Pinball FX3 arrives today as the new home on consoles and PC for Star Wars Pinball, and it has made Star Wars Pinball more powerful than you can possibly imagine. There are new multiplayer options, tournaments, single-player experiences, and graphics upgrades. Even table physics have been further perfected. Plus, you can import all of your previous Star Wars Pinball tables for no charge. Pinball FX3 is available for free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Win10, and Steam (and is also on mobile as Zen Pinball), and comes with a free table — so now is the time to jump onboard. To get the full details on all of Pinball FX3‘s special modifications for Star Wars Pinball, StarWars.com caught up over e-mail with Peter Grafl, pinball table designer and senior pinball consultant at Zen Studios.
StarWars.com: The multiplayer options have really expanded with this update. Why was that element important to the team?
Peter Grafl: One of our biggest goals with Pinball FX3 was to radically change the console and PC pinball experience from being an isolated single-player experience, to a fun social experience. Pinball has traditionally been single player focused and we felt that the climate of gaming has changed so much and is really focused on connected social experiences, and pinball should follow the same path. We wanted to see our community interacting with each other as much as possible, so we built a really awesome platform with features like user-generated tournaments and a really fun multiplayer matchup system. These allow players to have unending competitive play, which we are really excited about.
StarWars.com: The single-player system has also seen on overhaul. What can you tell us about it?
Peter Grafl: The single-player experience now features six different single player game modes in Pinball FX3, when previously there had only been one in Pinball FX2. The single-player challenges are designed to help develop pinball skill, which is directly related to player feedback over the years. So many people wanted to become better at pinball instead of just hitting the ball around for a few minutes, so we took that feedback and came up with some really fun single-player modes. Along with these modes comes an overall progression system, so you will level up as you progress through the game and follow the path to becoming a pinball wizard.
We also developed table UPGRADES and WIZARD POWERS which are passive and active “power up” methods that can help you score even higher than you normally could. Most of these very cool and unique features, like rewinding time or the modes where there is a time limit and you have an infinite number of balls, have never been seen in any other pinball game in history yet.
StarWars.com: Older Star Wars tables are playable in Pinball FX3 and have received a bit of a facelift. What went into updating them?
Peter Grafl: We spent a tremendous amount of time updating and improving the entire Star Wars Pinball collection including a brand new real-time lighting system with real-time shadows. The tables look absolutely stunning with the new graphics. As you play through the tables, you will unlock Mastery Rewards such as character models which you can rotate and view to see the detail in the models — which we are very proud of here at Zen Studios.
StarWars.com: Did you use the opportunity to tweak or fix anything on previous tables?
Peter Grafl: The new game gave us the perfect opportunity to update and fine-tune older tables. Older Star Wars Pinball tables received some physical updates to bring them up to par with the newer Star Wars Pinball tables and with real-life pinball machines. Furthermore, the gameplay of many older tables received an overhaul. For example, we fixed some score exploits, some small bugs, and problems which we didn’t have a chance to do until now. We want players on all skill levels to experience the most exciting moments of Star Wars Pinball, so we made other changes such as with the Empire Strikes Back table, we added the sixth scene mode to the selectable ones from the beginning of the game. This is where you can duel with Darth Vader from a first-person view. Previously, this was only playable if all the previous five main modes were completed.
StarWars.com: What are you most looking forward to players experiencing in Pinball FX3?
Peter Grafl: As a pinball junkie and someone who cares deeply about the game’s history, I think Zen is really doing a good job of driving the evolution of the game and bringing new people to play who have never discovered the game. I am really excited to see how the community comes together with the new multiplayer systems, and I’ll be honest — I want to play against some crazy good competition!
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer and editor of the StarWars.com blog. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.