To say that 2019 was a good year for Star Wars, I think is an understatement. We learned the title, got our first look, and eventually got The Rise of Skywalker, and despite it being controversial, many Star Wars fans loved the final entry in the Skywalker saga, myself included. We got news on a new season of the Clone Wars, and we got the widely beloved "The Mandalorian" tv show, and we also got the best Star Wars game in recent history with Game Infinite's GOTY 2019, Jedi Fallen Order, from the absolute wizards at Respawn Entertainment. Here we are a few months into 2020, and we have already gotten new Clone Wars, the Rise of Skywalker novel, and a new era called “The High Republic”, but where are the games?
"EA doesn't seem like they want to make Star Wars games...so here are 10 Star Wars Games that need to be made and who should make them."
With small failures such as Solo and the Last Jedi with moviegoers, and in the gaming world, EA's dwindling general reputation with Star Wars amongst gamers, 2019 was a much needed year to turn things around with Star Wars fans. With a generally positive year, I am looking forward into the future.
I want to do some speculating at what the next decade of Star Wars games could look like. EA doesn't loose it's exclusivity deal with Disney until 2023, and for a while there it looked like Disney might step in to renegotiate. Recently in the news it came out that EA has actually cancelled THREE Star Wars projects. Project Viking marked the now THIRD cancelled Star Wars video game, and EA has released two to critical failure and even controversy. The only success they do have on the books is Jedi Fallen Order, and we have to be honest, that was all Respawn. Respawn made it happen. Respawn is EA's golden goose. We know that Jedi Fallen Order is a game EA would never have allowed otherwise. EA has been too vocal about their agenda to rid the world of single player video games. The first video game cancelled by EA was also very similar to JFO, and EA commented that they didn't think it was going to be profitable. When the successful sales for JFO came out it, seemed like EA was surprised.
Many, myself included, have pleaded with Disney to take away EA's deal. However, with the financial and critical success that was Jedi Fallen Order, EA might have been saved by their golden goose studio, Respawn. That being said, 2023 isn't that far away, at least in terms of Parsecs...
I want to speculate that whenever EA loses its sole right to develop Star Wars games, what games need to get made, and what studios should be asked to do it. Here are my top 10 Star Wars games that need to get made and who should make them.
10. Star Wars Podracer - Turn 10 Studios
Kicking off this list is what I feel like an obvious choice for a game that would have a lower cost and lower turn around time. Why has no one made a new Star Wars racing game? I even do not understand because EA (a company who is usually a fan of easy money) who has held onto the Star Wars license all these years has multiple studios that already have experience in the racing genre. Ghost, the maker behind last years Need 4 Speed Heat, a game that I really enjoyed has a lot of experience in the racing genre. Need 4 Speed doesn't have the brand or buying power that it once did, especially when compared to the massive brand power that is Star Wars. With several of the recent installments in the Need4Speed series proving financially poor, it would have made total sense for EA to ask Ghost to switch to a TikTok dev cycle (similar to how they have DICE alternate between Battlefront and Battlefield) and have Ghost make a modern Star Wars Podracer. It would have sold like crazy and was so obvious, I feel like it only proves that EA doesn't really know what to do with Star Wars. Fans would have loved it. I almost picked Ghost for this selection, but I want to find another racing focused studio that would have put the visual and effort into this game, as well as someone away from EA. Turn 10 Studios, the studio behind the Forza franchise is known for one thing. Absolutely stunning and photorealistic racing sims. Imagine a modern Podracer game with the Forza graphics. I think they would deliver the best modern podracer possible, and it would give them a break from the Forza franchise. With each Forza starting to look more and more similar, as best as can be, this could be the best thing for the team from a creative standpoint. It is a game that just needs to exist.
As it turns out, during the process of writing this article, Nintendo dropped a nice little related surprise that the original Episode 1 Podracer game would be "coming soon" to Nintendo Switch (and I would guess possibly other platforms). Sadly this doesn't look like a remaster (desperately needed); just a port. It will be nice to have the nostalgia, but I want a modern, 4k, pod racer game with the technological capabilities we have today. If not for a full new game, a 4K remaster of the original would be awesome.
