Even if you hate EA, you should still support Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a single player game published by EA. That's an actual statement. It's not a wish. It's not a rumor. Star Wars Jedi is, in fact, a single player game, and it's being published by EA. Maybe developer Respawn Entertainment's CEO Vince Zampella has some crazy magical powers that allow him to do such things despite the fact that EA has pretty much pushed hard on multiplayer and microtransactions. Oh, Star Wars Jedi also won't include microtransactions.
Oh, it's true. Confirmed on the EA Star Wars Twitter account on April 12, fans were surprised to see the words: “No microtransactions. No loot boxes. And no, we won't be adding them. A single-player Star Wars story for those of you who are ready to become a Jedi.”
If you're a Star Wars fan who's been yearning for a single player Star Wars game, and you want more Star Wars adventures in the future, you should probably support Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Addressing the Tauntaun in the Room
Look, I get it. A lot of folks aren't thrilled with EA these days. It's hard to blame 'em, too. Anthem turned out to be a failed project that a lot of people feel toyed with their expectations. Not to mention the game's multiple release options were utter garbage. No one's forgotten the Star Wars Battlefront II fiasco, either. A poor progression system, a bevy of microtransactions, and those oh-so-sinister loot boxes all made for one of the most controversial game launches in recent memory.
Even I was pretty peeved with EA when Titanfall 2 launched in 2016. The timing of that game's release couldn't have been any worse than it was. The game was sandwiched between Call of Duty and Battlefield, two acclaimed, established titles that had more notoriety than the Titanfall series. It almost felt like EA was sabotaging that game's success by releasing it during a window where it stood absolutely no chance to make an impact in the FPS market.
But EA has exclusive rights to the Star Wars franchise, so that's the company that's going to publish Star Wars games for the foreseeable future. But EA's publishing rights over the Star Wars series don't need to be a bad thing. As a matter of fact, we shouldn't let that be a bad thing, especially when a credible developer like Respawn Entertainment is at the helm of the game's development.
As consumers, we have a voice, and we need to use it — responsibly, but we should definitely voice our opinions and concerns. You could argue that EA doesn't listen to the people, and who can blame anyone for feeling that way? The company has made decisions that range from questionable to outright terrible. But we can't forget the other important factor in this whole thing: Respawn Entertainment.
Since being acquired by EA, Respawn has announced various projects. Respawn is responsible for Apex Legends, arguably the best battle royale game out right now. And while that game may have been pushed to launch a touch prematurely — very possibly because EA knew Anthem would flop — it's a quality experience, and Respawn has been at the forefront of fan interaction for that game. Updates, a season pass, new content. Respawn's handling of Apex Legends may not be the most speedy, but the studio is putting care and attention into the game.
Respawn listens its fans, but the company also cares about its team. With Apex Legends, the content has been trickling through. Fans may be hungry for more — I know I am — but the studio is putting in the work to create something meaningful. Per Executive Producer Drew McCoy, the reason for the slower release of content is so that Respawn's employees won't be overworked, something that's been reportedly the case at multiple studios including Epic and Rockstar. In an age where discussions of “workism” are becoming more and more frequent, it's nice to see a big name studio that cares about its employees.
“The studio culture that we've worked hard to cultivate, and the health of our team are very important,” said McCoy in a blog post. “We take those things into account when we discuss our content roadmap, the production schedule, and the frequency in which we can update the game. Our long-term goal is to ensure Apex Legends always feels alive and thriving, with a focus on quality of content over novelty or speed of release. At the same time, we want to maintain our culture as a development team and avoid crunch that can quickly lead to burnout or worse.”
While that statement from McCoy refers specifically to the Apex Legends team, it likely extends across the board at Respawn Entertainment, both in terms of the studio's employees' health and dedication. Ultimately, developers want to make good games, and that includes the team at Respawn that's working on Star Wars Jedi. People will say that EA doesn't listen, and hell, those people won't get much of an argument from me, but Respawn certainly does listen. There's only so much the studio can do within a certain time frame, but the company listens.
There's one thing that Respawn does even better than listening to its fans. The developer makes great games. Titanfall was a great multiplayer experience. Titanfall 2 was even better, and it featured one of the most satisfying single player campaigns in an FPS. Apex Legends is a great battle royale game. I'm not going to unknowingly jump ahead and say that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be great, too, but I will say that I believe it certainly can be, because Respawn hasn't given anyone reason to believe otherwise.
Respawn and the Single Player Experience
I've sunk countless hours into the online multiplayer component in Titanfall 2. It's fast, it's action-packed, and it's addictive. Part of what made Titanfall 2 so incredible, however, was its inclusion of an insane and rewarding single player campaign. At just about six hours, it wasn't terribly long, but it left a lasting impression. I still talk up the game's single player component in casual conversations with friends. It's so damn good!
The reason the campaign succeeded was its variety. Each chapter focused on a different gameplay mechanic, and then it would tie multiple elements together in a cohesive, organic fashion. There were charming story beats, captivating missions, and a whole lot of fun to be had.
Star Wars Jedi could have all those things, too. We don't know much about the game, but we know a lot about Respawn. These developers make good gameplay experiences, and I believe they want Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to be a great gameplay experience.
Speaking to Press Start, Director Stig Asmussen indicated that Zelda and Metroid were two influences for Star Wars Jedi. “A lot of it’s influenced by, you know — If you look at a game like Zelda: Wind Waker, as you get different abilities, each enemy is crafted in a certain way, or even Metroid, or something like that, the enemies are crafted in a certain way that once you upgrade, you can think about how you’re going to approach them differently, and maybe they aren’t as big a challenge as they were at one point.”
Prior to these statements, rumors arose that the game would feature methodical, Souls-esque combat. Whether or not those rumors are true, one thing is certain: Respawn is trying to make a game where the combat feels good, and where the world is wholly interactive and relies on your ability to adapt the further you get. The team wants to put attention to the gameplay mechanics and the world built around those mechanics, as well as do right by fans of Star Wars and video games in general to create a gameplay experience that's meaningful and memorable.
Supporting an EA-Published Game in 2019
EA has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. But I'm a huge Respawn fan. I'm also a Star Wars fan. I want Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to succeed because I want Respawn to succeed, and because I want a good single player Star Wars story in 2019.
EA needs to understand that single player experiences aren't going the way of the dodo. Aside from niche single player games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a game published by the giant that is Activision, there's certainly room for big-budget single player games.
We want them, and we have to prove that we want them. If Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is both a critical and commercial success, it could mean the dawn of something special: more Star Wars games, yes, but also more single player projects where a big name publisher like EA actually has faith in the product.
It's evident that Respawn Entertainment genuinely wants to create something awesome for fans. Yes, the studio falls under the corporate EA umbrella, but I've long believed that Respawn is a studio comprised of good folks who love making games. That's a studio I want to fully support, both because I believe the people who work there are decent individuals and because I want them to continue making the games we all want to play.