CHICAGO – A new “Star Wars” video game is about to test how strong in the Force you really are in some of the darkest times the galaxy far, far away has ever seen.
After a couple of multi-player “Battlefront” outings, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” (out Nov. 15 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC) – announced at Star Wars Celebration Saturday – shifts to a story-driven, single-player focus and introduces a new lightsaber-swinging hero into galactic lore during pretty much the worst period to be using the Force in public.
Set after the cinematic events of “Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” and following the Emperor’s sinister Order 66 to wipe out all the Jedi, a young Padawan named Cal Kestis (played by “Gotham” star Cameron Monaghan) hides in plain sight from the Empire while working on the planet Bracca. When he uses his Force powers, Cal ends up on the radar of the sinister Inquisitors, including the formidable Second Sister, and the deadly Purge Troopers. Consequently, Cal has to learn to use a lightsaber and the ways of the Force on the run and surviving with the help of allies such as droid buddy BD-1.
The harrowing galactic times when the game is set haven’t been seen much on screen, but “it fit what we wanted to do, like to have a Jedi have that hero’s journey and take them from infancy right up through a power leveling,” says Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment, the Electronic Arts studio behind the games “Titanfall” and “Apex Legends.”
“Fallen Order” is a third-person action game where players can use lightsabers and other Force powers in melee situations, though what Zampella calls “thoughtful” combat. “It’s testing an enemy, finding their weakness, figuring out how to exploit it. There are areas where it’s hacking stuff, because that is the fantasy where you can just mow through Stormtroopers. That’s amazing. But the enemies that you’ll face differ so it’s different approaches to combat throughout the game.”
But that’s just the start of what players are in for, teases Douglas Reilly, vice president of Lucasfilm Games. “We’ll start telling a little bit more about what that looks like but the idea is to create a variety of gameplay.”
As “Star Wars” expands its reach into all forms of entertainment, the more characters and stories intertwine between mediums. For example, the Second Sister and the Purge Troopers, specially trained to take on Jedi, first debuted in Marvel’s “Darth Vader” comic-book series.
“Over time as we add more content into the continuity and into the universe, it does give us that great ability to seed a thing over here and deliver on it over there and give fans the ‘Ah ha’ moment,” Reilly says.
Bracca is an unexplored planet but since “Fallen Order” is solidly in the “Star Wars” galaxy, Zampella says, “there will be some familiar places that you’ll go, ‘Ohhhh,’ and you’ll be excited to be there.” But since this franchise is all about its mysteries, creators are keeping a lot of the story close to the vest until people play the game – like where exactly did Cal get his lightsaber, anyway?
“We want to show you enough for you to be invested and want to play it,” Zampella says. “And then we want you to interactively discover all the stuff that we put together.”
But, Reilly adds, “the secrets pay off.”
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