Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — EA Play reveals gameplay at E3 2019

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — EA Play reveals gameplay at E3 2019


Star Wars seems like it’s everywhere these days, with movies like Solo and The Last Jedi hitting over the last two years, along with TV shows like the upcoming Mandalorian, novels, comic books and more.

But when it comes to Star Wars video games, it’s been slim pickings on PS4, Xbox One and PC since Battlefront 2 came out (with a bitter side dish of controversy) in 2017.

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Padawan Cal Kestis is showcased on the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order deluxe edition box.


EA

Publisher Electronic Arts (EA) created plenty of buzz when it teased Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, developed by beloved Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn, during last year’s E3 video game conference. The concept is super exciting, and we’re about to find out more today at the EA Play conference.

We got a cinematic trailer during the Star Wars Celebration Chicago, telling the story of a Jedi in hiding after nearly all of his comrades were killed at the end of The Clone Wars, between Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith, and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

As part of its announcement, EA promised its upcoming Star Wars epic will be focused on story, unlike the majority of multiplayer-focused Battlefront 2, and it won’t have “micro-transactions” — stuff like different looking guns or uniforms you can buy after paying for the game in the first place.

EA is expected to show off the gameplay during its E3 2019 presentation in Los Angeles at 9:30 a.m. PT Saturday but revealed the standard and deluxe edition box art on Thursday to hype up fans. The former shows off the game’s cast, while the latter focuses on our Jedi hero. (We’ll probably find out Saturday what goodies the deluxe version comes with.)

The game will bring balance to the Force on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Nov. 15. Until then, let’s take a look at what we know.

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Cal is the main character in the game.


EA

Which Jedi do we play as?

Jedi: Fallen Order puts as in the boots of Cal Kestis, played by Cameron Monaghan of Gotham and Shameless fame. He’s an apprentice, or “Padawan” in Jedi talk, who survived Order 66 and is living under the radar in the wake of Revenge of the Sith, the early days of the evil Emperor Palpatine’s stylish Galactic Empire.

We don’t know how this apprentice avoided being gunned down when the Clone Troopers turned on their Jedi allies on Palpatine’s command — perhaps he’d nipped to the toilet or called in sick to Jedi class that day? — but we’ll no doubt see how that went down in the game.

The game sees Cal living the quiet life on the planet Bracca, in the galaxy’s mid rim, and working for the Scrapper Guild. He’s helping to pull apart old capital ships from the Clone Wars, presumably so the parts can be used to build the Empire’s fancy-pants Star Destroyers or its super-secret Death Star.

“Don’t stand out, accept the past, trust no one,” Cal says in the trailer. “Trust only in the Force.”

Clearly, this is the mantra he lives by. One scene in the trailer sees one of his co-workers falling into what looks like a Sarlacc Pit (a toothy hole in the ground, seen in Return of the Jedi, nom nom Boba Fett) and Cal stretches out his head.

“Whatever you do, don’t reach within,” he says, referring to his latent Force abilities.

Since we know that Sarlacci (yes, that’s the plural form) can spend a thousand years digesting their victims, it makes sense that Cal instinctively use his Force powers to save someone from this icky fate.

We also catch sight of him wielding a blue-bladed lightsaber with a fancy hilt unlike any we’ve seen before. It looks like this weapon has seen some action, so it probably belonged to some ancient Jedi with an awesome backstory — let’s hope we learn all about them during the game.

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The teaser poster hints at the scale of this adventure.


EA

Does Cal have any friends?

The Jedi might be pariahs under the Imperial regime, but Cal’s not a total loner. We’ve been introduced to BD-1, a droid ally who seems like he’ll be by Cal’s side for the whole game. The game’s developers said he’ll have an upgradeable spotlight lamp, so it’s likely he’ll have other features you can tweak as well.

Legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, the man who created lightsabers’ iconic hum, Darth Vader’s breathing and R2-D2’s beeps, will voice BD-1. So, he’ll probably sound pretty cool at least.

Cal will also have former Jedi Knight Cere, played by Debra Wilson of Madtv and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as his mentor. That’s pretty much all we know about her for the moment, but she presumably went into hiding after surviving Order 66.

