We finally have a name for EA’s next Star Wars game - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab). And while just the mention of 'Jedi' is enough to get me excited, there are many, many more things to suggest that this could be a dream game set in a galaxy far, far away.
From @Respawn comes a brand-new action adventure game which tells an original @StarWars story around a surviving Padawan set shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is releasing Holiday 2019: https://t.co/CKZ5IM7XkL pic.twitter.com/txGjZNLE1mJune 9, 2018
If your first thought at this point is to bring up Star Wars Battlefront 2, don’t. Much of the outcry came from Reddit before the game was even out, with most people too busy shouting about how they thought the loot crates worked to actually play the game. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sounds like it'll on focus single-player and if you decide to write it off now because of the Battlefront 2 backlash, you could be missing out on something big.
Firstly, let’s look at the studio: Respawn Entertainment. Formed by Vince Zampella and Jason West, most of the founding team came from the Infinity Ward, the folks behind Call of Duty 4 who went on to make Titanfall 1 and 2. However, it’s COD 4 that’s most relevant here - its single-player campaign is one of the best examples of how to blend high-action gameplay and story. It might've been more shooter-focused than I hope a lightsaber-based game might be, but its terrorist-chasing plot is still great. From the prominent - and at the time unprecedented - main character deaths, or levels like ‘All Ghillied Up’ that even now are still better than some entire games.
That’s a studio you want doing a big-scale, story-heavy Stars Wars game. In COD4, you had one of the main characters, Sergeant Jackson, dying in the radiation of a nuclear explosion as a playable level. The final level ended with your entire team bleeding out on some unknown European road as the apparently mortally wounded leader, Captain Price, slid a gun across the ground to you for one last shot at the bad guy before the darkness closed in. And just think about Titanfall 2’s BT-7274, basically a glorified Alexa with guns that you actually cared about. If you’re talking about a Star Wars game set in the ashes of Order 66, with the Jedi dead and a lone padawan running scared, Respawn is a team that knows how to nail those feels and fear in equal measure.
The setting alone is a rich space to play in. The space between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope isn’t completely unexplored, but it hasn’t received a huge amount of 'big Hollywood budget' attention save for Rogue One (opens in new tab). There’s so many questions about how the Emperor cemented his regime, how the world order adjusted, or what happened to the Jedi who survived. There’s enough lore and events (an Obi-Wan cameo is almost a given, for example), combined with the potential for exploring new things to create not only a great Star Wars game, but a great story in its own right. Ignore the Star Wars background for a second and imagine the padawan as a student on a gap year in a country where a violent revolution breaks out. A student with a searing laser sword, admittedly, but you get the idea. Even the thought of such a well known character archetype like a Jedi in a strange and unknown place matches Kratos appearing in Viking times.
There’s one other thing to take into account here, God of War and on two levels. Firstly, there’s Stig Asmussen. He’s a former Sony Santa Monica developer who worked on the first three God of War games, including directing the third installment. He’s leading Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which we know from previous announcements will be a third-person game like GoW. While Asmussen has an art background, he was responsible for GoW 3’s ridiculous scale; he also created entire levels on GoW 2, so just think about that series’ tight focus on combat and apply it to Star Wars.
It’s also worth considering the recent God of War reboot. It’s not hard to do the math after Sony’s big, lavishly produced single-player game did crazy sales. That alone should have EA making sure Respawn has the budget to create something jaw dropping, even without the recent unnecessary Battlefront 2 mess creating a need to win fans back.
Whatever you think, Star War Jedi: Fallen Order has a potent mix. A great studio who know how to do strong, story lead action; a rich, open period of Star Wars history to explore; a director who know how to do combat heavy games and a publisher that needs to win back favor from the fans. If you’re not excited by the potential, you really should be.
Want more to look forward to? Check out our list of 8 things to watch out for at E3 week.