A billion dollars in box office sales, a deluge of licensed merchandise, and a comfortable position atop the trending charts on the internet don’t lie: Star Wars is back in a big, big way.
And honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Seeing a franchise so dear to me return to form is one of the best things I’ve witnessed in in my lifetime, and I’m a tad more than excited to learn about more of the characters and lore from a galaxy far, far away.
While the comics, books, movies and TV shows have been consistently fantastic, there’s one aspect of Star Wars licensing I find overwhelmingly disappointing: the current offering of video games.
In the ‘90s and ‘00s, we had so many great Star Wars games to choose from on virtually every platform; Super Star Wars, Rogue Squadron, Knights of the Old Republic, Podracer (yes really), Republic Commando, Battlefront 2, even the LEGO movie adaptation games. If you fit in the middle of the Venn diagram between Star Wars fans and gamers, you had a generous number of great Star Wars games to extend the experience beyond the movies.
Today, it’s a much more sparse landscape. Star Wars Battlefront is a divisive multiplayer-only shooter in a bit of a content drought, The Old Republic is a solid, yet niche PC MMO, and LEGO’s take on The Force Awakens isn't due to release for a few months. At the moment, Disney Infinity 3.0 offers what I would argue is the best Star Wars character action game currently available .
Otherwise, Star Wars’ presence has been largely found in the mobile space, ranging from Clash of Clans rip-offs to microtransaction-heavy games like Galaxy of Heroes.
There are undoubtedly plans for future Star Wars games on other platforms—we know Amy Hennig is working on something awesome—but as of right now, the franchise deserves better. Like Marvel or DC, it’s applicable to virtually any genre in the gaming sphere, making it all the more frustrating to not have anything on par with the epic nature of The Force Awakens.
So Disney, as an unabashed Star Wars fangirl and a gainfully employed consumer with money I would very much like to give you, allow me to present you with a wish list of Star Wars games to take advantage of current technology.
X-Wing Simulator in VR
Virtual reality is this year’s big tech gamble, and it couldn’t be better suited to deliver an amazing X-Wing flying sim. Having the 1:1 head tracking of EVE Valkyrie mixed with a realistic imagining of an X-Wing cockpit in which you can engage the TIE fighters and Bombers in the space above the Death Star? Marvelous.
Bonus Points: Astromech buddy creation/customization and multiplayer.
Star Wars CCG
Hearthstone took the concepts of a CCG and simplified them into a well-tuned and approachable money-making phenomenon. Since then, we’ve seen multiple announcements and various CCG adaptations for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Plants vs. Zombies, and The Witcher 3.
My vision? Hearthstone, but with Star Wars characters. Secondary characters in the film and television series serve as minions. Major characters serve as heroes for the different classes. What’s that? You can’t breathe? That’s because you’re drowning in money.
Bonus Points: Put it on mobile.
We know a handful of Star Wars anthology films are on the way, including this year’s Rogue One and the eventual Han Solo film. These anthology films are a neat way to explore the lesser-known aspects of Star Wars lore, but they’re just as well suited for video games.
I’m tempted to say a Telltale-style adventure game would be great for these one-off games, but they really could take the form of anything particularly narrative-heavy. One-shots exploring the life of Boba Fett pre-Sarlaac pit, Darth Maul’s intense bisection recovery, seeing the rise of the Knights of Ren... there’s a lot of ground to be covered in the Star Wars universe, and a digestible limited anthology series would be lovely filler to satisfy cravings in between major films.
Bonus Points: Anything about bounty hunters or the Jedi Knights who survived Order 66.
The Star Wars Open World RPG
I’m of two minds on this. On one hand, it’d be great to run around as a Jedi Knight do-gooder in the time of the Old Republic, helping people while maintaining the peace. But on the other, I’d love to explore the situations of people in the galaxy that don’t have the advantage of being Force-sensitive. In fact, give me the chance to experience the seedier sides of the galaxy in a GTA-style open world on a densely populated planet like Coruscant or Nar Shadaa. Take bounties, run death sticks, smuggle weapons for shady political figureheads! Sure, lightsabers are awesome, but sometimes it’s fun to play with the Dark Side. Or, at the very least, the morally questionable side.
Bonus Points: Look, just please bring 1313 back from the dead.
Sabacc and Dejarik
These are a given, seeing as they already exist as popular games in the Star Wars canon. Han Solo famously won the Millennium Falcon in an intense game of Sabacc, while Chewbacca showed off his penchant for winning games of Dejarik in A New Hope. Both are perfectly suited for mobile phones and tablets, each hitting a gambling and strategy note respectively, and both games have been well researched and documented, so you’ve got a leg up on that design doc.
Bonus Points: Multiplayer and physical versions of each. And maybe let you rip the arms off a droid if you lose. Wookies been known to do that.
A Star Wars MOBA/RTS
Thanks to the sheer number of characters, classes, and races within, the Star Wars universe lends itself well to more strategy-oriented genres like MOBAs and RTS games. Standout characters would serve nicely as heroes in a MOBA-style game, which could even be pared down to a more simplified MOBA in the same way as Vainglory on mobile.
We’ve seen strategy games on PC featuring the various units and squadrons on both the sides of the Empire and the Rebellion before. Now, there’s serious room for a strategy war game or RTS pitting foes against each other at various points in the Star Wars timeline, be it the original trilogy, the Clone Wars, or the First Order and the Resistance.
Bonus Points: Look to Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends on how to do FTP right.
A (Real) BioWare Star Wars RPG
Knights of the Old Republic 3 is pretty much off the table since the old Star Wars EU has been hacked apart and burned as fuel for the new canon. And you know what? That’s fine. Really. Because I don’t care if it’s starring Revan or the lone trooper responsible for cleaning TIE fighter grease off the walls of the Death Star’s garbage compactor. BioWare have proven they’re capable of making amazing things out of the Star Wars license, and I’d like to see them at the helm again.
Bonus Points: Actually, I’d kind of like to see where they go with a story focused on the trash compactor operator on the Death Star. Imagine the romance options…
Star Wars: The FPS
Star Wars Battlefront is fine for what it is, but without a real single-player option I'm still left wanting. I’m a shameless apologist for Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64. I realize now it wasn’t an objectively great game, but regardless, I enjoyed a third-person shooter planet-hopping to various points around the galaxy with the discount Han Solo character Dash Rendar.
Maybe approach this from a similar angle to Wolfenstein: The New Order; somewhat grounded with awesome stealth and combat mechanics, but not afraid to allow all hell to break loose in the form of dual-wielding powerful weapons. There’s potential to see something similar here to Shadows of the Empire; take a lesser-known soldier-type from the EU and give players another look at the bases of the Rebels and the Imperials, the politics of both sides, and new secondary military leaders and enemies plotting in the fight to control the galaxy.
Bonus Points: Let me hijack and drive an AT-AT.
Cassidee Moser posted a new article, How the Force Works: A Master Wishlist of Star Wars Games
Sounds like you need to dive into the wonderful weird world that was/is Star Wars CCG
Had Sabacc and Dejarik built into it in a weird way too.
And for Star Wars SP FPS, Republic Commando is the standard.