Respawn Entertainment revealed many months ago that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would be running on Unreal Engine 4. The upcoming interlude between Episodes 3 and 4 looked decent in its gameplay reveal at EA Play 2019. However, the question still remains: Why didn’t the developer opt for Frostbite, which all other EA studios use?
Game director Stig Asmussen and Respawn CEO Vince Zampella told Game Informer recently that “Frostbite wasn’t even an option” when it decided to choose an engine. “When we started this team, this was even before Star Wars, I was the only person on the team and we knew we were going to start hiring a few more people and we needed to start building from the ground up. I did a little bit of research on Unreal, there was a couple of other options out there, and remember we aren’t EA at this point so Frostbite wasn’t even an option.
“I started tinkering around with it and was like ‘Wow, this is pretty powerful with what an individual developer can do with it, imagine what a whole team could do with it.’”
The team is “very happy with the decision”, as per Asmussen.
Past reports have talked about Electronic Arts mandating its studios to use Frostbite, even when it’s created difficulties for games like Mass Effect: Andromeda, Anthem and Visceral Games’ cancelled Star Wars title. Regardless, Asmussen said, “There’s been no mandates for us to use Frostbite or change anything about the way that we’ve normally done things at Respawn.” This can also be seen in the fact that Apex Legends, published by EA after Respawn was acquired by the publisher, still runs on the Source Engine like its Titanfall games.
Zampella further added, “Frostbite is an engine that EA uses internally. At that point, we were an external studio so it wasn’t even available to us. Now, as part of EA, it would be available to us, but we’ll still make the choice on what’s best for the game because ultimately we are making something that has to be fun to play so it’s the tech that fits what you’re trying to do.”
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be releasing on November 15th for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It follows the journey of Cal Kestis, a young Jedi who survived the purge of Order 66. It’s not long before his cover is blown and he must flee from the Empire’s Inquisitors, including the dreaded Second Sister.