Two of my favorite Star Wars games from the past include Battlefront (2004), which is an all-time classic, and The Force Unleashed, which is an undervalued masterpiece. The latter had its own intricacies and issues, yet it stuck out as a truly memorable experience; one that gave players their own expression in the form of choosing their saber's hue. My favorite lightsaber colors were unstable purple and black; a small element from the game, among plenty more, that I pray make their way into Jedi: Fallen Order.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Announced at E3 2018, the upcoming title by EA was immediately surrounded by excitement, as well as some well-deserved concern. Designed by Respawn Entertainment's secondary team of developers and helmed by Stig Asmussen, the game already appears to be in good hands. Lucasfilm was also brought on to assist in characters and locations, so it's clear that a very thorough examination of lore is in the process behind the scenes.
The Excitement Grows
A plentiful amount of teasers and trailers have ensued since its announcement, initiated by the official reveal on April 13th, 2019. From the looks of it, Respawn has meshed The Force Unleashed with 1313 (one of many amazing Star Wars games canceled by EA), and topped it off with graphics that are far more enhanced than even Battlefront II (2017) and a story that beckons non-stop playability. Fallen Order is among the most anticipated games of the year. Hopefully, even more information will be dispersed during Gamescom, maybe showing some of that Metroidvania gameplay we supposedly haven't seen yet.
Diversity In Gameplay Concepts
While it may look pretty, that doesn't mean a thing if there's a lack of narrative zeal. The game takes place amid the Empire's uprising, following the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Gameplay trailers thus far have showcased a somewhat linear playthrough and have even been called into question, but the developers adamantly disregard this notion and stand by their game firmly. Head honcho Asmussen himself released a letter to the excited fanbase:
"I promise there is considerable challenge and depth to be found within our combat system. The same could be said about our approach to level design, which is crafted in a non-linear way with heavy influences from games like Metroid, Castlevania, and the Souls series. The game will feature several planets that the player can elect to travel to via starship."
He goes on to explain that each planet has its own ecosystem, powerups, and enemies, allowing for a wide variety of exploration and challenges to choose from. With that being said, there are obviously tons of possibilities, places to explore, characters to meet, foes to entangle with, and abilities to learn, but what's the catch?
Can EA Be Trusted?
The more complex a game is, the more complicated the gameplay becomes. Look no further than last year's Red Dead Redemption 2, which sure was met with bountiful praise, but suffered from unnecessary mechanics, clunky controls, and overuse of realism. EA is already an untrustworthy publisher that's obviously far more interested in profits than it is in fan service. Despite the fact that EA has sworn off multiplayer and microtransactions for Fallen Order, those who remain unimpressed can't exactly be blamed. It will take a lot more than one game and a promise for fans to forget about the Battlefront II controversy, which pretty much drove a stake through the very essence of Star Wars video games as EA's focus remained on loot boxes and multiplayer monetary value.
A Rising Success
On this one, though, I'm willing to give EA the benefit of the doubt. With Apex Legends and Anthem both dead in the water at this point, and the hype for Madden 20 slowly but surely dissipating, EA has only FIFA and Fallen Order to look forward to before the close of 2019. Their literal price count relies on these upcoming games, as the rollercoaster ride their stocks have taken from 2017 to now plainly proves. Not only will the game help to boost EA's market value, but it will also add to the growing setlist of Respawn games that ensure the developer's survival. Respawn really did its homework for this one, plus it worked overtime to finish the semester early. EA may have made us all highly critical of its releases, but I'm fairly certain Fallen Order will both surprise us, as well as beckon many sequels into the future.
I'm thrilled to relive those moments from my childhood. I actually skipped a few classes during my senior year of high school solely to play Battlefront II (2005). Obviously, I will never condone skipping school, but what I do condone and highly suggest is replaying some of your old favorites, like Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, and even Lego Star Wars before November rolls around. Prepare yourself for a new, more brazen adventure; one that will be resplendent with old and new ways of looking at the Force, as well as inviting all-new characters into the fold along with many existing fan favorites.
Although we may be concerned with EA's empirical grip over the gaming industry, my senses allude to Respawn truly being one with the Force. Let's hope they can extinguish the evil of EA while also delivering a whole new masterpiece in the franchise, thereby rebalancing the identity of Star Wars games.