9. "Star Wars Nightmare" - Supermassive Games
One of my favorite story arcs in Star Wars Clone Wars, involves a battalion of Clones on a dark and dreary alien planet that is seemingly in a perpetual night, and they are fighting an even darker scarier army. It is made even more suspensful when their Jedi General (*SPOILER!!!!!*) betrays them. Being outnumbered on a dark planet with an army on one side and a crazy Jedi on the other is terrifying for the Clones. There is another story arc that involves Clones who battle zombie-like Geonosians in a cave like environment. These story arcs are some of the best in the series and really make me wonder what a cinematic story driven horror-like game set in the Star Wars universe could be. I know that the likelihood of this is low as long as the Mouse is in charge, but imagine a horror-suspense game where you play as a stranded unit of clones, on a dark moon, where you battle scary mindless bug creatures (geonosians) I'm drawing parallels from games such as Alien Isolation or Until Dawn. This game could involve an alien monster getting loose on a cloning facility in space, giving much homage to a "Alien"-esque game or something on a darker moonlike planet. We never get to see the "horrors of war" from the perspective of troopers in Star Wars and this could be a terrifying game. It could even utilize a form of perma-death with players controlling clone troopers that stay dead if killed by the monsters.
While I was writing this article, Director Scott Derrickson who made Doctor Strange, said he would like to make an R-rated Star Wars movie set on planet Hoth in the vein of “The Thing” or “Lovecraft's In the Mountains of Madness”. He didn't give much detail, but I imagine a squad or troopers marooned on Hoth having to fight for survival against Wampas. I felt this idea of a movie would fit so well into the game I was pitching. I think it is well passed due we got scary Star Wars.
8. A Star Wars Fighting Game - NetherRealm Studio/Bandai Namco
A universe that has so many amazing characters, all with advanced melee combat abilities, makes me wonder why the idea of a Star Wars fighting game hasn't been pushed through yet. I think back to playing SOULCALIBUR with guests such as Yoda, Darth Vader, or Starkiller and it was one of my favorite parts of the game. We already have an example of a fighting game using sword based gameplay with the Soulcalibur series, part of why it fit so well. Making a game with 20 or so characters from the Star Wars franchise wouldn't be that hard, and fighting games are also easy to monetize. It could even be free to play with players purchasing character passes. It is the ultimate example of an easy to make yet very profitable game that could be a lot of fun. Star Wars + Low Effort + High Reward: Why does this not exist yet? The Injustice games and MK11 from NetherRealm studios proved to me they know how to make good, balanced, and fun games across multiple genres. It is also a perfect platform to boost excitement by bringing in exciting cross over characters. I returned to MK11 after not playing for a while simply because I wanted to play the Terminator or Spawn. If the game ever dips in player count, they could bring people in with exciting cross overs. Settle the age old questions. Who would win if Vader faced off against Voldemort? What if Yoda battled the Hulk? The addition of force powers and a huge host of characters, mixed with Disney's pocket book ability to add random guests would make for a killer deal.
7. Star Wars Starfighter
I think the second largest aspect to Star Wars next to Jedi and lightsaber battles, is space combat. I mean, Star is in the name right? Every movie has featured some element of space battling in some form. Space combat is an essential part of the story telling in Star Wars. One of my fondest childhood Star Wars memories is playing the old Star Wars Starfighter! I loved having an entire game set in the cockpit of various star fighters. Now one could argue we get a healthy dose of space combat in the EA Battlefront games, but it was only a mode, and featured a few times in the campaign. There has definitely been a treasure trove of space combat based Star Wars games over the years, but nothing in the modern gaming generation, and while Battlefront 2 certainly gives us a taste, I feel like next generation consoles and an entire game focused on space combat would be truly amazing. Maybe what I am going to describe is just a mode for "Battlefront 3" but I want a star fighter game that sees us actually land on enemy ships in a large space battle with multiple ships. I want to take off from the planet's surface in a squadron to attack a Star Destroyer in high orbit. I want large scale massive battles with hundreds of assets on the space map. I think Series X and PS5 could give us massive Star Wars battles only ever possible on film. At the expense of developing ground combat like in Battlefront, a pure space focused game could be massive in scope.
6. Star Wars The Mandalorian - CD Project Red
The Mandalorian is the best thing to come to Star Wars since the clone wars TV show. I say that as a fan of the sequel trilogy. The Mandalorian blew away my expectations, and felt like a rebirth of Star Wars fandom. I had more coworkers excited for the show than even Episode 9. The Mandalorian single handedly launched Disney+, and gave us the meme explosion that was "Baby Yoda". Imagine handing one of Star Wars' s hottest IP's to a company that does open worlds better than almost anyone. I thought about giving this one to Ubisoft, but I have something special for them next. No, CD Project Red deserves this spot. I want the makers of the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt to give us a massive multi-planet open world game where we play as "the Mandalorian". I thought this game could go one of two ways. Players could actually play as Din Djarin, hanging out with Cara Dune and protecting "The Child". However, I could also see how this could interfere with the show as much as benefit from it. A safer and perhaps better alternative would be a RPG where players could choose to create their own Mandalorian bounty hunter. You could choose their gender, class, and customize their armor. This could even be (dare I suggest, as long as it is done right) an online shared world live service game, with new missions, skins, and even planet expansions added over time. Think Destiny 2 but in Star Wars. You could customize a ship, and hop to various planets in search for bounties. It could be the single most amazing and greatest Star Wars game ever made and the fact that it seems EA cancelled 2 or 3 games very similar to this is incredibly infuriating. Another benefit of this game is the timing is perfect. A game this size would take several years under good management which means the Mandaloran TV show could be at the height of a reasonable 7 year run, if Disney does it right.
