The PCG Q&A
We've got some mixed feelings about Respawn's upcoming Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order. On one hand, yay, it's a singleplayer game with lightsaber combat. On the other hand, the guy with the lightsaber is decidedly milquetoast when compared to all the cool weirdos in the Star Wars universe. Other than having a great moisturizing routine, Cal Kestis seems like a very run-of-the-mill Jedi.
For this mid-week Q&A, we're putting ourselves in charge of EA's license. If you had your way, who would be the main character of your next favorite Star Wars game?
For our answers below, we've gone with existing Star Wars characters, but if you want to make one up, by all means, go for it. Let us know your picks in the comments.
Jody Macgregor: Captain Edrison Peavey
I like that the new movies continue the tradition of casting British character actors as Imperial officers with the First Order. Captain Peavey, General Hux's smirking sidekick who clearly has no respect for him, is played by Adrian Edmondson—a comedian best-known for his role as a punk called Vyvyan in The Young Ones who solved most of his problems by headbutting them.
That's one reason I want to see him in a videogame, and the other is that I played an Imperial Agent in The Old Republic and just really want another RPG like that. Peavey would be a double agent trying to gather enough intel to make himself valuable before defecting, and you have to choose dialogue options that make it seem like you respect the smug tools in charge and then not be seen rolling your eyes afterward.
Wes Fenlon: Han, Chewie, Bollux & Blue Max
Everyone knows Han and Chewie, but Bollux and Blue Max are a pair of droids mostly lost to Star Wars history. They were in some of the first-ever Star Wars spin-off novels, written way back in 1979 after the first movie. They're also, secretly the best Star Wars novels there are, straight-up pulp adventures that channel the spirit of the sci-fi TV serials George Lucas was inspired by when he wrote Star Wars in the first place. They predate all the later expanded universe stuff and are unconcerned with telling elaborate, multi-arc stories. They're just great adventure books about Han Solo flying around doing Han Solo shit.
So uh, anyway, in these books Han and Chewie are accompanied by a pair of droids. Blue Max is basically just a brain who can hack into anything, and actually hangs out inside Bollux's chest. They're a fun pair to have along on Han's adventures and would work well as sidekicks in an action-adventure game—you'd call them in to hack computer systems, move heavy objects and so on. Mostly I'd just be happy to see an adventure game in the spirit of those books, because they're a lot of damn fun and depict Han in his early roguish years just trying to make a buck.
Christopher Livingston: Lobot, P.I.
Welp, I just went on a fool's errand to find a minor Star Wars character that doesn't already have a rich backstory hoping to invent one of my own. But they don't exist, do they? I mean, that alien with goggles and a trunk who reported Luke and the droids to the Imperials at Mos Eisley in A New Hope? All he did was follow them to the cantina and squeak at a storm trooper, and Wookiepedia tells me his name is Garindan and that he's "the greatest spy in Mos Eisley." R5-D4 has 13 paragraphs and all it did was roll off a truck and explode. The snake in the Death Star garbage masher has a lengthy history and it's just a trash-sucking worm.
So, the hell with it! I'll just say Lobot, Private Investigator. I won't look him up on Wookiepedia because I'm sure his entire life has already been fully chronicled and there's 100 reasons he'd never be a P.I. on Bespin. But throw a fedora on him and I'd play a game where he chain smoked and solved crimes. Cloud crimes.
Tyler Wilde: Ackmena
Ackmena, who was played by Bea Arthur, was introduced in the ridiculous Star Wars Holiday Special, which already makes her a great pick.
She's the night bartender of Chalmun's Cantina in Mos Eisley, wrote a hit musical about Luke Skywalker, and helps free slaves on the side. Who doesn't want to play an RPG about all of that? Half the game would be running the cantina, dealing with rowdy aliens, making contacts and learning gossip, which sounds fun enough on its own, and the other half would be sneaking around Mos Eisley, arranging secret meetings and murdering slavers. The cantina setting also allows for lots of fun cameos, as well as side jobs Ackmena could take as she becomes entwined in the Mos Eisley underground and politics.
I give this game idea 10 out of 10 Star Wars and would play it.
Samuel Roberts: Poe Dameron
I wanted to say 'Potato', which also has its own Wookieepedia page, but I suppose I'll go for someone who's a bit more sensible. I think they should just make a new Rogue Squadron game that's about Poe Dameron and his other X-Wing pals, like Greg Grunberg, and have Oscar Isaac bark motivational lines at his other pilots. Star Wars could use another arcade space shooter, instead of having one built into Battlefront 2 where the level of fun is entirely determined by the other players in your server.
Poe Dameron himself is arguably not much of a character—just a handsome man in a cool orange and black X-Wing (RIP) who spends The Last Jedi making poor decisions. But he's so handsome that it's fine.
John Strike: Nik Sant
This old boy was a member of the rebel strike team that landed on Endor and an alliance veteran, so I reckon he could tell some tales, in a drunk-old-sailor-at-a-bar kind of way. In Return of the Jedi we all watched him help a tribe of dwarves in bear outfits defeat an entire legion of Ian McDiarmid's best men-in-plastic-armour during the mid 80s.
Seriously though, Nik Sant doesn't feature by name in the movie but if you look closely you can see he's the one who steals the outfit from the biker scout that the rebels take prisoner outside the shield generator. Then when Han and the rest of the team are captured you can see grampa Nik surrendering in a sea of imperials, whilst still wearing the disguise.
There are definitely lesser characters with bigger back stories, and I've always loved the way he's already got his own little storyline hiding in plain sight.
Tom Senior: Grand Admiral Thrawn
I'm not sure I want to play as Thrawn, but I want a game about him. He's an intelligent villain with strong motivations. He uses his intellect and resolve to defy anti-Chiss sentiment and work his way up through the Imperial ranks by force of sheer merit. He has a habit of studying his enemies' art and philosophies, if only so he knows how to destroy them most efficiently.
Essentially he's a more nuanced character than you'd typically expect of the Empire and he deserves another appearance in Star Wars videogame canon. Star Wars: The Old Republic teaches us that Imperial Agents are awesome, maybe I want a game where I work with Thrawn to overthrow uprisings in planets across the galaxy. Or maybe I want a Star Wars chess game with Thrawn as the final boss, but he beats you every single time.