This has been a good E3 for Star Wars fans.
One year on from confirming the existence of the game, EA have finally lifted the lid on Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Over the last couple of days, we’ve been able to see and hear a great deal about this game, and we have a much clearer idea of what to expect from it than we did until very recently. In this feature, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen new things we’ve learned from the action-adventure title of late. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Respawn Entertainment might not be working on Titanfall here, but we can certainly see shades of that game in Fallen Order. More specifically, in the traversal- yes, we’re talking about the wall running. In the gameplay footage we’ve seen of Fallen Order in the last two days, we’ve seen Cal doing plenty of wall-running, and hopefully, it’ll factor into dedicated platforming sections the way it did in Titanfall 2.
There’s more to platforming and traversal than just wall-running though. We’ve seen Cal summoning hanging vines with the Force and using them to swing around, over gaps or right onto enemies. We’ve also seen a lot of double-jumping, and climbing on walls and vines- it’s not quite Uncharted, but there’s plenty of parkour stuff in here.
Combat is going to be paramount in Fallen Order, that much has become clear. The developers have been speaking of this ever since the story reveal trailer, and now, we’ve finally seen it in action- and it looks a lot like Sekiro and Dark Souls, surprisingly enough. There’s locking on and strafing, while parries, blocks, and dodges also seem to be figuring in quite heavily.
You can get staggered, and by that same token, you have to make sure you stagger your enemies too, which depends on the timing of your blocks. Staggering enemies, as you can guess, leaves them open to further attacks that can deal greater damage. Oh, and you can also throw your lightsaber at enemies.
We’ve also seen meters for what we assume are health, stamina, and Cal’s Force abilities. That said, even though we’re seeing plenty of similarities with FromSoftware combat, Respawn have made it quite clear that Fallen Order is not going to be a very punishing game.
Based on all that we’ve seen so far, it also definitely looks like combat in Fallen Order is going to be a very dynamic affair, which will depend on both, your Force abilities and enemy variety (more on both these things in a bit). As far as enemy variety is concerned, that’s fairly simply- we’ve seen already in the gameplay reveal that different kinds of enemies can end up fighting against each other, so the Imperial forces might be locked in combat against a planet’s local wildlife, and you can jump in and then dictate the flow of the battle.
Meanwhile, as far as the Force abilities are concerned, it seems like we can mix and match multiple abilities during combat and chain them together for unique combos and dynamic attacks. It remains to be seen just how deep all this will go, and how much freedom players will have to experiment with all of it, but there’s definitely plenty of potential here for exciting, player-made combat scenarios.
You won’t just be slicing up Storm Troopers with terrible aim in Fallen Order. Back when Respawn revealed the game’s debut story trailer, they’d already shown off the Purge Troopers, a new enemy type created specifically of this game, and as it turns out, that was just a taste. It’s clear that there’s going to be plenty of enemy variety in this game- or so it seems right now, at any rate.
There’s Storm Troopers, Purge Troopers, Flame Troopers (Troopers with flamethrowers), KX security droids, and even enemy types coming in from the wildlife of whatever planet you’re on (which also includes freaky giant spiders). It’s also clear that you’re going to have to employ different combat techniques to beat different kinds of enemies.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Star Wars without the Force. Using your lightsaber is, of course, going to be the bulk of the combat experience, but Force powers will factor in heavily too. We’ve seen Cal using Force Pull to summon and grab enemies and then chop them up with his sabre. There’s also a freeze ability that, as the name suggests, freezes your target in time. One particularly excellent bit showed Cal freezing a Trooper while he shot a laser blast at him. He then Pulled the Trooper into his hands, and threw him into the frozen oncoming laser blast.
Force powers are also going to be used outside of combat, of course. We’ve already discussed how Cal uses the Force to summon vines to swing off of. His double jump in the game is also contextualized as a Force ability called Force Flip. Meanwhile, we’ve also seen him use Force Push and the freeze ability to get past environmental obstacles.
Metroidvania has come back with a bang in recent years, and more and more games are starting to make use of that philosophy of level design- including Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Well, to an extent, anyway. The areas you find yourself in will have branching paths and be multi-layered, and you’ll often come across areas that you’ll find inaccessible, but will be able to access later as you gain new powers and abilities, or upgrade existing ones.
