As we get closer and closer to the release date of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I for one, am trembling with excitement. Once again, we will get the chance to play the renegade Jedi Knight; Cal Kestis, alongside his loyal droid BD-1 as they face new obstacles and enemies on their journey.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor comes out on April 28th and with its delay it has fans, (myself included), quite antsy to find out what Respawn has in store for us. The introduction of Cal Kestis and BD-1 to the Star Wars universe back in 2019 with the release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order gave us all a fresh viewpoint on Order 66 and the new Galactic Empire’s reign.
We joined Cal’s adventure from exploring new worlds like the sinister planet of Dathomir to running for our lives from the most feared Dark Lord in the galaxy as we learned to survive the unrelenting Empire and their Inquisitors.
Now in Survivor, we will see the scope of Cal’s potential as a fully-fledged Jedi Knight and see just how much he has matured. Set five years after the events of Fallen Order, Cal must now face even greater enemies and overcome new challenges that will truly test his skills as a Jedi. So, what does this mean for us as players? What can we expect to see Cal do and experience as we go toe-to-toe with the Empire once again?
Here is what I’m most excited to see continued in Cal’s story…
So, Who’s In the Bacta Tank?
To address the bacta tank in the room, who exactly is that swimming around in there? There has been a lot of focus on this mysterious character and it has me hooked to see if I can figure out who it is. This is what I love the most about Star Wars, the anticipation of the big reveals that showcase just how broad the list of planets, characters, and things it has to offer. This bacta tank character is no different, teasing us for what is to come as we all speculate on who will be the next addition to Cal’s story. So, what gives? Who is this guy?
Theory #1: Starkiller’s Heroic Return
Is it possible that this new character could be Respawn’s attempt to bring Starkiller back into canon? Since the events of Survivor are set ten years after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, it’s plausible that this is an aged version of Starkiller, who was an apprentice of Vader back in the Force Unleashed games. This series of games was part of the few that I played religiously as a kid, so seeing Starkiller on screen again in a Star Wars game would be awesome!
Director Stig Asmussen said, “The game is all about survival. That’s why it’s called Jedi: Survivor. They are in dark times, and Cal and the crew are doing whatever it takes to stay alive.”
An introduction of Starkiller into Star Wars canon would be an unexpected twist in Cal’s story that would force him to make hard decisions. If staying alive means an alliance with Starkiller despite their own views on it, I wonder what new challenges this would present to our heroes.
Theory #2: A High Republic Jedi Knight
My own personal theory is that this mysterious character is from the High Republic Era of Jedi Knights and may be a character we have not been introduced to yet. The robes of this mysterious character seem to be hinting towards that, with the classic golden details reminiscent of what the High Republic Jedi Knights would wear. To learn more about the High Republic Era and what it meant to both the Jedi and the Galactic Republic read about it here!
With Quantic Dream’s narrative-driven Star Wars: Eclipse in the works it’s highly plausible that these games will be tied in together somehow and add a character from this era into Cal’s story. This is something I’m dying to see as we still have very little information on Eclipse and tying the two games together would be an amazing addition to the story. One of the staples of the High Republic era that Star Wars: Eclipse will touch on when it comes to Jedi Knights is their use of cross-guard lightsabers, much like Kylo Ren’s in the sequel trilogy.
This might tie into Cal’s new cross-guard lightsaber that featured in the official reveal trailer last year, as this new character gives him the knowledge of what he experienced as a High Republic Jedi. This might even play out as him becoming another teacher for Cal, giving him knowledge that Cere Junda might not be able to. The breadth of knowledge that this individual would have would be game-changing for what we currently know about the High Republic, giving us the perspective of a man who had lived through it and has now been taken out and into the future.
Whoever is in that tank will no doubt cause some kind of conflict for Cal, good or bad, and push him to make some decisions on what kind of Jedi he is going to be. We won’t be able to know for sure until we play it, but I’m excited to see its effects on the story going forward.
New Fighting Styles Are Coming Our Way
The new fighting styles that were revealed in an interview with Jedi Survivor director Stig Asmussen have me ramped up and ready to slay some droids! The latest footage has shown that Cal has picked up a few new moves in the five years he’s been on the run, showcasing new finishing attacks and flourishes that have evolved from the movements we have already seen from him.
When I was playing with the combat in Fallen Order it felt fluid with each strike Cal made, never feeling like he was just flailing his lightsaber around and hoping he hit something. As he progressed in the story, he gained more skills and knowledge that helped him grow as a warrior and it gave me the feeling that I was on the same journey with him from Padawan to Jedi.
