I don’t know where to begin when it comes to how badly EA has handled its licensing deal to make Star Wars video games. Maybe I can start with the backlash from Battlefront II’s loot crates that caused so much controversy, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly intervened. It got so bad that EA outright removed them entirely shortly before launch. Or I could start with how EA’s handling of Star Wars Battlefront II led to such an uproar that governments and lawmakers across the world took notice and wanted loot boxes banned for their predatory gambling nature. That’s not even to mention how EA shut down Visceral Games, the beloved developer behind Dead Space which was working on a single-player Star Wars game led by former Uncharted series Creative Director Amy Hennig, a type of game which fans had been begging for.
Needless to say, EA hasn’t exactly been on the good side of Star Wars fans for a long time.
Needless to say, EA hasn’t exactly been on the right side of Star Wars fans for a long time, so much so that people have called it the “Evil Empire” in the past. There’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to “Criticisms of Electronic Arts.” I’m hopeful that Respawn can turn that around with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. At the very least, even if EA itself doesn’t deserve the praise, I hope Respawn can prove that a single-player Star Wars game is worth making.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set to be entirely single-player, with no multiplayer components or microtransactions at all. That alone is a selling point for a lot of fans, but it just gets even better from there. Respawn has compared Jedi: Fallen Order to series like Metroid and Dark Souls. Emphasis is put on player exploration, platforming, and various puzzles along with combat that feels tactical. You’ll need to block, parry, and use your lightsaber strategically instead of swinging aimlessly, adding to the feel of stepping into the shoes of a Jedi. Combat will be approachable, but it still has depth.
The Star Wars universe is full of diversity and rich lore. Anything bearing the Star Wars name that doesn’t take advantage of that is just wasting its potential. Respawn is taking advantage of the universe to its fullest. Jedi: Fall Order is a canonical story that takes place years after Order 66. The Inquisitorius has already been set up, and are now hunting down any remaining Jedi. One such Jedi is the player character, Cal Kestis. As he runs from the Empire, he also appears to be searching for something precious to the Jedi Order, and this opens up some exciting possibilities.
Respawn is taking advantage of the universe to its fullest.
Respawn is treating the Star Wars universe with the respect it deserves, and fans, in turn, have put their faith in the developer. It’s a mutual trust that none of EA’s previously published Star Wars titles have had.
What may have saved Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order from befalling a similar fate as Visceral’s game is that Respawn was likely working on it well before EA had bought the developer. Stig Asmussen left Sony Santa Monica for Respawn Entertainment in 2014, and two years later, he had announced that he was working on a third-person Star Wars game for Respawn, a little less than a year before being acquired by EA in 2017.
A quick note
I also wanted to take the time to note that despite all of the controversy that surrounded Star Wars Battlefront II at launch, it’s become a good game that gets updated with new content for everyone regularly. If you missed out on it before because of the reputation it earned — and I certainly wouldn’t blame you — try it out now.
Use the Force
Keep the Jedi alive after Order 66.
Step into the shoes of Padawan Cal Kestis as he evades Inquisitors hunting down Jedi throughout the galaxy. Using the Force may give you away, but it also might just be the only thing that’ll save your life.
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