Revisiting Star Wars: Republic Commando — with Its Lead Programmer

StarWars.com checks in with Brett Douville about making -- and replaying -- a video game classic.

If you’re a Star Wars fan who enjoys video games, then you’ve probably checked out some of programmer Brett Douville’s work. He helped the team at LucasArts craft the wonderful Starfighter series, and his magnum opus with the company was when he served as lead programmer on 2005’s Star Wars: Republic Commando.

More recently, though, you might have heard about his live-streamed — and archived on YouTube — playthrough of Republic Commando. While in an interview with me he said the first stream had, “no audience,” he quickly started getting notifications on his phone after the archive went live and, thanks largely to social networks like Twitter, word got out to media sites and they picked up the story.

As someone who has written for various gaming media sites, it doesn’t surprise me that Douville’s playthrough is gaining support. Rarely do journalists or consumers get to talk directly with programmers, or hear about the various problems and decisions made during development — something Douville doesn’t shy away from during his playthroughs. Even better, he gets special guests to join him as he narrates them. Check out the first his playthroughs right here:

So why pick a game that’s 10 years old when you’re a developer with 17 years of titles under your belt? For Douville it’s because the game was, “a culmination of my career at LucasArts,” and that, “Republic Commando is really very special, we were encouraged by the company to make it as good as it could be.” Douville’s happy to have had a chance to be a part of a game that resonates with people, and “was the last time he could see himself on screen” in terms of his decisions and actions actually making obvious marks on the game’s development. This is increasingly hard to do with teams getting larger and larger, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of people to make AAA productions.

So with more parts to come for the Republic Commando playthrough, I couldn’t help but ask Douville if he’d consider doing more playthroughs of his work now that it’s picking up steam.“I could see possibly doing it for Starfighter,” said Douville, “but I haven’t really given it any thought…I thought I’d do this thing with Republic Commando, I thought maybe 10 people would be interested and it kinda blew up a little bit bigger than that.” If you love Star Wars, have a fascination or even passing interest in how games or made, or just like “Let’s Plays” on YouTube, I can’t recommend Douville’s series enough. If you’re interested in checking out Republic Commando for yourself, you can find it on Steam and GOG.com.

Brett Douville is now an independent programmer and game designer. You can find him on Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube.

Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.

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