E3 — Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer, gameplay footage revealed

It seems the Star Wars galaxy isn’t quite so far, far away these days. Solo and The Last Jedi hit movie screens over the last couple of years, and then there’s the upcoming Mandalorian TV show, the novels, the comic books, a theme park and more.

Now game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has raised the blast shield and given us a glimpse of the gameplay in its upcoming video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The tease came Saturday during the company’s EA Play presentation keyed to the E3 gaming confab in Los Angeles, with Microsoft adding some icing on the cake with another trailer on Sunday. The game comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Nov. 15.

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The standard edition box art includes many of the game’s characters and vehicles.


EA

The gameplay demo shows Padawan Cal Kestis infiltrating an Imperial tree sap refinery on the Wookiee home planet Kashyyk to free some captive natives. He’s taking orders from Saw Gerrera, the leader of the Partisan extremist rebel group from Rogue One (which takes place in the years after this game.)

Saw is voiced by Forest Whitaker, who played him in the movie and in the Rebels CGI animated series. We saw Kashyyk as one of the final battlegrounds of the Clone Wars in Revenge of the Sith. Fallen Order includes a nod to this in the form of fallen Battle Droids littered around the area.

Cal uses the Force and ally droid BD-1 to deal with obstacles, and climbing looks a lot like that seen in Uncharted and the recent Tomb Raider games. Cleverly, when you access the minimap, it’s projected by BD-1.

In the “thoughtful” combat sections Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers and Flame Troopers are easily taken down with a lightsaber slash, but the heavily armored Purge Trooper takes a bit more damage and matches Cal’s lightsaber with his vibrostaff. He takes out a giant spider — a Wyyyschokk — with a few button taps and lightsaber swings.

You can slow down time using the Force. At one point, Cal stops a blaster bolt in midair (like Kylo Ren did at the start of The Force Awakens), pulls a trooper into his grasp and moves him into the bolt’s path to kill him.

Cal acquires skill points through combat, but we didn’t see any kind of skill tree in the gameplay demo. He also uses a “Sense Echo” ability — basically a Force audio log — to hear what happened to a dead Stormtrooper. BD-1 can scan defeated enemies, which will presumably add info to the in-game codex, and eject stim-paks to heal his master.

The demo ends with Cal encountering a captive Wookiee who looks and sounds like the legendary Chewbacca, before a deadly KX droid — like K-2SO in Rogue One — engages the Padawan in combat.

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Padawan Cal Kestis takes orders from Saw Gerrera, whom you might remember from Rogue One.


EA

Director Stig Asmussen told Game Informer that Metroid Prime influenced the upgrade system, while Dark Souls and Bloodborne inspired the progression and exploration. He and Vince Zampella (CEO of developer Respawn) noted that the game is part of the Star Wars canon, so the new characters will show up elsewhere in the franchise. You also can’t choose between the light and dark sides of the Force — Cal’s path is set.

Fallen Order, available for preorder now, will be EA’s first major PS4, Xbox One and PC Star Wars release since Battlefront 2 came out in 2017 (with a bitter side dish of controversy).

EA created plenty of buzz when it teased Fallen Order, created by beloved Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn, during last year’s E3 video game conference.

We got a cinematic trailer during Star Wars Celebration Chicago, telling the story of a Jedi in hiding after nearly all 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. 

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


EA

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 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.

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

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Cal takes on a Purge Trooper.


EA

Which Jedi do we play as?

Jedi: Fallen Order puts us 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, in 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 supersecret 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. A scene in the trailer shows 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) as Cal looks on.

“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.

Legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, the man who created the lightsaber’s 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 Junda, 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. And Saw Gerrera was revealed during EA’s conference on Saturday.

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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.

Curiously, the Purge Troopers in the gameplay demo don’t sound like Dee Bradley Baker (who played all the Clone Troopers in The Clone Wars CGi series), suggesting that they aren’t all clones or EA didn’t bother getting on board for the game.

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 else do we know about the gameplay?

Aside from the details revealed at EA Play, developers promised the game will feature thoughtful combat, in which 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, 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).

Cal can engage a little Mirror’s Edge-style wall running and has a Force-assisted double jump — appropriate given how agile Jedi are in the movies.

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.

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Padawan Cere Junda and Master Eno Cordova go an an adventure in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Dark Temple, which is a stupidly long title.


Marvel Comics

Is there going to be any tie-in media?

Hope you like comics, because Marvel will reveal what Cere got up to as a Padawan, along with her master Eno Cordova, in a five-issue prequel comic miniseries. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Dark Temple will be written by Uncanny X-Men scribe Matthew Rosenberg, with art from Paolo Villanelli (who did the first issue of Vader: Dark Visions).

“The Jedi Council sends the pair to the remote planet Ontotho to oversee the excavation of a mysterious temple; on Ontotho, dueling forces of local resistance and ruthless security troops clash in a war for the fate of the planet, with the Jedi caught in the middle,” the release said.

The first issue is set to come out in September.

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 the 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 supersecret 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 cliff-hanger 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 that an action title. Still, you absolutely must play it and its 2004 follow-up, then demand another sequel from EA.

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

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