5. Assassin's Creed x Star Wars - Ubisoft
This is probably the least likely game on this list as I am sure it would be a licensing nightmare. That being said, I have a pipe dream Star Wars game. One of my favorite franchises in gaming over the years has been the Assassin's Creed franchise. The lore, the massive maps, the stealth and combat, all have something truly special about them. The games can feel impossibly vast in scope. One of the best aspects to Assassin's Creed is it's alternative history, getting to travel through out all of time and meet so many historical figures. It feels like an adventure across time that somehow manages to make ancient Egypt and Industrial London feel the same and connected. No other franchise has connected such a vast timeline to each other and given more to the open world genre than Assassin's Creed. For this game on the list, I have two variants. First is the more realistic, and that would be Ubisoft making a "Assassin's Creed- like" game set entirely in the Star Wars universe. I could totally see Disney approaching one of the greatest open world creators for a game like this. I pitch a game set on Coruscant (the large City Capital world from the prequels), with a Jedi Guard. We know from Star Wars lore that there were many different kind of Jedi and types. We see very little from the Jedi tasked with protecting the temple. I think a Jedi Guard set with sneaking around and investigating crimes on the largest city in the galaxy would be incredible. It could combine elements of the cancelled 1313, and give us a closer look at all that happened on the planet during the Clone Wars. You could investigate assassination attempts and other political complexities.
The second variant is the least likely, but would be the most cool. I want a FULL CROSS OVER game. Imagine a character that is Jedi AND an Assassin. This would be a non canon else world story where the story Sith and the Templars are in the same universe searching for a Force based ancient artifact. The Jedi Order has their first Assassin. I just can't get over the fact how cool an Assassin outfit would be with laser hidden blades and duel lightsabers. This is a cross over too cool to not exist. A stealthy assassin who has lightsabers? Yes please.
4. A Star Wars JRPG - Platinum Games
Becoming acquainted with the amazing nerd culture that is given to us from eastern cultures has been an amazing journey. I started to play a few JRPG's and get into the world of Anime. I love the unique art styles and story telling methods of these genres. It is a peak at fellow nerds from around the globe. From a business sense, but also from a diversity of options sense, I think that having an eastern culture developer make a Star Wars game would be amazing. We could see one of nerd cultures most beloved franchise as seen from a different culture's perspective and have it benefit from different art and story telling. I got the idea for this one on the list when I first thought how amazing a Star Wars Anime would be. The action and fighting style is prime for an anime, something even more stylized than the animations we have. I also saw a fan art of 2B wielding a lightsaber. When I play Nier Automata, I can't get it out of my head now how much I want 2B as a Jedi. Now I couldn't decide if I wanted some kind of Nier/Star Wars crossover, or if I just wanted some game "like" Nier Automata. The way Nier Automata treats sword combat, almost like a dance, would be absolutely beautiful with a lightsaber. The art style, stylized character designs, and organic dance like combat, all lend itself to what I believe would be an amazing Star Wars game. Giving Star Wars to a Japanese game developer who has proven time and time again that they can tell great stories as well as deliver beautiful stylized melee combat just would be a match made in Star Wars Heaven. Doing so I believe could also stand to increase the fan base and presence of Star Wars in Eastern markets. I could see it being still photo-realistic like Nier, or they could go could full animation and give us an Anime inspired Star Wars game that would bridge Animated Star Wars fans and anime fans together.
