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Gaming: Jedi: Fallen Order expands Star Wars canon; Stranger Things renews D&D craze; more
With anticipation mounting for EA Games to deliver a single-player Star Wars experience that can finally give the galaxy far, far away a proper moment in the spotlight after years of small-scale diversions and false starts, the release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is finally less than a month away.
Thanks to a recent batch of last-minute previews ahead of Fallen Order’s debut next month, we’re getting some cool new insights into how the ambitious-sounding game is adding to the Star Wars universe with canon-approved new characters and locations — including a new pair of planets that young Padawan Cal Kestis, the story’s hero, will have to visit.
**SPOILER ALERT: Gameplay, setting, and character details for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order are discussed below. Turn back now if you want to take on the game with fresh eyes!**
The latest previews for Fallen Order take Cal to Zeffo, a “windswept” new planet that’s “home to a variety of indigenous beasts, such as the ram-like phillak, which doesn’t think twice about introducing intruders to its trio of sharp horns,” as well as the slow, gigantic “Tomb Guardians, towering golems that protect the planets’ sacred crypts,” according to StarWars.com.
Little is known about Zeffo beyond it role as an Imperially-controlled destination Cal must infiltrate to make off with some heavily-guarded data, but we know even less about Bogano (not to be confused with the moon Bogan), another planet that’s making its first appearance in the Star Wars universe. Present right at the start of the game as Cal’s initial point for setting off, there’s a distant dragon-like beast in the distance on Bogano, according to Gamespot, serving as a high-level tease for what you might face on a later return visit.
When it comes to new characters and how they’ll factor into the story, EA has shared only teases. There’s a new four-armed species called the Latero, according to Starwars.com, introduced by Greez, a “cranky and comedic” pilot who slings insults at BD-1, Cal’s new-to-the-franchise droid sidekick.
In addition to role-playing elements (there’s a skill tree where you spend XP to level up your offensive and defensive skills, as well as your Force powers), Fallen Order also asks Cal to cultivate the kind of moves typically associated with a third-person platformer. Running, jumping, and timing your dodges and blocks appears to play a big part not only in defeating enemies, but also in accessing areas that only a budding Jedi (or better) could reach.
Gaming types who’ve gotten their hands on the latest demo are pretty much uniform in their optimism for how Fallen Order is shaping up, after months of speculation about whether EA can recapture its old-school Star Wars magic. The rest of us won’t have to wait long to see for ourselves: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order warps onto the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Nov. 15.
Lucas and Mike might be outgrowing Will’s interest in sinking tons of precious free time into the marathon Dungeons & Dragons campaigns they loved as kids. But the Stranger Things phenomenon has reportedly had an unforeseen consequence on this side of the Upside Down: a resurgent real-world interest in old-school D&D guidebooks, along with spiking prices for Stranger Things fans looking to get their hands on well-preserved originals.
Polygon reports that D&D guides released in the 1970s and 1980s have seen a fresh “flood of demand [that] has driven prices for old D&D books and sets skyward at an unprecedented clip” since Stranger Things first re-introduced the classic pen-and-paper RPG to a new generation of fans.
“[R]ecently, we’ve seen eBay auctions go for two, three, five times more than they should for the condition that they’re in,” Chicago-area game store owner Floyd Wesel told Polygon. “…[W]e’ve seen eBay auctions go for two, three, five times more than they should for the condition that they’re in.”
While nostalgia from older fans may be driving part of the fresh interest in throwback D&D sets — many of which were released in lavish custom packaging — newer fans also pursue vintage D&D guides in order to tap into a significant part of gaming’s deep roots. “I’d argue that these younger folks look at these books and sets like they’re fetish objects, or artifacts of a previous era,” Wesel explained. “It’s not actually about the game; it’s about owning a piece of history.”
Even if you don’t have tons of cash to spare on a wood-encased D&D set from the earliest days of pen-and-paper gaming, you can at least take a shortcut by watching the Hawkins gang take on the Demogorgon. All three seasons of Stranger Things are streaming now at Netflix.
Okami, the critically-acclaimed, fan-adored tale of a wolf who’s tasked with literally repainting the world, might be more than 13 years old. But it still routinely shows up on “best-of” lists — not only for PlayStation 2 titles, but for every game of every era, period. So when the creators behind the adventures of the four-legged Amaterasu begin making noises that suggest they’re interested in taking the wolf by the tail once more, longtime fans tend start freaking out a little.
That’s just what happened last week after original Okami director Hideki Kamiya tweeted out a tease proclaiming “Okami is going to be back," adding that “We want to make [an] Okami sequel and fans are looking forward to it too. You guys want to see Kamiya’s Okami again, right, everyone? I want to work on it too!”
While the tease of a new Okami sent fans into a frenzy, the gaming press mostly reacted with an incredulous side-eye, speculating that Kamiya’s simply trying to whip up support that could compel Capcom, the current license holder, to green-light a new game. Capcom’s stayed quiet on what the tease might mean, according to Polygon — so for now, if you want to splash back into Okami’s Japanese folklore-inspired watercolor world, your best option remains snagging the HD-upgraded original, which is available now at the Nintendo Switch eShop.