Coming closer to the launch of the game in a few weeks, EA and Respawn have provided one final look at their upcoming title, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Some previews focused on the combat of the game and how Respawn is trying to make the combat feel deliberate and mindful. In a new interview with vg247, Aaron Contreras and Jeff Magers of Respawn talked about level design, character power levels, and how planets were chosen for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
One of the more interesting aspects that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is it’s focus on exploration and takes cues from games like Metroid, which as Jeff Magers says was something Respawn wanted to do. “When approaching level design, we just want to make a game that we wanna play from an exploration perspective. I really like exploration in games – I like re-traversing planets that you’ve been to before. We thought that this sort of structure of game really fit nicely with our core tenant of ‘becoming a Jedi’ and this kind of hero’s journey, and growing as a character throughout the game.” Early on, players will discover that some paths and areas are blocked off, but as Cal, the main character of the game gains new powers, players will be able to access these areas.”
Aaron Contreras says that ” it’s wedding this design that involves a lot of re-traversal, a lot of secrets, a lot of gates, a lot of kind of exploring and really engaging with the world in order to get more reward out of it – with a traditional cinematic Star Wars story. Making those two things work together has probably been for me one of the most satisfying parts of working on this project.”
Talking about balancing a game where a character is a Jedi who is very powerful against characters who are not, both Jeff and Aaron says that it comes from the focus on the lightsaber and Cal as a character. Jeff said “Going back to when we first started coming up with the lightsaber combat, we really wanted it to feel authentically like a lightsaber. So what that meant for us was killing a stormtrooper in one hit. So that’s where we started, but in a melee game it doesn’t always feel the greatest to just mow through everyone with one hit as you can feel too overpowered. So that’s where we bring in the block meter so you can find windows of opportunity to take down an enemy with one hit, but also if you just go in and swing your lightsaber they’ve got counters to that. The game is really about becoming a Jedi, so it’s starting from the bottom and building yourself up to become very powerful.”
Aaron said “Cal is our hero, and he’s a Padawan who survived Order 66. He’s not all the way there yet. He’s not a master when the game opens. So this is really a hero’s journey of somebody who is coming from a very rocky beginning, he’s had a traumatic past, he’s got a difficult relationship with the force, which he has to overcome some challenges with himself and his belief throughout the course of the game… that’s kind of wedded into our gameplay story and our progression story as well – as Cal grows in this story, the player grows and Cal’s abilities grow throughout the course of the game.”
While discussing which planets to choose for the story where it be places we’ve seen before or new, original locations, Jeff said “Building these planets is a super collaborative effort across the whole team, from concept art to narrative, to level design to enemy design. We really wanted to take both planets that you’ve seen in other media, in other Star Wars properties, and also kind of carve out our own planets as well. They both come with unique challenges and strengths.”
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order launches on November 15, 2019, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.