A galaxy in turmoil.
With Star Wars Episode VII right around the corner, the galaxy far, far away is on everybody’s mind and predictions are about as common as misquotes from the franchise (seriously, it’s “No. I am your father.” Not, “Luke, I am your father.”) With the Jedi/Sith battle being renewed, it’s inevitably lead to some discussion about video games. And while we’ve had our fair share of winners and losers on the gaming side of Star Wars, a different discussion altogether, sometimes it’s more entertaining to talk about what “could be.”
Rather than leaning on simpler arguments like, “Imagine Knights of the Old Republic, but it takes place during the reign of Vader!” we’re going to instead examine different eras within Star Wars canon. There’s a deep, rich history that spans thousands of years that many fans don’t know about because much of it hasn’t been covered in the movies. Turmoil has existed in the Galaxy since it was created, and some of it is a perfect landscape for the next Star Wars game.
Before the Republic
Origin stories are hit or miss, but there’s so much to experience here that some liberties could be taken in both storytelling and characters. This era spans 12,000 years and sees the foundation of the Je’daii Order which focused on keeping balance with The Force. Balance is hard to keep, especially when lightsabers are involved, and the Order experienced a civil war that led to its eventual fracture, creating the Jedi and the Sith. With a story so diverse and rife with chaos, there are endless possibilities for an RPG classic. Despite being anchored to one planet, Tython, there’s opportunity for travel. The two moons are where exiles are sent to regain balance in the Force, and the nine established Je’daii Temples would allow for different scenery to mingle with an ever-changing cast of characters.
Rise of the Empire
This is technically when the prequel movies took place, but the era lasts a millennium, so there’s more than 950 years of content to experience before we’re supposed to accept the idea of midi-chlorians. To start this era we experienced the Battle of Ruusan (technically the seventh battle) which ended the New Sith Wars. The Sith resort to some pretty drastic measures, which is an event that every Star Wars enthusiast should know about. Experiencing the New Sith Wars through a third-person narrative would be exciting. An action-adventure game that implements use of The Force coupled with blazing fast swordplay would fit in well. Sure, it sounds like Force Unleashed, but instead you’d have more enemies that relate to (and counter) your character’s unique abilities.
A very short period, 20 years, that takes place just prior to Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Despite being only two decades, there’s a massive collection of literature that documents what happened after (spoilers!) the rebellion is victorious. During this era, the New Republic is formed and sets itself to doing good throughout the Galaxy. Prisoners and slaves are freed, planets are liberated, and The New Jedi Order is established. Because of the constant skirmishes, two opportunities exist for a game in the New Republic.
First, implementing a space combat game would make sense because much was happening in space between ships. Besides, the X-Wing Series of novels takes place at the same time and easter eggs could be borrowed. Second, and many of you will scoff in disgust, an RTS would work. Moving from planet to planet and engaging in small skirmishes or massive battles that utilize many iconic vehicles and characters would be exciting. Don’t think Halo Wars, instead think Warcraft.
New Jedi Order
The shortest era in Star Wars history, 12 years doesn’t leave much to work with, except, you know, the two massive invasions that occur. Early on, the Yuuzhan Vong War erupts which forced Luke Skywalker into a confrontation with the Galaxy’s first real threat since founding his new Order. After that, some giant bug-creatures emerge and try to conquer … well, everything. Each event is terse, but violent. Even with Star Wars Battlefront on the horizon, experiencing either conflict from a first-person perspective would be appealing. Every now and again, it’s nice to live in the Star Wars universe without having a lightsaber in your hand, so replacing it with a blaster during either of these events would be a great way to learn about the hell of (Star) Wars.
According to canon, the Legacy Era is the latest, with no ending as of yet. Here’s where we get to see the Second Galactic Civil War break out, and though there’s no lack of combat, it’s the intrigue behind the scenes that makes for the best story. Telltale has done a great job of the “Choose your own adventure” in years past, but whoever takes the reins has their work cut out for them. There’s assassinations, coups, secret alliances, and, of course, the ever-present conflict of Jedi-vs-Sith. Many of the original characters still exist, but not in a capacity where you can expect them to save the day (again). Instead, players would rely on familiar locations and get a chance to experience Star Wars machination from a narrative standpoint.
Josh Smith is a freelance tech and video game writer/podcaster, as well as an olympic medal-winning hugger. He can be found on Twitter at @Sm1ttySm1t.
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