E3: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order makers don’t want to ‘screw up’
In 2018 Star Wars fans were teased with the title of the newest game in the franchise – Jedi: Fallen Order.
Twelve months on, its developer Respawn Entertainment has shown a glimpse of the gameplay at their EA Play event, in the lead-up to E3 – the major LA gaming conference.
But the company’s boss has told Radio 1 Newsbeat he’s feeling the pressure and responsibility of making a game set in the world of Star Wars.
“We don’t want to screw it up,” explains Vince Zampella.
“We have a chance to do something in a universe that we all grew up loving.”
The game is set not long after the film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. As always, fans will want to see how the game fits into the overall story.
There’s also added pressure on Fallen Order to impress after similar titles never made it to market.
Star Wars 1313 was due for release in 2013 but was dropped after Disney stopped working with developer LucasArts.
Then in 2017, EA announced it had cancelled production on another Star Wars title called Project Ragtag after it reportedly “didn’t make sense” in their business plan.
Despite not knowing too much about why those titles failed, Vince Zampella suggests Fallen Order will succeed because of his team’s “commitment” and “desire”.
“I don’t know the other games. I don’t know what the issue was. So I can’t speak to it.
“One of the first things we talked about was doing a Star Wars game.
“It took us a little while to get there. But finally we got our chance at it and we’re driving to make it.”
He also hinted that Fallen Order might not be the last we see of Padawan Cal Kestis, the Jedi learner who you play as in the game.
“He’s now a Jedi in the Star Wars databank. So I mean, his story will continue to go on,” Vince says.
Another world that Respawn and EA are keen to expand is the Apex Legends universe.
That’s not much of a surprise after their addition to the battle royale format.
That title came out in February this year, and picked up 25m players in its first week, despite having no real promotion.
Vince says that success was “way beyond our wildest dreams” but he’s conscious of keeping their audience excited with constant updates.
“We’re trying to find that right balance of how much can we give players because we want to keep them engaged.
“But it is tricky because when we have a constant desire to have the game do well, we also don’t want the team to burn out.
“We want do some things that really mix it up, because we want this to be alive for years to come.”
He suggests even small tweaks like the introduction of new characters are game-changers in every sense.
“One character edition can now create a bunch of different combos that people can use against each other.
“We’ll start to see a lot of that now.”
He’s also very aware of criticism many battle royale games have had for their in-game purchases, which can rack up huge costs for players.
Vince argues, despite having no initial cost to play, a title like Apex Legends can’t be “completely free”.
“But all the costs are cosmetic… except for certain characters… but you can grind out a character by playing the game.”
The game does offer other upgrades through loot boxes though.
These are also optional but can significantly fast-track character skill levels so are, understandably, pretty attractive to some players.
“We want there to be a value if you do buy something.
“We spent a lot of time coming up with something that we felt was very fair, but doesn’t unbalance the game.”
“We want players to feel good about playing and playing because they want to.
“That’s what it’s about. It’s entertainment.”