That Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a grand game hey? You’ve got a genuinely good effort from Respawn Entertainment, EA actually learning from the furore surrounding Battlefront 2’s first year (which by recent accounts seems to have also redeemed itself since then) and plenty of goodwill from fans who wanted a simple power fantasy set a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Part of the charm surrounding Cal Kestis and his journey back into The Force, is how the game injects a healthy amount of Midichlorians into the meat and potatoes lightsaber combat. Taking a few cues from Dark Souls, the core gameplay has a certain amount of heft to it that really makes you feel like a Jedi of old, twirling a laser sword around and helping Stormtroopers drop a few kilograms via instant limb removal. Kyle Katarn would be proud.
Here’s the catch: Fallen Order almost didn’t feature any lightsaber combat. According to Game director Stig Asmussen in an interview with the AIAS Game Maker’s podcast via GameSpot, LucasFilm wasn’t “comfortable” with Respawn using Jedi in their game. “They weren’t super comfortable with the idea,” Asmussen explained of when he pitched a lightsaber-heavy action game to the keepers of Star Wars.
I pitched, ‘Hey what if we do a game about Jedi and Force powers, and they were not super comfortable with that. They threw it back and said, ‘What about blasters and bounty hunters?’ That’s not the background of the team we’ve built; you might as well ask me and us to start building a racing game at this point. I don’t think anybody’s going to be happy with the results of that.
What I came to learn is for them, Jedi is the Holy Grail. To make a game about Jedi, you gotta earn it. There was a little bit of a back and forth but they could see where I was coming from.
LucasFilm still had plenty of say throughout the development of Fallen Order and the usage of Jedi, eventually resulting in a middle-ground being reached regarding Cal Kestis and his impact on the game: He’d be able to use the Force and a lightsaber, but he’d only earn the right to be a Jedi Knight much later in the game after many trials and tribulations. The end result was a bloody good game featuring more elegant combat in a more uncivilised age without having to worry about relying on anything as clumsy as a laser blaster.
There’s plenty more to delve into in the making of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, if you feel like listening to the rather excellent podcast linked above.
Last Updated: January 9, 2020