The developers have specifically mentioned that they studied Metroid Prime carefully to take inspiration from the way it designed its own levels. That’s not all they looked at though. They’ve also taken cues from other titles that also have Metroidvania elements, like Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Of course, with Metroidvania level design comes plenty of freedom to explore your surroundings. Based on the gameplay we’ve seen of Fallen Order so far, it seems like there will be plenty of that. We’ve seen branching paths that can lead to things such as Force Echoes (which are essentially memory logs but with space magic).
It’s pretty clear that this isn’t just going to be a straight linear title. The fact that players can access previously inaccessible areas using new powers makes that pretty clear. Meanwhile, Respawn Entertainment have also confirmed that players can also find chests with items and skill points that can be used to upgrade or unlock powers.
Exploration in Fallen Order is also promising to be more organic than you’d expect, and a lot of that is encouraged by the way the game presents its map. There are no waypoints for players to follow or tell them where to go next. Instead, players have to make use of the 3D holographic maps of the area you’re in and navigate through it accordingly.
It’s not Star Wars without a buddy droid. Though Fallen Order won’t have R2-D2 or BB-8, Respawn have made their own buddy droid- in fact, it’s even called BD (short for buddy droid)- BD-1, to be precise. And BD-1 and Cal are obviously going to have an excellent relationship throughout the game.
In context of gameplay, too, BD-1 is going to be pretty useful. For instance, not only can he hack into terminals and unlock doors, he can also scan objects and enemies in the environment to give you more information about them and learn new tidbits and details about the game’s story.
Of course there’s going to be multiple planets. It’s Star Wars. From the gameplay that we’ve seen of Fallen Order so far, Respawn and EA have already seen Kashyyyk, the home planet of the Wookies that fans of Star Wars will be very familiar with, while we also know the game begins on the planet called Bracca, a Mid-Rim world that the Empire uses as a dumping and harvesting plant for derelict spacecraft, where Cal has been in hiding for a number of years.
Though Respawn haven’t given an exact number yet, they have promised that there’s going to be plenty of planets in Fallen Order. As per the developers, the ratio of new planets introduced in the game and those that we’ve already seen in previous Star Wars media is roughly 50/50. Each planet also has a hub location of its own, where you can rest up, save, speak with other characters, and learn more about the lore and the story.
And how exactly will you be visiting all these planets? You’ll be journeying across this galaxy far, far away in a ship of your own. You’ll be able to use the ship to travel freely to any of the planets you’ve already been to, which means you can visit older planets whenever you want.
While you’re transporting from one planet to the other, the game won’t skip to a cutscene- instead, that journey will happen in real time, allowing you to move about the ship and interact with your companions. Respawn have also confirmed that there’ll be other activities to indulge in on the ship- though haven’t gone into what that will be. The ship will also be customizable, but again, we don’t know to what extent.
It won’t just be the ship that will be customizable though- no, apparently, there will be plenty of options for that in Jedi: Fallen Order, and some of it will even tie in with the game’s exploration, which we’ve already spoken about.
To be more specific, while exploring the many planets in Fallen Order, you will chance upon cosmetic items that you can use to change the appearance of everything from your droid, BD-1, to Cal, to your ship, to even your lightsaber- its different components, its hilt, even the colour of your saber (but you can’t go making your lightsaber red- this is a Jedi game, after all).
Though this wasn’t shown off in the gameplay reveal at EA Play, it’s been confirmed that there will be vehicular sections and combat in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (we even got a glimpse of it in the game’s trailer that was presented during Microsoft press event).
As part of the extended gameplay demo that some have been able to get their hands on (but wasn’t broadcast), Cal actually hijacks and takes over an AT-AT, at which point you begin controlling it. Using the AT-AT’s lasers and weapons, Cal also wreaks plenty of havoc in the environment, destroying bridges and other vehicles and, of course, Storm Troopers. Whether the destructibility will be limited to vehicle sections (or certain set piece moments), or if it’s something that is present throughout the experience, isn’t something we know for sure yet.