The key art revealed Thursday shows a small, blaster-wielding alien too. Presumably we’ll learn about this character during EA’s conference on Saturday.

The Respawn team confirmed that Cal will have other allies but have kept quiet about them so far.

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The Second Sister leads a pair of Purge Troopers.


EA

Who are the bad guys?

The Second Sister, a member of the Jedi-hunting Imperial Inquisitorius, will be on Cal’s tail during the game. In the trailer, we see her hanging off a ship’s viewport and impressively using the Force to control its flight stick and pull it off course.

This character previously appeared in the 19th issue of Charles Soule’s amazing Darth Vader comic series, but this was just a cameo. She’s the second highest ranking Inquisitor, a group introduced in the Rebels CGI animated series, so expect her to be pretty deadly.

She’ll be backed up by Purge Troopers, who investigate Jedi sightings and are trained to fight them using electrostaffs. If they can’t get the job done, they summon the Inquisitors.

These guys also showed up in Vader comics, first appearing in No. 13, where it was revealed that they were from the last generation of Clone Troopers produced from Jango Fett’s DNA (as seen in Attack of the Clones).

Since the clones were better soldiers than the conscripted Stormtroopers, you can expect them to be way harder to take down in the game. And we can expect Cal to take it personally if he realizes these guys have the same faces as the clones who slaughtered his Jedi family.

EA got ahead of the cosplayers by having a pair of them step onto the stage at Celebration Chicago, where Zampella took a selfie (which has to be a violation of Imperial military protocol).

What about the gameplay?

We haven’t seen any, but the developers promised that it’ll feature thoughtful combat where you’ll have to size up each enemy, so it won’t be a Jedi power fantasy button masher.

Cal’s lightsaber will “grow and evolve” over the course of his adventure, game director Stig Asmussen confirmed during Celebration, implying that you’ll be able to customize it (which would be awesome) or he’ll be repairing it (cool from a narrative point of view).

The trailer sees Cal doing a little Mirror’s Edge-style wall running, so we should expect to see those kinds of acrobatics given how agile Jedi are.

Monaghan also revealed that Cal will be going swimming, with an Instagram post of him hanging from a fun looking harness. This might just be in cutscenes rather than actual gameplay though.

Will there be any sweet sweet merch based on this game?

Oh yes, Star Wars and merch are like the prequels and gloriously awkward lines. You can’t have one without the other. 

The Jedi: Fallen Order stuff will hit on Oct. 4, known as Triple Force Friday. There will be plenty of toys, collectibles, books and clothes based on The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian.

Are there any other Jedi games?

So many, but only a few are single player adventures. If you’re looking for a few bites of Force wielding action to tide you over until November, these are good options. Keep in mind that none of them are part of Star Wars canon anymore — they were swept aside when Lucasfilm Order 66’d everything but the movies and The Clone Wars CGI animated series in 2014.

Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast came out in 2002 and put you in the role of Kyle Katarn, a conflicted Jedi who’s basically the Chuck Norris of the Star Wars universe, in the years after Return of the Jedi. This amazing game is pretty dated at this point, but the lightsaber combat is a delight. It’s available on PC, GameCube and the original Xbox, if you have one.

Its 2003 sequel, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, is excellent too. You don’t play as Kyle, which is sad, but you do get a customizable lightsaber with double-bladed or dual wielding options, which is awesome. You can play that on PC and Xbox.

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The Force Unleashed was a big deal in 2008.


LucasArts

The Force Unleashed, which came out  in 2008, is a very similar game to Jedi: Fallen Order. This one sees you playing as Galen Marek, the super secret apprentice of Darth Vader in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Needless to say, he didn’t stay a secret for long and ended up more Jedi than Sith.

It’s a short but decent action game that had staggering production values for the time and hit pretty much every gaming system on the market. The Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions are the best though.





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The 2010 sequel, The Force Unleashed 2, isn’t quite as well designed and ends on a cliffhanger that’ll be never be resolved since the third one was canned.

Knights of the Old Republic (AKA KOTOR) remains the greatest Star Wars game ever made, but this 2003 classic — set thousands of years before any of the movies — is more of a role-playing game rather an action game. Still, you absolutely must play it and its 2004 followup, then demand another sequel from EA.

There, that’ll keep you busy for a few months.





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