Never tell me the odds. But do tell me about the game.
Outside of 2017's Star Wars Battlefront II, things have been quiet in terms of new Star Wars video games for consoles and PC in recent years. Fortunately, that's set to change later this year, with the release of what has the makings of an exciting new title: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.
[Update: EA Play is over, and as expected, it delivered the gameplay reveal we were all hoping to see. We got a great look at its action, giving us a better sense of what Respawn means when it talks about having "thoughtful combat." There were also further indications of how the story fits into the larger Star Wars universe--Saw Gerrera was shown prominently in the livestream's demo--and we found out what Force powers are at your disposal.
We also had the chance to speak with Respawn after the reveal to find out more. Among other things, we discussed the blend of Bloodborne and Star Wars that the game represents. We also discovered that Jedi Fallen Order wasn't originally a Star Wars game.]
The new game is developed by Respawn Entertainment, the studio responsible for Titanfall and Apex Legends. That's an exciting pitch in its own right, and we'll be learning much more about what to expect soon. Jedi Fallen Order will be published by Electronic Arts, which still has the exclusive rights to produce Star Wars games for PC and consoles. EA has promised to showcase the game during its pre-E3 2019 event, EA Play, which takes place next weekend, June 8-9. Below, we've rounded up all of the information we've heard about the game so far, as well as some of the things we're hoping to see from the game's EA Play presence.
What We Know
As we have not yet seen any gameplay from Jedi Fallen Order, there's a very limited amount of information we have. We were expecting to learn a lot about the game during its Star Wars Celebration panel, but that ultimately yielded only a story trailer and a minimal amount of information about how it's a third-person action-adventure game. That said, Respawn boss Vince Zampella offered up some news that was received with applause and cheers from those in attendance: Jedi Fallen Order is single-player only and does not feature any microtransactions. "It's a story game," as he put it.
That story takes place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. It centers around a young Jedi Padawan named Cal Kestis (played by Gotham's Cameron Monaghan) who survived Order 66, Emperor Palpatine's attempt to eliminate all of the Jedi after he establishes the Empire. This turns Kestis into a fugitive hunted by the Inquisitors. He's intent on both completing his Jedi training and reestablishing the Jedi Order.
Jedi Fallen Order introduces a variety of new locations for Star Wars, including the planet Bracca, where we first find Cal hiding from the Empire. Over the course of the game, we'll see some existing characters to complement the newcomers, including a companion named Cere, the droid BD-1, and Second Sister, an elite Inquisitor.
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As for how things play, that remains a big question mark. Jedi Fallen Order was, unlike the vast majority of EA's games, built using the Unreal Engine, rather than Frostbite. Respawn has used the phrase "thoughtful combat" to describe how the action plays out, and we know you'll get to use both Force powers and a lightsaber, the latter of which evolves in some manner over the course of the game.
Jedi Fallen Order's release date is set for November 15 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Pre-orders are already live.
What's Confirmed For E3 2019?
EA has remained very non-specific about what we can expect from EA Play in general. For Jedi Fallen Order, it's only promised an "inside look." It'll be among the games to get a dedicated livestream on Saturday, June 8; the company is forgoing a traditional press conference in favor of a longer broadcast where each game is featured for about 30 minutes. Jedi Fallen Order is scheduled for the first slot on June 8, at 9:30 AM PT / 12:30 PM ET / 5:30 PM BST (2:30 AM AET on June 9).
What We Want
Given Respawn's pedigree, the expectations for Jedi Fallen Order are understandably high. But we still don't know what the game looks like in action, so a close look at gameplay is an obvious must for its EA Play showing. Specifically, what does the "thoughtful combat" that Respawn has touted actually mean in practice? The studio suggested it means you can't button-mash your way through a fight, but does that just mean the game is difficult, or that enemies have specific weaknesses that need to be exploited? And how exactly does your lightsaber evolve, and does that mean players' experiences could vary in a significant way?
It would also be welcome to get some insight into how Respawn deals with the tricky task of presenting a challenging experience while still making you feel like a powerful Jedi. The Force Unleashed (a game Respawn could borrow from), for instance, allowed you to become incredibly powerful by the end of the game, but you were also suddenly dealing with such strong enemies that your cool abilities were rendered somewhat ineffective.
We're also interested to get a firmer grasp on the story Jedi Fallen Order tells and why it matters. The Jedi Order isn't rebuilt during the original trilogy, so how do you tell a compelling story during this time period if your actions may not end up having any impact?
One thing we don't want to see: Any of the big characters, like the Skywalkers, Yoda, or Darth Vader. There are plenty of fun characters to bring into the mix, but we don't need Cal to somehow happen upon the most famous characters in the galaxy. And whomever those returning characters are--save them for the game. Don't spoil any surprises for the sake of adding some excitement to a trailer.