A number of media outlets and influencers were recently invited to play a demo of the upcoming Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order, by Respawn Entertainment. The reception seems to mostly be positive. The gameplay is shaping up to be fun, lengthy, and challenging. Despite being packed with new lore to fill the rebooted canon, the story so far has little to indicate anything memorable.
The gameplay seems to be a mishmash of many titles that came before it. Of course I didn’t get to play it myself, so I had to rely on second hand accounts. But all of them have described about the same. Metroidvania meets Uncharted meets Tomb Raider meets Dark Souls, with some Titanfall sprinkled in. There was only a difference in opinion on whether or not this is a good or a bad thing. In my opinion, the lack of innovation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There have been many games that didn’t do anything new, but everything they did do, they did well.
Having seen the new films and some of the television shows, I’ve always said that Disney is playing it too safe. To my surprise, Wes Fenlon of PCGamer echoed these words, as he writes: “After three hours of playing a preview of Jedi: Fallen Order, I think the best word to describe it is this: It’s the safe kind of Star Wars. Safe games are rarely the most memorable. Fallen Order’s approach to Star Wars, too, feels conventional: the Jedi is good, there are many evil Sith to defeat, and I must become a master and restore the Jedi Order to bring hope to the galaxy.”
Some time ago, we heard that Chris Avellone was attached to the game. If you don’t know who that is, he’s a veteran writer and creative force in the gaming industry. Working on some of the deepest and well written games ever made, like Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, and Fallout: New Vegas. It seems that what we wanted to believe was that he was working in a lead position, like narrative lead or creative director. But everything pointed at him contributing ‘some’ work within the writing team, not creating a new story of his own.
However in Polygon’s preview article, it seems he may still have had a perceptible influence on the game. Sarah LeBoeuf writes: “Cal has the unusual ability to “sense echoes,” which is sort of like living through someone else’s memories.” The idea of echoes was a major theme in KoTOR 2, being used to describe how actions can ripple through the Galaxy and thus through the force and affect other eventualities. This idea is being repurposed somewhat into a game mechanic, as the player character can directly read these ripples sent through the force. Whether these readings are 100% accurate however, will most likely remain to be speculated upon by YouTubers / KoTOR 2 aficionados such as myself.
I don’t think the following is a spoiler. Polygon didn’t think it was, making it seem like it’s something you find out early about this character. But since certain people I saw chose not to mention it, I suppose some may consider it a spoiler, albeit a small one.
Cere Junda is one of the main character’s companions and is an ex-Jedi knight who, according to Polygon, has cut herself off from the Force. I imagine that besides the new canon Luke Skywalker, this will be our second example, within the new canon, of something perfectly described by Darth Traya: “In times past, and in times future, there are Jedi who will stop listening to the force, those that will try to forget it, but maintain unconscious ties.” Whether she’s abandoned the Jedi’s religious teachings remain to be seen. We’ve only seen her use a blaster at this point, but I guess she’ll find herself pulling out the ol’ lightsaber again at some point.
During a developer interview that Star Wars Explained conducted, the game’s narrative lead explained that the main character won’t have a primary mentor/master that he’ll learn force abilities from. Instead Cal can also learn of the force from nature, since it flows through all living things. It makes me think of Revan. His experiences from the mandalorian wars taught him things that coincided with Sith teachings. Perhaps what Cal is thought by, and through the force leads to experiences that lead him to embrace his past Jedi teachings. Making it even more interesting if Cere really did renounce Jedi teachings, causing them to clash ideologically. Along with extremist elements like Saw Guerrera making an appearance, perhaps Cere will be the voice of pragmatism.
But considering what we’ve heard of the storyline so far, my speculations are probably inaccurate. I will most likely be purchasing the game, if nothing more than to discuss it on my YouTube channel, assuming it has anything worth discussing. I hope it does.
Wes Fenlon of PCGamer writes: “Will we ever see a Star Wars game as bold and subversive as Knights of the Old Republic 2 again?” We can only hope. But as of now, I doubt it.
Papito Qinn is into the whole YouTube thing, is the winner of the 2016 SpookTAYcular Scary Story Contest, and a twitter incompetent. “Who knows, it might end up packed with Star Wars philosophy. If it is, it’ll do wonders for my channel.”