At last week’s Star Wars Celebration, EA and Respawn gave us a sneak peek at the new Star Wars project they’ve been working on – Jedi: Fallen Order. First, we were treated to a tweet showing the animated cover:
— EA Star Wars (@EAStarWars) April 9, 2019
Then they took it a step further and gave us a full-blown trailer on April 13:
In addition to the media pulled from the game, EA and Respawn have actually given a lot of information involving the game, including the engine they’re using, the gameplay you can expect, and even an official plot synopsis. Let’s dive in:
No Frostbite engine
Consumers of EA products will be relieved to hear that Fallen Order will not be using the infamous Frostbite engine. After the cringe-worthy Anthem (as well as Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition), dev teams were campaigning against being forced to work with the uncooperative Frostbite again. While the engine worked great in Battlefield, it’s not a cure-all for any style of game, something that EA has grown to accept. Happily enough, the studio is using the reliable (and still powerful) Unreal Engine 4, using the right tools for the job. But what kind of job is this, exactly?
It’s been a long, long time since Star Wars fans got a full-on Jedi experience in a single-player story game. The closest example is probably The Force Unleashed II, which came out way back in 2010 to mostly mixed reviews. If you’re craving the chance to ignite a lightsaber and go HAM against a room full of baddies, Fallen Order promises to satisfy. “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is designed with gameplay as a top priority in order to deliver the kind of intense Star Wars lightsaber battles that are seen in the films,” said EA and Respawn in a press statement.
The statement went on to say the game was “brought to life by Respawn, a studio known for high-quality games that are both visually beautiful and technically masterful, players will use their Jedi training to create different melee combinations with an innovative lightsaber combat system and Force abilities.” Such as?
On the topic, Game Director Stig Asmussen said there’s “…a layer of depth within the combat, and how you use the Force powers to take down enemies more efficiently. As you grow, those that are keen will recognize that there are different things, maybe tells that enemies give, that allow you to open them up, and take them down a little bit faster.” Maybe this means more tired opponents will leave themselves open to heavier attacks, or outmatched troopers could run in fear when they realize their mistake.
Gameplay is about more than just combat, however, and trailblazing players will be happy to find new traversal capabilities in their toolkit. “Players will also use platforming abilities to strategically overcome opponents and solve puzzles in their path across this galaxy-spanning adventure,” said Respawn. “Star Wars fans will recognize iconic locations, weapons, gear, and enemies, while also meeting a roster of fresh characters, locations, creatures, droids and adversaries new to Star Wars.”
At EA’s E3 press conference last year, Vince Zampella told us that the game would take place during the “dark times” after Order 66 and before “A New Hope,” (stream Episode IV here!) a period in which the Jedi are largely hunted to extinction (save a few in hiding, like Ben Kenobi or Yoda). The official synopsis is as follows:
“Players will meet Cal Kestis on Bracca, a brand-new Star Wars planet and one of several new locations introduced in the game. Cal is hiding from the Empire in plain sight but is forced to go on the run when he exposes his Force powers. Along the way, Cal will make new friends, like his mysterious companion Cere, as well as run into some familiar faces, all while being accompanied by his faithful droid BD-1. Cal’s flight from the Empire is made even more dangerous as he is being pursued by the Second Sister, one of the Empire’s elite Inquisitors, who seeks to hunt Cal down and extinguish this surviving Jedi. Assisting the Second Sister are the terrifying Purge Troopers, special Imperial forces trained to seek out Jedi and aid the Inquisitors in their dastardly work.”
You can see in the trailer that Kestis has to reveal who he is in order to save his friend. We’re guessing this is the turning point that sets the Empire after the young Padawan. From that point on it sounds to be a game of cat and mouse between Kestis and the Second Sister. Sound good? There’s more good news:
No micro-transactions, no loot boxes!
After the furious reaction to the loot system in Star Wars Battlefront 2 (which has since thankfully been ameliorated), it would have been a crime for EA to pull the same greedy maneuvers in Fallen Order. Encouragingly, this seems not to be the case.
No microtransactions. No loot boxes. And no, we won’t be adding them. A single-player Star Wars story for those of you who are ready to become a Jedi. https://t.co/kTheWVBjJc
— EA Star Wars (@EAStarWars) April 13, 2019
Pre-ordering the game will offer new cosmetic content, but this isn’t going to be another pay-to-win scandal like we’ve seen of late. “The team at Lucasfilm have been amazing collaborators, helping us explore and further develop this part of the timeline where the Empire is at the height of its power and any remaining Jedi are in hiding,” said Asmussen. “Within this narrative, we’ve crafted a game with intense, yet thoughtful and fun melee combat using the lightsaber and Force powers, allowing anyone to fulfill their Jedi fantasy.”
Considering the mixed bag we’ve gotten from EA, we’re not shelling out our cash just yet, but we are cautiously optimistic. A single-player narrative game with a Jedi at its center is a great start. We’re excited to see what else gets unveiled as we draw closer to Star Wars Day 2019. The game is set to release for PC, XB1, and PS4 on November 15, which is still a ways off. Is this one you’re going to be adding to your collection? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for more info as it comes!