GameTech: Destined to be a tour de Force

Star Wars: Fallen Jedi video game.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it was a time of oppression for the gamer republic. The evil corporate empire had taken away the joy of single-player games and replaced it with micro-transactions and live services. It seemed like there was no hope.

Then, one day, during Star Wars Celebration, one of the corporations rose up against the evil empire, announcing a single-player Star Wars game that was free of live services and micro-transactions. The corporation was Electronic Arts (EA) and the game was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

We may be romanticising the reveal of Fallen Order, but make no mistake about it — the game being a single-player adventure is a near miracle.

In fact, when it releases in November Fallen Order will be the first true single-player Star Wars game since The Force Unleashed II in 2010, which is incredible when you consider the sheer popularity of the Lucasfilm franchise in gaming media.

Fallen Order is set in the period immediately following ‘Order 66’, the moment in Revenge of the Sith when the Emperor orders his clone army to turn on the jedi and eliminate them.

Most of the jedi are wiped out in this moment, leaving those who survived to hide in the shadows. In Fallen Order, you play one of those outcast jedi, Cal Kestis, who was a trainee padawan when Order 66 takes place.

When we start the game, Cal is in hiding, but uses his force powers to try and save someone, which brings him to the attention of the Empire’s inquisitors.

On the run, Cal promises to himself that he will trust no one, and “trust only in the force”.

The team behind Fallen Jedi are Respawn Entertainment, who recently shot to superstardom in the gaming industry with Apex Legends, the latest Battle Royale fad.

However, they are arguably better known and respected in the industry itself for the Titanfall series. Respawn are working directly with Lucasfilm’s story department to ensure everything is in line with Star Wars canon, and they have hired Cameron Monaghan to play the lead character.

Monaghan is best known for his role as The Joker in Gotham, the TV series about Bruce Wayne’s teenage years.

While Fallen Jedi is a Respawn game, many of the developers working on it have a high pedigree from other companies, and the lead designer is Stig Asmussen, who worked on God of War 3, one of this writer’s favourite PS3 titles.

Stig described the game as ‘action-melee’, where combat would require thought and precision, as you figured out each enemy’s weakness.

While we didn’t see any gameplay footage of Fallen Jedi, everything about the game seems destined to succeed. On November 15, we will find out if Star Wars has a new hope in the gaming galaxy.

Star Wars expands with Onslaught

Meanwhile, while the official title of Star Wars Episode IX is The Rise of Skywalker, another Star Wars property rose from the dead this week too. An expansion was announced for the online world Star Wars: The Old Republic, its first for three years. The expansion is called Onslaught and it will bring a new story, two new planets, a ‘flashpoint’, a new ‘operation’ and some new abilities.

Players will visit Onderon, a planet of “untamed jungles and savages beasts”, Mek-Sha, a fuelling station in a mined-out asteroid, and explore more of Corellia for the finale. The level cap will be raised to 75 and there will be new items to work with called ‘tactical items’.

Onslaught will launch in November of this year and will be free to subscribers.

Tomb Raider sequel

Finally, gaming is giving back to the world of cinema in the form of another Tomb Raider sequel. That might not be a fair exchange for Star Wars, but it’s the best we have.

It has been announced that a sequel to the 2018 Tomb Raider has been greenlit, with star Alicia Vikander coming back as Lara Croft and scriptwriting duties falling to Amy Jump, who wrote Free Fire and Kill List. (Yes, we had never heard of those either.) The 2018 film made over $280m at the box office, so it’s easy to see why they have gone back to the tomb that keeps on giving.

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