KOTOR 2 designer Chris Avellone has been working on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

We learned earlier this week that Respawn's upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be revealed in April at Star Wars Celebration. And we learned earlier today, thanks to a late-last-night tweet, that prolific game writer Chris Avellone, whose credits include Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Icewind Dale, Tyranny, Prey, and design lead of Knights of the Old Republic 2, was working on it.

What I find especially enjoyable about this is the way he just puts it out there, like he's talking about the pad thai he had for supper. Avellone's history in the industry is such that his participation in a project is noteworthy all on its own, yet as far as we know this is the first anyone's said about a contribution to Fallen Order.   

We don't know much about Fallen Order at this point, but leaks indicate that it will take place shortly after Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith, and will be about a Padawan who managed to survive Order 66. It will also be singleplayer-only, which might seem a bit unusual for Respawn, whose previous games include Titanfall and Apex Legends. But let us never forget that Titanfall 2 was one of the best singleplayer shooters to come along in years (seriously, it's a tragedy that it wasn't a major hit), and adding Avellone to that formula makes it an even more exciting prospect.

As the lead designer on Knights of the Old Republic 2, Avellone helped shape what is probably still the most nuanced depiction of the Force in any Star Wars anything, as we wrote about here. If Avellone's involvement means similar things for Fallen Order, it's a promising sign.

Also exciting is the promise of another "big bomb" on the way. A Twitter follower told him to wink if it's the new Vampire: The Masquerade game that may or may not be in development, to which Avellone replied, "Shhhhhh—also, the undead don't wink." 

Is that a yes? A no? Maybe? I don't know. Hey, maybe it's Borderlands 3. I've emailed Avellone to ask about it, and while I don't expect him to admit to anything, I live in hope. I'll let you know if he does.

Update: Avellone's LinkedIn page confirms that he did in fact work with Respawn from February 2018 to January 2019 doing story work, story/character reviews, and cinematic scripts for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It also suggests that there might actually be a connection between Avellone and the mysterious, maybe-Vampire game that Paradox has been teasing.   

The page says Avellone spent roughly 2.5 years under contract as a narrative designer and writer, "working tenderly with other developers," at Hardsuit Labs, the developer of Blacklight: Retribution. Tender is the name of the faux dating service at the center of Paradox's ongoing ARG, and Paradox is a part-owner of Hardsuit, having acquired a 33 percent stake in January 2018. The studio's website currently lists two games on the go, Blacklight: Retribution, and an unannounced project.

Avellone's promise of a "big bomb dropping in a month" fits too: A recent update to the ARG implied that some sort of reveal will take place on March 21, which just happens to fall in the midst of GDC. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.