While the Star Wars universe is mostly concerned with Jedi shenanigans, from movies to comics to videogames, it turns out that Lucasfilm is incredibly protective of its lightsaber-swinging warriors. This was a problem when Respawn pitched Jedi: Fallen Order. It all worked out in the end, with a Jedi in the driving seat and a sequel, Jedi: Survivor, coming on April 28. But Respawn had to fight for its concept.
"[T]o Lucasfilm, the Jedi are like the holy grail," game director Stig Asmussen told The Guardian. "I mean, it's something that they're probably the most protective of, except for maybe Baby Yoda. So we had to kind of earn that. We had to go through a whole process of, why do you want it to be a Jedi? What do you want to do with the Jedi?"
Lucasfilm suggested a compromise. "They were really uncomfortable with Jedi," said Asmussen, "and they said, 'Let's reset this. Let's call this character a force user.'" Given that Jedi: Fallen Order takes place after the destruction of the Jedi Order, it feels a bit like Lucasfilm was just quibbling over semantics, but it also suggested a very different direction, with the game focusing on a bounty hunter or smuggler.
We almost had a bounty hunter game with Star Wars: 1313 and a pirate romp with Project Ragtag, but both projects were cancelled. Clearly, though, Lucasfilm still thought a Jedi-less game had some legs.
Asmussen, however, was not remotely interested in making something like that. "I'm like, well I think you have the wrong person for the job. That's not my background. My background came from God of War … I've never worked on a shooter, and you need a different team to do that. You might as well be asking me to make a racing game."
Lucasfilm eventually acquiesced and we ended up with Jedi: Fallen Order and its hero, the impressively bland Cal Kestis. As much as I would have loved to play through a bounty hunter or smuggler game, it feels like the right call. Fallen Order is far from one of my favourite Star Wars games, but fighting stormtroopers as Cal kept me entertained all the way through the first game. A gun simply isn't a match for a lightsaber and force powers.
Still, I would love to see more games ignore the Jedi, or at least put someone else—someone with absolutely no connection to the force—in the spotlight. Failing that, give us some Sith. They always seem like they're having a lot of fun.