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What these two Star Wars games can teach Disney  | The Triangle
Opinion

What these two Star Wars games can teach Disney 

Photo by Tdorante10 | Wikimedia

Everyone has heard of “Star Wars,” but many people who are current undergraduate students missed out on the golden age of “Star Wars” games. The 2000s were filled with back-to-back releases of games that came out on all platforms including the original “Star Wars Battlefront,” “Star Wars: Empire at War” and “Star Wars: Republic Commando.” Lucasfilm Games LLC was known for innovation and the result was a lot of interesting content that had never been seen before. Add to that the fact that the internet did not control everyone’s lives the way it does now, and it was the perfect mix for success.

In 2012, George Lucas sold “Star Wars” to Disney. The result was a more tightly controlled vision for the direction of the franchise. From a business standpoint, this likely made sense, but the “Star Wars” fan base had become accustomed to enjoying alternative forms of “Star Wars” media beyond movies and TV shows. Books and games were the primary media that expanded the “Star Wars” universe; not shows on streaming platforms. This meant that a lot of people were able to create the version of the Star Wars universe that they wanted. In video games, players were able to customize their characters or create headcanons for why certain things took place. Online forums could be used to discuss different theories, but at the end of the day, no one was right or wrong. A big reason many fans are frustrated with Disney’s takeover of the “Star Wars” franchise is that the influx of new films and TV shows has wiped out the version of the “Star Wars” universe that they had spent years creating, resulting in a lot of resentment.

This idea of story customization in the “Star Wars” universe leads me to the two greatest “Star Wars” games ever made — “Knights of the Old Republic” 1 and 2. These two games allowed players to fully customize their characters, choose light or dark side paths and become Jedi if they wanted to. The level of customization allowed the player to create their own story which was what fans of the films have enjoyed since the original film came out in 1977. While many people debate which game is superior, both are unique experiences that offer fleshed-out stories with intriguing characters. The RPG mechanics may be clunky for some modern players, but the story is a must for anyone who is a Star Wars fan.

In 2021, a remake of the original “Knights of the Old Republic” game was announced for PC and PlayStation. Questions have begun to circulate about the viability of the project with some believing that the remake will never happen at all. After all, it has been three years and there is still no release date in sight. As fans speculate about what a possible game could look like, the most important aspect of the game must remain the same — the ability to create your own story.

Many people accuse the “Star Wars” fandom of being toxic. In reality, a lot of people are just resentful that their version of “Star Wars” has been nullified by a company obsessed with churning out new shows at record speeds. As Disney has tightened its grip on the “Star Wars” IP, it has created a scenario where they can never make fans happy. Regardless of what they do, they will be going against the ideas fans have created for major characters throughout decades of books, games and fan projects.

As Embracer Group, the company making the “Knights of the Old Republic” remake, moves forward in the project it will be important for them to remember this spirit of customization to be successful. Fans of the series do not need the same mechanics as the original game, but they do need an equal amount of customization. As “Star Wars” has become more tightly controlled under Disney, the ability for fans to be creative has been constricted. The best way to counter this is to create games that put the story back into the hands of fans and let them decide what path they want to take. Disney needs to pump the brakes with all these TV shows and films and understand that what made “Star Wars” so great in the first place was the opportunity for fans to work on their own stories.