SWCC 2019: 5 Things We Learned from the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Panel

“Don’t stand out. Accept the past. Trust no one.”

Respawn Entertainment is here at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, and the company has brought something very exciting with them: the story reveal trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This is the developer behind Titanfall, the massively acclaimed Titanfall 2, and mega-hit battle royale Apex Legends, and this fall they’re bringing players the first all-story, single-player-only Star Wars game since 2010’s The Force Unleashed II. Saturday’s Celebration panel in Chicago featured a discussion between host David Collins, game director Stig Asmussen (God of War III), Respawn CEO Vince Zampella (Call of Duty), narrative lead Aaron Contreras (BioShock Infinite), producer Kasumi Shishido, and the Lucasfilm Story Group’s Steve Blank.

Here’s what we know about Fallen Order so far.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

1. Fallen Order is a single-player experience, full stop. Players won’t find any multiplayer component in this narrative-focused Star Wars game. “Star Wars is part of my DNA. It helped form who I am,” Respawn’s Vince Zampella said. “This is a Jedi fantasy story game: no multiplayer.” At that moment, the entire arena erupted with applause. Fans of classic titles like Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and The Force Unleashed have been hungering for a story-centric Jedi action game for roughly a decade, and Fallen Order aims to deliver on the promise of Lucasfilm’s story tradition as well as Respawn’s penchant for phenomenal gameplay.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

2. Lucasfilm and Respawn spent at least a year nailing down Fallen Order’s world, story, premise, and characters. While director Stig Asmussen and Zampella assembled a crack team of industry vets, producer Kasumi Shishido worked closely with Steve Blank and the rest of the Story Group at Lucasfilm to ensure Fallen Order would align with the established canon. During the panel, Respawn showed off concept art while describing the game’s “slow and steady” pre-production timeline. The project went through a number of iterations while art and narrative found a story worth telling.

Like the best of the films, Jedi: Fallen Order will introduce players to a host of new planets and characters that feel authentic to the rest of the Star Wars universe. “I can tell you that I’m super confident that we’re onto something,” Asmussen said.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

3. Fallen Order is all about visceral, one-on-one combat. “They wanted to put a lightsaber in the player’s hand,” Blank said. To that end, Respawn’s designers, engineers, and animators went through a similarly iterative process, developing a combat loop that would empower players with evolving lightsaber abilities and Force powers. But as a Jedi on the run in the wake of Order 66, it was important to achieve a balance: “thoughtful combat” that’s easy to pick up but still allows for a sense of depth. Respawn wants players who spend a lot of time with the game to feel a sense of mastery — of their saber technique and the Force. “It’s not a button-masher,” said Asmussen.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

4. Actor Cameron Monaghan plays former Padawan Cal Kestis. Cameron Monaghan of Gotham and Shameless fame portrays Fallen Order protagonist Cal Kestis, a Jedi pupil on the run from the Emperor’s relentless Inquisitors. Kestis works for an organization called the Scrapper Guild, salvaging the wreckage of fallen capital ships in the aftermath of the Clone Wars. Monaghan grew up watching the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS, replaying his favorite Darth Vader scenes until the analog tape started to wear out and grew fuzzy.

“If I told that kid he was gonna swing a lightsaber one day, I think his brain would’ve exploded,” Monaghan joked. During the casting process, Monaghan’s audition clip was placed in a folder marked “Other,” meaning he was unlikely to land the role. But when game director Stig Asmussen saw the video, he knew they’d found their Jedi hero.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

5. While the game tells a fresh, original story full of new characters, it also ties into the larger world of Star Wars storytelling. One of Fallen Order’s headlining baddies is the Jedi hunter known as the Second Sister, one of the Emperor’s Sith Inquisitors. She was created by writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli for their acclaimed run on Marvel’s Darth Vader, and appeared for the first time in issue #19. Another Soule-Camuncoli creation, the red-eyed purge troopers, will also play a prominent role in the game as elite stormtroopers specially trained to fight Jedi — making them all too eager for the day they finally come face to face with one of the dwindling Order’s last.

Some of the game’s all-new creations include Seer, played by MadTV alum and voice actress Debra Wilson, and a droid named BD-1, whom narrative lead Aaron Contreras based on his own beloved dog. BD-1’s voice has been devised and performed by none other than legendary Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt.

“[Fallen Order] is an absolute labor of love,” said Story Group’s Steve Blank.

“We’re putting our heart and soul into this game,” producer Kasumi Shishido added, “so we really can’t wait to show you more.”

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order launches November 15, 2019, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Check out more screenshots from the trailer below!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order screenshot.

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Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Fangoria, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

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