With Cal now having five more years as a Jedi under his belt it truly shows just how much he has improved in the fighting styles we have seen so far. The combat focus in Survivor seems to be an improvement on the previous game, with the style of Cal’s attacks against all of his opponents not being centered on having a hack-and-slash type of play but giving players the ability to use strategy to take down their opponents.
This is something I was thrilled they decided to continue to improve on, the combat was always enjoyable to do, and I never felt like I had to avoid confronting certain enemies to make up for any shortcomings. The three styles we had in the first game were perfectly built upon the other and created an amazing progression for both the story and the mechanics.
Only three out of five styles were showcased in the official gameplay trailer that was released during the 2022 Game Awards, with the classic single-blade lightsaber being the more prominent one. The double-bladed lightsaber style made most popular by Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace will also return, as well as the dual-bladed lightsabers that we saw Cal obtain after successfully repairing his Master’s lightsaber.
The new kids on the block are the cross-guard lightsabers made most popular by the sequel character, Kylo Ren, and another one that wasn’t shown in the trailer but teased by the director is a combo of Cal using a blaster and his lightsaber. We have seen something similar before with Ezra Bridger’s first lightsaber he made in the Star Wars: Rebels show that had a blaster integrated into the hilt and I wonder if the creators drew from Ezra’s rebellious Jedi ways to reflect Cal’s own differences.
This uncivilized way of fighting, at least according to Obi-Wan Kenobi, would be frowned upon by the Jedi Council of the past, but now Cal is doing whatever it takes to survive, even if it means he uses unconventional means. It’s incredible to see these little nods towards other types of Star Wars content being made by the developers and it adds some depth to Cal’s character that speaks to the trials he has faced in his life.
These additions to Cal’s repertoire of skills add some never-before-seen mechanics in Star Wars games. The different fighting choices add an advanced problem-solving mechanic to the game that will change each player’s experience based on the style they favor, giving this game such great replayability.
No More Needless Running Around!
Finally! I think most of us who have played Fallen Order can agree that the mind-numbing backtracking you had to do to find loot or complete missions was quite tedious. Getting to certain areas took forever to walk back to and usually posed a problem if there were certain enemies to stop you along the way. Jedi Survivor director; Stig Amussen answered this problem by letting players tame and ride certain creatures, allowing you to move quickly between areas as well as fast travel between the checkpoints you have already been to.
“We will feature both fast travel and rideable creatures to help players quickly get from point A to B, and back to A…the fast travel is point to point, and the rideable creatures offer a way to quickly negotiate between points and explore what is in between,” says Asmussen.
And honestly, I’m so happy to hear this, it was something I thought was lacking the most in Fallen Order, especially since Jedi often interacted with different creatures through their shared connection with the Force. With them now being an integrated part of the game, we can see and do things we haven’t been able to before. These creatures will be a part of the skill tree that Cal can focus on, unlocking different tiers will change how the mount can explore the world with you.
The names of these creatures haven’t been revealed yet, nor the planets they come from but with a whole galaxy out there for Cal to explore I’m sure we will get to see some things we have never seen before.
New Look, Who’s This?
An element that I found quite charming about Fallen Order was the collecting of the different ponchos. While some of them were quite ghastly in color, (that pink one should have had negative stealth added to it), they were all fun to find.
But the ponchos honestly looked quite ridiculous at times depending on the ones you choose, especially in cutscenes. His best outfit in Fallen Order by far was when he gained the Inquisitor outfit once you beat the game, and I didn’t change out of it all when I replayed the story. The ponchos worked well for a Padawan who had been hiding on a scrapper planet for years just to stay under the Empire’s radar, hiding his lightsaber and being part of his scrapper uniform. Now with him embracing the Jedi ways he has evolved his wardrobe, ponchos were last game, and the new black seems to be jackets.
The gameplay revealed by IGN showed a loot box hidden underneath a huge skeleton that BD was able to slice for us to reveal a bomber jacket collectible inside. This cosmetic is something we hadn’t seen in Fallen Order so, it’s safe to say that this is a replacement for the ponchos.
This new wardrobe selection is also seen on the Steam landing page for Survivor, showing off a Han Solo-esque jacket that you can acquire if you pre-purchase the game as well as other skins and cosmetics for other elements in the game. With Cal now no longer being a Padawan and growing out of his poncho shell I think this is a great addition to the game that still keeps that love of hunting down all the collectibles.
With more information coming out faster now that we get closer and closer to release there will surely be more things that Survivor has left in store to surprise us. For now, we can only buckle up as we get ready to experience the thrill that this has in store for us!
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor releases on April 28th on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X.