This week saw debut of many Star Wars games being unveiled at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and as you can imagine, the excitement for these games is at an all time high. Whether you’re an MMO gamer, or you prefer a first person shooter, the Star Wars universe is about to expand like the Galactic Empire, with all sorts of new titles and expansion. Our Jedi Council takes a look at those games and discusses which ones made the biggest impressions.
David (Razor) Harris: Without a doubt, one game stands out, in my mind, head and shoulders above the rest, and that’s Star Wars The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire. As a long time MMO gamer, I was in on the original beta testing for the game before it was released. In that beta, we testers continually asked for more in-depth and story rich content or cutscenes, more consequences for our decisions, and way more companion interaction. When the game was finally released, we got a portion of that, but soon it appeared as if the developers bent to the will of what many of us long time MMO players call the “Console Gamers,” and bypassed the story for instant gratification.
However, the tried and true – dyed in the wool MMO gamers, hung in there, and it seems as if we will finally be rewarded with Knights of the Fallen Empire. The rich storytelling that Bioware is known for is back, and with it is a completely new and exciting storyline involving what appears to be the eternal struggle between the Dark Side and the Light. The Immortal Emperor has resurfaced and has a dark and sinister plan to regain power in the galaxy. But, it seems as if the Sith and the Jedi are not his focus, as both factions are seen being dismantled by his sons, in the trailer.
I have been enthralled by the story of The Old Republic, since I first watched Revan grace my screen in Knights of the Old Republic, way back before it was an MMO. The mere thought of hundreds of thousands of Sith and Jedi roaming the galaxy while the Galactic Republic wars with the Empire, is simply fascinating to me. Playing on the home worlds of both the Jedi and Sith (Korriban and Tython), is an awe-inspiring history lesson in itself.
Knights of the Fallen Empire looks to take the next step in the story of the Old Republic, and I for one, plan on being on the front lines with my Sith Juggernaut, force choking my way to victory.
Elaine Tveit: A game I’m looking forward that came out of E3 is the one which will, I hope, help convert my seven-year-old nephew into an uber Star Wars fan. It’s true, Tyler has one or two toy lightsabers, and possibly a handful of other Star Wars-related toys; but when we watched an episode of The Clone Wars once, he thought at the time that was too real-looking (keep in mind, he was probably six at the time; and also, The Clone Wars does not have a traditional, cartoon-y animation style like he’s used to seeing in his favorite television shows).
He does, however, play Disney Infinity, and he’s sure to get at least one of the Star Wars-themed play sets coming out later this year as a part of Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition. I’m hoping that Ahsoka, Anakin, Luke, & Leia will be able to help get him into the Star Wars fandom, because it’s all about the kind of play that he loves: video gaming. And though he may be too young to see The Force Awakens in theaters this December, by 2017 he may be ready to embark on Episode VIII with the background of Star Wars love that one of his favorite games is sure to give him!
Kyle Warnke: All Star Wars games are essentially exercises in wish-fulfillment fantasy. They tweak the universe ever so slightly to allow the player to live out his or her wildest dreams in a galaxy far, far away. You can be a bounty hunter on Coruscant, or pilot the Millennium Falcon through the rocky valleys of Tatooine, or take on Darth Vader as Luke Skywalker on Hoth.
It would be canonical heresy if it wasn’t so much damn fun. And that’s the real appeal of Star Wars Battlefront, which finally showed off some gameplay at E3. It still remains to be seen if the game can be its own entity, and not just a maneuver to map Star Wars elements onto a generic Call of Duty imitation.
But Disney is smart to return to let us return to this series and let us play around in the original trilogy a bit more, before they take us to explore some brand-new worlds.