3. Star Wars Rey - Crystal Dynamics
The upcoming slate from Star Wars that we know of is all about revisiting the past. We are getting an entire new era called "The High Republic" set 200 years before The Phantom Menace, complete with books, comics, and rumored Disney+ or Films. The next series of films coming 2022+ are all rumored to be set in the High or Old republic era. We are getting an Obi-wan and Cassian Andor Disney+ series. EA has greenlit a Jedi Fallen Order sequel. To say Disney has a large batch of content covered in the past is quite an understatement. What is so high on this list is my feeling of importance placed on moving the story forward in time. What happens after Episode 9? Sure the main films may be content with the wrapping of the Skywalker saga, but I don't want to have to wait 30 years before finding out what happens next in the Star Wars timeline. Some of my favorite, and now "legends" Star Wars stories came after Return of the Jedi. I want to see Rey complete her training as a full Jedi Knight. I want to see her take on an apprentice. I want to see her establish a new order and new republic. Some of the best Star Wars legends video games tackled this very time with Luke Skywalker with the likes of Jedi Academy and the Jedi Outcast games. I envision a game much like Jedi Fallen Order in a third person action adventure game but this time focused on Rey after the events of Episode 9. She is on a journey to finish her training and establish a new Jedi order. We get to see the Republic rebuilt. We get to see peace in the galaxy again; something not seen since Episode 1 of Star Wars. I picked Crystal Dynamics for a few very specific reason. They know how to handle a AAA mega budget game with a female lead, in that they currently hold the record with Shadow of the Tomb Raider having one of the top 10 most expensive video games of all time, proving that they would be able to do it. They also are one of the best at modeling a female lead, with their Lara Croft having incredible hair effects and physics. I also picked them because one thought kept coming to mind my entire play through of Jedi Fallen Order; and that was how much it reminded me of Tomb Raider. Jedi Fallen Order was Tomb Raider with Lightsabers. I think Crystal Dynamics could tell a compelling story, add even more depth and likableness to Star Wars first *major film* female Jedi. It could potentially be an amazing story and do wonders for Rey as a hero. Rey is this generation's Luke Skywalker, and as much as I loved the films, Disney needs to do more to elevate and solidify her character with fans. Giving her a full game would be incredible.
2. Star Wars The Force Unleashed 3 - SIE Santa Monica Studio
My all time favorite Star Wars video game is The Force Unleashed. It has one of the most bad ass characters and stories in the universe, not to mention the best gameplay. Getting to meet Sam Witwer who voiced Starkiller was a highlight of Star Wars Celebration 2019. Still, the single best moment in Star Wars gaming and one of the best of all time in gaming, is watching Star Killer pull down a Star Destroyer from low orbit and crash it down on the planet. It was a bad ass move and just simply really cool. I want more games where the Force is a wrecking ball. As a bonus, I thought of suggesting that we get a 4K Remaster of the first two games, but I decided to pitch an actual sequel.
However, when thinking of this I don't really want or ask for a "pure" sequel. I know because so much has been done in this era now that bringing this series back to canon would be impossible. I don't think Disney would put the resources into a game like this and not have it be canon. I was thinking of a different kind of sequel. I am taking direct inspiration from God of War (also the very reason I picked SIE Santa Monica Studio). The original god of war series and the "spiritual-esque?" sequel the 2018 God of War was is exactly what I picture in my head for Force Unleashed 3. Force Unleashed 3 would tell a slower, more mature, else world story about an older Starkiller. It could be a self contained story not much concerned with where it fit in the greater story thus far. I want to see an old bearded Starkiller, retired and in hiding, settled down with a child (apprentice?) forced to come back to battle for some plot device reason. I picture a similar moment in God of War where Starkiller has to get his old lightsabers out to rescue his child. Essentially I picture God of War 2018 but set in Star Wars and with Starkiller, and I think it could be an amazing work of art. God of War 2018 won countless GOTY noms, and using it as inspiration could give us an amazing Star Wars game.
1. Star Wars Republic Commando Reboot/Sequel/Remaster - Activision/Respawn
There is one game I would Thanos Snap into existence, it would be Republic Commando, and for those who know me it should come as little surprise. I really don't care if someone makes just a full remaster or reboot of the same story, or gives us a sequel to the story. I want a gritty, militaristic, first person shooter set during the Clone Wars. I want them to bring back the grittier, realistic, art style. What I don't understand is, I just can't fathom, is EA has two of the greatest military shooter studios in gaming next to Activision and NO ONE thought to make a full military shooter? Yes, I know we got two Battlefront games but that is not what I mean. Battlefront is the Star Wars version of battlefield, and it looks and feels just like the films. What I want is Call of Duty: Star Wars. I want a purely first person, purely military focused game. It needs to have the grit and the cinematography of a Call of Duty game. It is hard to explain but Titanfall and Call of Duty are one type of shooter, while Battlefield and Battlefront are another. Republic Commando is still one of the greatest Star Wars games and putting "boots on the ground", no Jedi, no powers, would be amazing. I want to have that moment where I as a clone trooper question what I am doing as a downed clone smears blood on my helmet. Give us players Finn's moment. Let players experience Order 66 through the eyes of the clones being asked to shoot their Jedi comrades Give us the feeling the troopers had in Rogue One when Darth Vader was rampaging through a corridor towards them. Give us that moment of fear. A modern military shooter set in the Star Wars universe could be simply one of the greatest games ever made.
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