Even though Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order began development before FromSoftware’s latest title Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice released earlier this year, Respawn is confirming that Fallen Order is “very similar” to FromSoftware’s demanding Sekiro, at least when it comes to combat.
During an interview for Edge magazine, Lead Combat Designer for Respawn Jasen de Heras said that he was happy to compare the upcoming Star Wars title to the legendary (although not always with positive connotations) combat of Sekiro. Via a report on the interview from gaming site WCCFTech, de Heras and Respawn Entertainment talked about the things the development team learned from playing a ton of FromSoftware games.
“I thought it was pretty badass, and a little comforting to know that you could make this type of game without a stamina bar,” referring to Sekiro being a departure from “Soulsborne” (for the style of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls and Bloodborne) games in that regard. “They let you attack, they let you roll, they do all this for free–and then the AI will tell you if you’re doing the correct thing. It just confirmed to us that you don’t have to limit everything the player does; let them have a little more agency, and then let the AI give them a slap on the wrist or a punch in the face. It was a positive thing for us to know there was a game that was similar to ours. Very similar.”
It’s not about you liking a game, and trying to make that game yourself. It’s more, ‘What can we learn about what’s fun about it?’
Respawn took to heart much of what makes combat in FromSoftware games feel so good (and hurt so bad) when working on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. In fact, they’ve gone way back to some of FromSoftware’s earliest endeavors when referring to their inspirations. “I’ve been a huge FromSoftware fan since King’s Field,” Jedi: Fallen Order Game Director Stig Asmussen said. “I mean, King’s Field II is one of my favorite games ever.”
Another genre that Respawn developers took notes from for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is “Metroidvania,“ a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania that describes a game with interconnected maps, with content gated behind player character abilities or upgrades. Lead Level Designer Jeff Magers explained in an interview with Game Informer on YouTube why Respawn felt “Metroidvania” was right for the story they wanted to tell with Fallen Order.
“Metroid absolutely served as an inspiration for us,” Magers says in the video interview. “What the Metroid-style level design does for us is somewhat [of] a way to give the player guided exploration. A ton of freedom within the world, but at the same time we can deliver really handcrafted moments and really focus on the moment-to-moment.”
Interestingly, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order didn’t start out as a Star Wars game. Speaking with GameSpot, Asmussen said that the original unnamed project caught Respawn Entertainment parent company EA’s attention. The team had set out to create a “Soulsborne,” “Metroidvania” style game. Only later did the decision get made to superimpose the Star Wars universe onto the project, and Armussen said the new dressing fit just right.
“Before working on Star Wars we were working on a different game and it had basically the same pillars that we have in this game, which is thoughtful combat, agile exploration–you know, beyond human–and Metroidvania level design,” Arrmussen explained to GameSpot during EA Play. “The core functionality that we were building for the other game, a lot of the fundamentals, were able to transition over. So we always start with, ‘What is the game? How does it feel? How does it play? What are the mechanics?’ before really figuring out the story. It just so happened this thing that we were working on translated really well.”
It would be a pretty surprising thing if Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is as, um, demanding as a FromSoftware game, but that doesn’t mean a Souls-inspired combat pace and lots of exploration won’t make for a deeply satisfying and rewarding experience. Respawn took Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to this year’s E3 via EA Play with an extended gameplay preview that showed the more paced and thoughtful FromSoftware-esque approach to lightsaber combat.
Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is releasing on November 15th for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.