With EA owning the Star Wars licence, the results from that have been rather pitiful. Not because of the games released, but from a lack of them. Take into account this – since they claimed the licence in 2013 there have only been two console games released by them. Both in the same series. There has been one mobile game released by them, and there are supposedly four games yet to be released by them [one of them being another mobile game]. Now take the period of ten years prior. In 2003 to 2007 [not counting film-based games or LEGO-built ones], we had new entries in the Jedi Knight and Rogue Squadron series, two Knights of the Old Republic games, Galaxies and Empire at War, both Pandemic Battlefronts and Renegade Squadron, and Republic Commando. There were some other handheld and mobile games as well, such as Lethal Alliance. It’s not so much the number of games I’m getting at, but the variety. RPG’s, third-person shooters, strategy, flight-action, first-person shooters. Sure, it might not seem much, but compared with what’s currently available – it was certainly better. If we were to include 2008, we’d have the first Force Unleashed game included in that list.
Now, this post isn’t going to be endless complaining about the lack of games from EA. They should be coming – and hopefully E3 shows us just what they’ve been working on. Instead, I have some ideas for games. I have three to offer, and each focuses on an area that hasn’t really been explored.
The first is a racing game. Now, yes. Racing games have been done before. With Podracing. Here though, Podracing would play a part, but it is more than just podracing. Instead it works to expand what we already know about the sport of racing within the Star Wars universe. After all, we have a number of racing competitions within the real world. NASCAR, F1, WRC, Moto GP, even parkour races, mountain biking, hill climbs, and cross country. I’m not suggesting we suddenly get Podracing GP, Swoop Racer, and other such games on a yearly basis, but instead bring several sports into one game. As I said, podracing would play a part. Starfighters are a thing. Speeder-bikes are a thing. There’s a number of vehicles that can easily fit into a racing championship of some sort.
One aspect of this that is possibly most interesting is bringing a particular sport mentioned in Rogue Planet into the fold. Before a mission that takes a young Anakin Skywalker to the mysterious planet of Zonama Sekot, he sneaks away to take part in the dangerous sport known as pit racing. Coruscant has many large garbage disposal centres, and they became a haven for the illegal sport that pit entrants to dive down to the lowest depths and collect a scale from the worms that live down there before working their way back to the starting area using the glider they’re equipped with. This one would be a side attraction to the main events.
Podracing has been done before in games, but in the modern age it has the chance to appear even faster and even more dangerous. Now that controllers have two analogue sticks, I could even see a revised control scheme that uses them much the same as pods are controlled within the universe. I’m thinking that introducing a world championship would be the best thing to do, with two courses per planet meaning various cups would have a bit of variety to them despite returning to a planet you might have visited in the last. The same could also be used for the other transport methods of the galaxy. Starfighter racing through various planets and the architecture of them. Imagine a race through the towers of Coruscant or around the asteroid station of Polis Massa. A speeder-bike mountain climb course or a risky flight over the lava of Mustafar. They’d be separated by classes, of course, but you get the idea.
From something that’s small to a much larger idea. That being an action-RPG. Now we’ve already had an action-RPG in the form of Knights of the Old Republic, but the only Jedi in this one are the ones you might come across to defeat or capture.
Playing as a bounty hunter, the start of the story involves having your ship stolen by a rival. Stripped back on weapons and stuck on the planet, you work your way to earning a new one on the starting planet as you learn the mechanics of the game, before taking off to new planets to follow your rival and claim your ship back. The reason you need it back is the hidden materials you were meant to be delivering. At some point in the story, you meet up with your rival who says he’s done the job for you, then quickly leaves. But there’s still more reasons to go after him. Like making sure it doesn’t happen again. Along the way, you’ll meet other hunters and various other citizens of the worlds you visit. Some of them will join with you on your adventures, and at one point you get a permanent second member who also has a score to settle with the rival.
As for how this is playing, you get control of your character. You control where they walk, where they aim weapons. There’s a lock-on if you want it, though. You level up your bounty hunter in certain skills, collect new weapons, gain new abilities. You can have four weapons equipped, and four other items to help in battle on the secondary menu. The game Bounty Hunter had a mechanic where you could scan and capture bounties, but was a bit limited. Here, there is a separate guild board for bounties that you can accept, then head to the location to capture them. As with any RPGs, there’s the main quests and the side quests, along with that guild board for extra money. There’s shops on each planet to get the items and weapons you need, and plenty of characters that all have their own place within the world.
The third idea is an action-adventure of linear scope, with numerous characters whose stories intersect throughout. Think similar to Sonic Adventure, but more consistent between stories. There’d be multiple characters fighting for their own reasons. Set a year after Revenge of the Sith, you’d have a Jedi fighting the Empire, striking where he can. A citizen forced from their home, taking up arms against the oppressors. You’d have a Wookiee, who has joined the Empire willingly. A special ops Stormtrooper, tracking down the enemies of the Empire. All four of these have their own stories, and unlike a certain recent release will actually give someone within the Empire a story that has them stay within the Empire. Each of the four start at their own points, and across the adventure meet up at certain points. Each of the four stories need to be completed before the last story – where all four come together to defeat something that is keeping them trapped. Each has their own unique skills that affect how they play. The Wookiee is strong, able to quickly dispatch enemies easily with anything that comes to hand. The Stormtrooper has a range of high-tech weaponry available to use. The Jedi relies on Force powers and a lightsaber. The outcast scavenges weapons to use. There are a few bosses that characters will face individually or together at points they meet. The times where characters meet are the same in each story, but with taking control of the character whose story you are in. For the bosses, you swap to the other character upon reducing the health of one a certain amount. Depending on how many characters are together, that amount changes.
While I haven’t gone in-depth with these ideas, it at least gives some ideas of what can be done. Within a universe as vast as Star Wars, there is plenty to do within it. With just two weeks to go until E3, here’s hoping EA give us the start of a new era of Star Wars games.