Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is getting a substantial expansion to the combat system first seen in 2019's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. In an interview with Game Informer, game director Stig Asmussen explained the game features "five fully realized [combat] stances" intended to make protagonist Cal Kestis a much more flexible fighter.
"A lot of it depends on the enemy that you're coming across," Asmussen says in the interview. "It requires the player to break down the enemies and figure out what the best weapon of choice is."
We've seen glimpses of a couple of these stances in the recently revealed trailer, which show Kestis fighting with dual lightsabers and a double-bladed lightsaber made famous by Darth Maul. Other new stances include a "Heavy" stance based around a crossguard saber as used by Kylo Ren. "It's weighty; it's beefy. But you have to be very measured on how you use it because the timing windows are longer" Asmussen explains.
One of the most unusual stances lets Kestis wield a lightsaber and a blaster simultaneously, a style which Asmussen claims "Speaks to where we find Cal in this part of the story". Going further, he adds. "It's been five years since the first game, and the dark times are still in full swing. He's an unconventional Jedi, and he has to do unconventional things. So, something that would be frowned upon during the height of the Jedi Order? Cal's finding he's going to do whatever it takes."
While the chat focusses mainly on combat, Asmussen does provide a few details on the broader mechanics of the game. Survivor expands the platforming element of Fallen Order, with Kestis able to use an ascension cable for fast traversal of chasms and cliffs, and the ability to tame and ride mounts, which Asmussen explains will be used "to negotiate and dominate the world." Kestis will also be accompanied by a new character, a mercenary named Bode Akuna with whom Kestis forms "a special bond" and who will aid Kestis both in and out of combat.
From a fighting perspective, it sounds like Survivor is aiming to be what Raven Software's Jedi Academy was to Jedi Outcast. The question is whether Respawn can apply those new styles to more interesting encounters. While I liked Fallen Order in parts, far too much time was spent chopping up small animals rather than stormtroopers, a waste of a potentially rich combat system. I also hope the story has more meat on it than Fallen Order, which seemed to struggle with being set between the events of episodes III and IV. Either way, we'll find out how Survivor stacks up when it launches in March next year.