Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment showed off their brand new game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, at Star Wars Celebration today and it looks like it will deliver for anyone looking to take a step away from the multi-player format and dive into a single-player story. The game is set shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith and centers on a young Padawan who managed to survive Order 66, an order that branded all Jedi traitors to the Galactic Republic and targets for execution by the Grand Army of the Republic’s clone troopers. Electronic Arts has had a rough go with the Star Wars franchise as of late for a variety of reasons, but at this point, it does seem as though Fallen Order has a chance of getting the company back in the fandom’s good graces.
Jedi: Fallen Order is no Star Wars: Battlefront. There is no multiplayer and no micro-transactions; it’s a single-player Jedi fantasy story game, and it’s a labor of love for the folks at Respawn who took the stage to unveil the game. As they explained, the goal was to tell a Jedi story and put a lightsaber in the player’s hand. That simple yet powerful concept is what started it all, but developing a detailed canon story took a significant amount of time and collaboration.
Meet the main character, Cal Kestis played by Shameless and Gotham star Cameron Monaghan. He’s the young Padawan who survived Order 66 and now he’s on the run during some very dark times when the Empire is at the height of its power. Cal must evade the Empire’s Inquisitors but he chooses to do so while secretly continuing his training with his lightsaber and Force powers. We begin our journey with Cal on the planet Bracca. After an incident that requires him to reveal his Force-wielding abilities, Cal is forced to pick up and make a run for it again.
Monaghan describes Cal as someone with grit to him. He’s street smart, wary, and has been through a lot. But despite the tragedy he’s experienced, Cal is still someone with a sense of optimism and a good heart. Even though Cal did feel a bit isolated during the Jedi: Fallen Order trailer, he’ll have some allies by his side throughout the story including Cere and also a droid named BD-1.
Cere is played by Debra Wilson and was described as a mysterious companion and former Jedi Knight. They said she will act as a mentor to Cal, but don’t expect the traditional Padawan/Jedi Master relationship we’ve seen before. Apparently there’s a “strange family” that’s formed in the game, a team that bands together to explore the galaxy and Cere is part of it.
There’s also my personal favorite reveal of the panel, the new droid BD-1, which stands for Buddy Droid 1. And that’s essentially what he is to Cal, a buddy! They’re best friends. BD-1 isn’t a sidekick. They’re equals on their journey and they learn to lean on one another. BD-1 also provides a little light in a story that takes place during such dark times. The team even got legendary sound designer and voice actor Ben Burtt to do BD-1’s vocalizations.
Another character to keep an eye out for is Second Sister, an elite Inquisitor trying to hunt Cal down. Second Sister is actually a nice nod to the collaboration happening between different Star Wars departments because that character has already been teed up in Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader #19.
She’s also got a new kind of Stormtrooper at her disposal, the Purge Trooper. With only so many Inquisitors to go around, these Purge Troopers are trained to deal with Jedi and are the ones who are dispatched first to investigate, and then the Inquisitors are called in. A significant group of traditional Stormtroopers can pose a threat, but when it came to the gameplay in Jedi: Fallen Order, the developers wanted foes who could offer up meaty one-on-one fights, and so the Purge Troopers were born.
And speaking of the game play, the key here for Respawn was the importance of touch and feel. They’re developing “thoughtful combat;” you have to size up your enemy and identify their weaknesses. They’re working to ensure that the combat is easy to pick up so that anyone can get right into the game, but, if you put the time in, you can master the techniques.
Monaghan also stressed how the performance capture experience differed from his pre-conceived understanding of motion capture. He said that the technology used to create Cal is more in-depth with the capability of picking up subtle changes in emotion, body and movement to deliver a nuanced and detailed performance. While playing Cal in the performance capture suit, Monaghan said that his only limitation was his own imagination.
Shortly before the end of the panel, the host asked about Cal’s lightsaber and the response was a cryptic, “How do you know that’s Cal’s lightsaber?” The group wouldn’t go much further than that but they did tease that the lightsaber is tied to the story and that over the course of the game, it’ll grow and evolve. They dubbed it a reflection of Cal.
You can give the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer a watch for yourself below. The game will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 15, 2019.