Joe Prescott: The E3 Star Wars announcements are very VERY cool indeed. The Old Republic is looking just as immersive and epic as ever, the Infinity stuff looks super fun for kids and grown-up kids and the Battlefront footage looks superb. The big reveals and gameplay possibilities certainly caused a stir with the crowd, possibly more than some of the bigger developer’s conferences. The obvious surge in Star Wars intrigue from the upcoming continuation of the movie series makes it a hot topic amongst gamers as the next gen platforms offer more immersion and interactivity from their releases, and any chance to become involved in the galaxy far, far away is a hot ticket for fans and can be lucrative for developers, ONLY if they do it right!
Battlefront stood out for me. As much as I adore KotOR I’ve never stepped foot in The Old Republic and Disney Infinity isn’t something I’d get excited about, though they do have their merits, but Battlefront is definitely something that hooked me. The Hoth battle looks fast, fun and downright awesome and the co-op footage was also great. I’m a bit unsure about the removal of starship warfare, that was one of the best parts of the first two games, but maybe there’s a good reason and we may have to wait for further releases to see if they introduce dogfights. The Old Republic video was certainly deep and impressive, most impressive. The cutscenes for TOR have always been fantastic and this one looks to be more involving with the characters. The Disney Infinity footage looks fun and the introduction of a range of characters should open up the Saga to kids who may be new to the universe.
So what will we be seeing at next years E3 then, what could the new movies and further exploration of the universe deliver for fans? The HD capabilities of current consoles will only get bigger and better so the sky’s the limit for content, so focusing more on story and motives should be priority with Star Wars video games. With the dissolve of Lucasarts after Disney’s takeover, EA now has the development license on Star Wars games so it’s in good hands for content. For the future of Star Wars games I’d like to see some HD restorations of some classic titles, an HD KotOR would be superb as would Dark Forces 2 and the Rogue Squadron series, but EA and Disney may just look to the future and focus more on the imminent continuation of the franchise so we should see some good things post-Episode VII. Maybe we might just one day even see 1313 finally get some momentum? Who knows, but that’d be awesome!
Michael Valverde: The one game that I had my eyes set on is the new Star Wars the Old Republic expansion entitled Knights of the Fallen Empire. The story sets you as a The Outlander, a veteran of the Great Galactic War. Upon learning that there is a third faction threatening to destroy the galaxy. A new enemy, Emperor of the Eternal Throne is presented, and the choices made by your character will determine the fate of the Sith and Galactic Republic. The story arc includes nine chapters, through BioWare cinematics, that puts you right in the middle of the conflict, and the choices made will impact how the story unfurls itself. Choices include betraying old and new friendships, and being able to shape the galaxy as you want it. The decisions you make can lead to unexpected twists and turns in the story arc.
The game will have its release date on October 27th of this year, and will raise the level cap to 65, and is free to anyone who is playing the free-to-play option. It will give everyone an option to start a new character at 60 if one chooses. BioWare CM Eric Musco stated:
"“As a subscriber, when you get Fallen Empire you will receive one free level 60 character. This character must be a new character, you cannot ‘boost’ an existing character up to 60. Beyond that first one which is included free with KotFE, you can purchase additional level 60 characters through the cartel market at any time.”"
The story arcs are going to be enhanced and Flashpoints and Operations such as raids and dungeons will be buffed and remain as end game options. Other aspects of the SWOTR expansion will be having your own personal saga develop. There will be eight class stories, so that you will be more immersed into the story. You will be able to build an alliance – Choices being a team of hand-picked allies or meeting new companions, or even reuniting with existing companions that you can team up with, and have them demonstrate their loyalty.
What I enjoyed seeing is not only the clear realistic graphics but the story as told in the trailer. It appears as though two brothers are heirs to an Empire. They are distinct because one is dressed in white and the other in black. They are in tune with the Force and demonstrate those powers, as they are seen training as young children. One, Arcann, the one dressed in white, is superior and more reckless, and even lashes out against his trainers in one scene. As their story develops, Arcann becomes injured in war, and nearly half his face is badly injured. He dons a mask to keep himself alive, but his anger begins to lead him toward the dark side.