As mentioned on Blue's News, Raven Software's Kenn Hoekstra recently released some new details about Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on the developer's message boards. The action game represents a collaboration between Raven (which also developed the acclaimed Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast), LucasArts, and Activision, and it will take place one year after the events of Jedi Outcast and 15 years after Star Wars: A New Hope.
In Jedi Academy, players will assume the role of an apprentice Jedi in training at Luke Skywalker and Kyle Katarn's academy on Yavin 4. Players will have a great deal of input into how this new Jedi looks and what sort of lightsaber he will wield. At the start of the game, players will go through a process of choosing from different lightsaber hilts and blade colors to arrive at the look that the weapon will have for the entire game. Much later, there will be the opportunity to earn the right to wield a saber staff or one light saber in each hand. The game will also have a range of other weapons as well as force powers.
The character customization system is one of the major modifications that Raven has made to the Quake III: Team Arena graphics engine. There's currently a total of more than 2,000 different combinations for the customization choices players can make, and the customized character can be used in both the single-player and multiplayer portions of the game. Raven has made other improvements to the game technology including a nonlinear mission system, new map tools that allow for much more detailed 3D worlds, rag-doll death animations, integration of Raven's terrain system, and vehicle enhancements that allow players to not only drive some vehicles but also just ride in certain ones.
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is scheduled for release later this year. More details on the game are expected to come at next month's E3.