Saturday, 13 April 2019

Respawn and EA lift the lid on STAR WARS: FALLEN ORDER

Developers Respawn Entertainment and publishers Electronic Arts have lifted the lid on their new Star Wars game, Fallen Order, with a trailer and confirmation of a release date.

Fallen Order is set a few years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and sees the player controlling a Jedi Padawan named Cal Kestis (played by Cameron Monaghan, the Joker in Gotham), who escapes the chaos of the Republic's fall to go into hiding as a mechanic. Exposed as a Force-user when he uses his powers to save a fellow worker from certain death, he goes on the run, hunted by Imperial agents.

The game is an action title with a focus on movement, speed and combat, both with blasters and a lightsabre. Most promisingly, the game is confirmed to be a single-player-focused experience with no multiplayer element. The game was apparently strongly inspired by the classic Jedi Knight series of action games released between 1995 and 2003 (Dark Forces, Jedi Knight, Mysteries of the SithJedi Outcast and Jedi Academy).

"Human stretch goal" Chris Avellone is one of the writers on the game. Avellone previously wrote for Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004) and other titles including Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights II, Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin II and the forthcoming Dying Light 2.

The game is part of a package negotiated between EA and Lucasfilm to release a series of new Star Wars video games. However, the only releases from this deal to date have been multiplayer titles Battlefront (2015) and Battlefront II (2017) (although the latter had a brief story campaign as well). A story-focused game from Visceral Games, inspired by Uncharted, was cancelled in 2017, whilst a possible new game from BioWare, a remake or sequel to the Knights of the Old Republic series, never got off the ground. Reportedly, EA had strong issues with both projects due to their single-player focus, with them preferring "games as service" models with a heavy multiplayer focus with incremental updates and the potential for players spending more money through microtransactions.

That Fallen Order is therefore a single-player title is surprising, given that Respawn's previous single-player-focused game, Titanfall 2, sold modestly and their biggest recent success was multiplayer shooter Apex Legends. It's possible that Fallen Order survived this purge due to fast work by Respawn, superior negotiating team by the company's management (especially since Apex Legends went stratospheric) and EA's own desire for damage control to its own reputation.

Whatever the case, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the most promising Star Wars video game in many years, and it will be out on X-Box One, PlayStation 4 and PC on 15 November 2019.

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