The first Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab) demo looked distinctly Uncharted, but developer Respawn has always said that it's much more than a linear action game. A newly released extended demo (opens in new tab) helped illustrate this, but it still left a lot of questions unanswered. To better explain how Fallen Order plays, game director Stig Asmussen recently published an open letter (opens in new tab) discussing the game's influences and goals.
"It should not be mistaken that our combat is overpowered or easy," Asmussen said. "I promise there is considerable challenge and depth to be found within our combat system. The same can 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. On these worlds unique abilities and upgrades can be found that open up new paths across other planets, making retraversal an essential part of the gameplay experience. This is a lot to describe in 15 minutes of gameplay. Getting hands on the full 25 minute experience is best to completely understand it."
The first 10 minutes of the extended demo are new to most viewers, and this section shows a few ideas and elements which were missing from or glossed over in the E3 2019 demo. It opens with an AT-AT vehicle section, and at 8:50 we see the full map showing more of the planets Cal and the gang can visit. As Asmussen said, and as we heard at E3, these planets are home to new Metroidvania-style upgrades and abilities which in turn unlock new areas. In other words, exploring and upgrading Cal's kit will be central to Fallen Order.
Asmussen and Respawn also addressed concerns that the game will be easy, presumably because most of the enemies in the demo go down pretty quickly. "I think it’s safe to say that the game isn’t as easy as it looks and our thoughts internally about the game 'feeling good' are closer to being validated," he said of the responses to the demo. "But we are not done yet, and are continually play testing to ensure the game challenges even the most skilled player, while not alienating those who want to take a more casual approach. And, maybe most importantly, we also want to make sure that the game is delivering on the core promise of becoming a Jedi."
Based on our Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order E3 2019 preview (opens in new tab), this is one of the few games that genuinely nails the feeling of being a Jedi. It feels good to play, and we're totally on board with Metroidvania-style exploration in a universe dripping with Star Wars flavor. It feels like Respawn should've led with details like that, honestly, but it's nice to see the studio share more on the goals and influences of Fallen Order.
Lost in the lore? Here's the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order story explained (opens in new tab).