Between Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and the upcoming Star Wars: Squadrons, we’ve started to get excited about Star Wars games again. But if the Star Wars game franchise is to go forward, it should start by looking back.
Relegated to non-canon ‘Legends’ status since Disney purchased the franchise, the Star Wars Expanded Universe is a rich vein of lore that just begs to be mined. It encompasses hundreds of books and comics, exploring corners of the Star Wars universe that the movies never could.
And while it’s been swept under the Jedi Academy’s carpet, the Expanded Universe’s new status is oddly liberating. With no ties to current continuity, there’s no reason (Lucasfilm willing) that game developers couldn’t dive back into this Expanded Universe and dig out some of those forgotten tales.
So here are five Star Wars Legends stories we’d like to see turned into games.
Itchy. Tasty. Wookiee. (Star Wars: Death Troopers)
Think Resident Evil 2’s Mr X is scary? Try being chased through the corridors of a zombie-filled Star Destroyer by an enraged, flesh-hungry Wookiee. That’s one nightmare facing the protagonists of Death Troopers, a Star Wars novel that screams “survival horror”.
When Kale and Trig Londo’s prison ship breaks down, their captors decide to plunder a classified Imperial Star Destroyer and soon the pair are knee deep in the undead.
It’s not just the legions of zombie Stormtroopers that makes Death Troopers perfect survival horror material, though. Inspired by Alien and The Shining, it’s a grimly claustrophobic tale; stranded in deep space, there’s nowhere to go apart from the gloomy corridors of the Star Destroyer – we could absolutely see this Star Wars story being turned into an Alien Isolation-like game.
Trig and Kale, too, are the every-men that Star Wars games have been lacking. They’re not Jedi, heroes, Rebels or even soldiers – their only ambition is to make it through the day alive. Give Death Troopers to the likes of Capcom and we could be looking at one of the best horror games yet – at least until someone mods Zombie Chewbacca into a thong.
Barely operational battle station (Star Wars: Darksaber)
Star Wars: Darksaber asks: “What if the Death Star was built by absolute idiots?” It features an inept crime syndicate who construct a superweapon using stolen Death Star plans and parts from the lowest bidder. What could possibly go wrong with building a bargain basement version of a battlestation that’s already been blown up twice?
Luke Skywalker and company get a look in, but Darksaber’s real entertainment value is in seeing the syndicate’s blunders mount up. Like watching the Chuckle Brothers assemble a guillotine, you know it’s going to end in disaster but you just can’t look away.
We’d love to see Darksaber as a Star Wars-themed take on Landlord’s Super, a construction sim which already throws you in at the deep end. Can’t make head or tail of those Death Star plans? Someone’s ordered the wrong type of laser lens? Tough luck. You’ve got six months or Durga the Hutt will have your head.
Loose canon (Star Wars: Tag & Bink Were Here)
As entertaining as Star Wars is, there are times it takes itself too seriously. Kevin Rubio’s comic spoof is the perfect antidote to the franchise’s po-facedness, starring a pair of well-meaning idiots who get mixed up in half of the movies’ events.
The missing planet Obi-Wan Kenobi was looking for? Tag and Bink accidentally deleted it. Wonder why Chewbacca didn’t get a medal? Totally Tag and Bink’s fault. If they’re not giving Anakin Skywalker dating advice, they’re stealing Boba Fett’s armor or mooching off Lando Calrissian.
Their canon status was questionable even before Disney picked up the Expanded Universe and threw it down a reactor shaft, but Tag and Bink’s shenanigans beg for more exploration. We’d pay good money for an episodic, tongue-in-cheek series that dives into the final Star Wars trilogy or, even better, let us shake things up a bit. The Rise of Skywalker may have crushed our hopes of Poe and Finn being a couple but we’re sure, with a few carefully forged notes, Tag and Bink could set things right.
M.A.S.H. Wars (Star Wars: Medstar 1 – Battle Surgeons)
In Star Wars, death is frequently PG rated; get sliced in half and your blood and internal organs stay obligingly in place as your corpse tumbles out of view. That’s not the case in Medstar 1: Battle Surgeons, which follows the trials of a group of Republic medics, struggling to deal with the Clone Wars’ casualties.
Their gruesome exploits run parallel to the novel’s central story, delivered with a sanity-preserving dose of gallows humor. Here, soldiers don’t die neatly; they bleed out on the operating table while a surgeon jokes about having enough shrapnel to build a new battle droid. It’s a bold take on Star Wars, bringing home the bloody reality of the prequel trilogy’s conflict.
We wouldn’t say no to Theme Hospital: Star Wars, treating ailments like Bloaty Helmet and Ingrown Clonenail, but Medstar deserves a more complex take. Do you save the clones the Republic has deemed expendable when there are civilians in need of treatment? What if it comes down to them and the Jedi Master who’s saved your life more than once? Triage and tough choices are what we need.
Star Wars: Dark Lord (Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader)
How do you reconcile the Darth Vader of the original Star Wars trilogy with the grumpy teenager in Revenge of the Sith? Written partly from Vader’s perspective, James Luceno’s Rise of the Darth Vader begins to bridge the narrative gap.
It depicts a man stewing in his own rage, crammed into a suit which scrapes and scratches at his already ravaged flesh, barely able to think for the rasp of his breathing apparatus. So when a group of Clone Troopers defy Order 66, he welcomes the opportunity to vent his hatred.
It’s this raw, primal Darth Vader that deserves to be experienced on the small screen. He’s been a playable character in Battlefront 1 and 2, but has never the subject of his own title. We’d kill for a Darth Vader Soulslike, not just to have the power of the saga’s infamous villain at our fingertips, but also delve into his tortured psyche – and maybe force-choke an Ewok or two.