the end of the game.
By its very nature, Star Wars lends itself to player choice, with its Dark and Light sides of the Force, and we’re hoping that that is something that Respawn will make use of in their story. Not that there’d be anything particularly wrong with having a particular, cemented story that the game wishes to tell on its own terms (especially if it does it well)- but implementing choice and consequence mechanics into the game would inject a great deal of player agency and drama into the story.
Of course, this is something that goes hand in hand with our previous entry about player choices, but it’s something that’s worth mentioning either way- if Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order does indeed have choice and consequence mechanics, the hope is that these will be significant and weighty enough that they can properly alter the way the story plays out, and even where it finishes. If Respawn are writing a story that’s part of the official Star Wars canon, that might be a little harder to pull off, but it’s not something that they cannot overcome by having multiple endings, but only making one of them canon.
NOT OPEN WORLD
Now don’t get me wrong- I love open world games. Some of my favourite games of all time are open world, and like so many others, I’m ecstatic about the explosion in popularity that the open world design philosophy has seen in the last decade or so. But not everything needs to be open world. I’m hoping that Fallen Order tells a tight, concise, enthralling Star Wars story without any fluff and padding, and the best way to do that is by eschewing open world design entirely. That doesn’t mean that Respawn cannot have larger, open-ended levels (and given how little we know about he game, there’s every possibility that Respawn might be making an open world game that can do justice to its story as well), but at least in these preliminary stages where we’re in the dark about so much to do with the game, I’m hoping that it’s a linear, story-driven experience.
Of course we’re going to talk about combat. Combat with blasters and guns, sure, but also with lightsabers. How Respawn chooses to put that in context of there being next to no Jedi left in the galaxy will be interesting to see, but many, I think, would agree that how well Fallen Order does lightsaber combat will be hugely significant, and might make or break the game to a large extent. Fast-paced, satisfying lightsaber combat is something that we’re all looking forward to, and we’re hoping Respawn can pull it off.
Of course, we’re hoping to be able to use Force powers in Fallen Order as well. From the Force Unleashed games, to the Knights of the Old Republic games, to the Battlefront series, we’ve played plenty of Star Wars titles that have implemented Force powers very, very well, and hopefully, Fallen Order will follow in their footsteps. Additionally, we’re also hoping for a nice amount of variety in the kinds of Force powers we’ll be able to use in the game- sure, we want to see the classics, but maybe Respawn can include some new, crazy Force powers of their own as well.
This goes without saying- most likely, there will be weapon customization in the game. But will it be the kind of customary weapon customization that so many games have, or will Fallen Order actually do something fun with it. Given Respawn’s pedigree with shooters, it might be the latter (or so we hope). More importantly, hopefully the game will allow us to customize lightsabers as well. In Star Wars media, from Kylo Ren to the Inquisitors to Darth Maul, we’ve seen some excellent lightsaber designs over the years, and hopefully, Fallen Order will allow us to do something similar with our own lightsabers as well.
AWESOME SET PIECES
Vaguely hoping for “awesome” set pieces is a little bit of a cheat, sure, because this is something that can apply to pretty much any game, but Fallen Order is in a better position to achieve this than most other games. Why? Because it’s being directed by Stig Asmussen- in case you don’t know, he’s the person who directed God of War 3. You only need to take one look at any one of the bevy of incredible, epic set piece moments in that game to realize that – hopefully – we might be in for something similar in Fallen Order as well.
Though a story-focused single player campaign very much seems to be the focus of Fallen Order from the little we’ve heard of the game so far, it goes without saying that the game’s going to have an online component as well. Not just because it’s an EA game, but also because it’s being developed by Respawn. And sure, while the EA side of things does throw some doubts and questions into the mix, the Respawn side of things gives us a fair bit of confidence to balance things out. Titanfall and its sequel are two of the best multiplayer experiences we’ve played across this entire generation, and hopefully, armed with the Star Wars license, Respawn will deliver something as good – if not better – with Fallen Order.
NO LOOT BOXES
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? I think we all did. It’s hard to think of any upcoming AAA game in today’s day and age and not worry about the possibility of microtransactions and loot boxes, especially EA games- and that holds doubly true for an EA Star Wars title, for obvious reasons. But since the Battlefront 2 fiasco, EA have at least taken steps to ensure that they don’t repeat their mistakes, keeping loot boxes out of the equation in both, Battlefield 5 and Anthem. Let’s hope they continue that trend with Fallen Order.