Boss Rush Banter: The Past is the Future of Star Wars Games

It’s the return of the Jedi for Lucasfilm Games. Rising from the ashes of LucasArts in 2021, the company has licensed out Star Wars to a massive spread of game developers, leading to announcements left, right, and center for new games in the franchise. Having seen eight years of AAA exclusivity under the umbrella of Electronic Arts, Star Wars is seeing projects from developers from every corner of the industry, and fans like me now face a new generation of games that run the gamut in terms of both concept and content.

I, for one, am excited to see it! We’re looking at more than just a new coat of paint going forward; the Star Wars games of the future are taking the best of the franchise’s roots in LucasArts, and pushing them into new mediums. When you take a step back, it’s like looking at any gaming magazine in the late ’90s and early ’00s, with Star Wars on the cover and polygons in the triple digits. But where is that shared DNA the strongest?

Star Wars Jedi series and the Jedi Knight series

A series that needs little introduction, Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi series has set a high bar for action-adventure as a Force-wielding Jedi in the midst of the Galactic Civil War. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019) laid down a rock-solid foundation of lightsaber combat and exploration, and this year’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor doubled down with an adventure that puts its lead, Cal Kestis, and his gameplay front and center.

At its core, it’s all about Jedi, and just how darn fun they are to control. It also feels every bit like the spiritual successor to an old, Expanded Universe game series called Star Wars: Jedi Knight. While no longer canon, the Jedi Knight series originated third-person lightsaber-swinging action games, and it brings this fan no small joy to see its concepts live on in Respawn’s Jedi series. Honestly, I’d love to see Cal outlive the Empire, and maybe even see a few nods to Jedi Knight’s protagonist, the beautifully bearded Kyle Katarn.

Star Wars Outlaws and Shadows of the Empire

An open-world adventure game set in the Star Wars universe, but with a fresh twist that developer Massive Entertainment hopes will shake up a series laden with conflict between the preternatural forces of Jedi and Sith. Star Wars Outlaws shies away from a Force-central conflict, and instead stars Kay Vess, an outlaw in the Outer Rim, as she navigates the devious underworld of the galaxy.

With a focus on gunslinging and vehicle combat, I see many parallels between Star Wars Outlaws and 1996’s Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. Starring mercenary Dash Rendar, the running-and-gunning gameplay seems very much akin to the open-world action of Outlaws, where the Force is nowhere to be found, and the galaxy is jam-packed with trouble around every corner. Kess is a little likelier to be dealing with the Pyke Syndicate than the Black Suns, but spirit is all there, blaster and all.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake

Image Credit: Star Wars

It’s hard to talk about the past or future of Star Wars games without at least mentioning 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It’s the 20th anniversary of BioWare’s role-playing classic, and even now, fans are still looking forward to seeing more from the series that sent players thousands of years before Skywalkers and the Empire to face the legacy of the mysterious Darth Revan.

In 2021, it was announced that Knights of the Old Republic would receive a ground-up remake by Aspyr Media, in collaboration with Sony Interactive Entertainment. While there’s been many behind-the-scenes rumors surrounding the remake, its developers, and its status, there remains a window of hope for what is, in this fan’s opinion, one of the biggest casualties of Disney’s Star Wars acquisition and the de-canonizing of much of the Expanded Universe.

Are you excited for the future of Star Wars games? Which classics are your favorites? I’m always keeping an eye out for KOTOR easter eggs in the new canon. If there’s any I missed, let me know in the comments below, or join in the conversation on our Discord channel to nerd out over how much Cal’s beard resembles Kyle Katarn’s.

Featured Image: Steam

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