Mere hours ago at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Respawn Entertainment, makers of Apex Legends and Titanfall at long last unveiled the first trailer for their next game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
The upcoming game, which Respawn developers repeatedly confirmed as a “single player, story-driven experience with no microtransactions,” stars Cal Kestis. Kestis is a Jedi Padawan who survived Order 66 and the collapse of the Jedi Order. We meet him on the planet Bracca, where he is keeping a low profile by working as a shipyard scrapper. His motto, as highlighted by this trailer, is: “Don’t stand out, accept the past, trust no one,” but sooner or later he rises to the notice of the Empire.
Kestis will be played by Cameron Monaghan in his first ever videogame role. Monaghan is best known for his recurring role as twin brothers Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska in Gotham. He will be joined by Debra Wilson as Cere, a former Jedi Knight and mysterious companion. Wilson is known to gamers for her fiery standout performance as Grace Walker in 2017’s Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
Don’t expect the game to recreate the traditional Padawan / Master relationship we’ve seen before, said Respawn devs. Instead, Cal will assemble a “strange family” in this game, one that bands together to explore the galaxy. That family also includes Cal’s personal droid BD-1 aka Buddy Droud 1. The audio production team even got legendary sound designer Ben Burtt to voice the little fella.
No gameplay footage was shown off at the panel, but director Stig Asmussen said that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would feature melee action with an emphasis on “thoughtful combat.” That meant easy to understand but nuanced, asking players to determine the weaknesses of their enemies and exploit them with a masterful combination of attack moves and Force powers.
That’s interesting stuff from the developers of Titanfall and Apex Legends which both play primarily as shooters but feature elements of parkour and melee as tactical considerations for victory. The press release provided by EA also indicated that puzzle-solving and platforming would feature in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Fallen Order will introduce many new planets and characters into the Star Wars universe, an expected result of collaboration between Respawn, LucasFilm and Disney. For example, Purge Troopers, a melee-focused variant of Stormtroopers tasked with hunting down Jedi, will provide a major opposition to players. According to Respawn, these troopers have already made comics appearances.
The game is also being built in Unreal Engine 4, as opposed to the Frostbite Engine that EA has ostensibly mandated for use in all its games. That’s likely to be received well by critics and fans who worry about reports and statements given by various developers in and out of EA that Frostbite may be a factor in the technical shortcomings of games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem.
No reason was given (or expected) as to why the developer chose to use Unreal Engine 4 over Frostbite, but the decision to not feature microtransactions or position Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order for development as an online service game is a response to backlash that games like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Anthem have experienced. Whether that was a call made by Lucasfilm, EA or Respawn we likely won’t know.
Lucasfilm’s Steve Blank, who serves as director of franchise content and strategy, said that the collective goal was to make “a badass, kick-ass Jedi Star Wars game for people to love.” Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 15, 2019. Expect to see more at the EA Play 2019 event prior to this year’s E3.