Last week after a Star Wars fan site writer issued a challenge to fans to come up with pitches for their own unique Star Wars movie ideas, tons of ideas were thrown about on Twitter in what became a trending topic.
I must admit I'm actually not the biggest fan of the Star Wars movies - I greatly enjoyed the prequels as well as going back and watching the original trilogy as a kid, but for me the best part of Star Wars was never the films themselves. Instead, I was drawn into the universe and lore - the characters, the unique settings, the cool sci-fi tech on display.
The Disney trilogy (although I haven't seen the latest movie yet and won't until it's available digitally) has been rather abysmal - The Force Awakens was okay, but the horrendous pile of garbage that was The Last Jedi completely turned me off of caring about anything that happened in the new trilogy. I did enjoy both of the non-mainline Star Wars movies though, Rogue One and Solo, and more recently The Mandalorian series proved to be quite good, so hope is not lost entirely.
What I've really enjoyed most in the Star Wars franchise however, are the games.
Back in the old LucasArts days, titles like Battlefront and Battlefront II saw me pour dozens of hours into the galaxy far far away on the ol' Xbox, capturing control points with my beloved clone troopers and tearing through droids as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Republic Commando was and still is one of my favourite games of all time, it's gritty FPS combat and superb writing showing off a side of the clones that you'd never see if you only watched the movies.
Later on The Force Unleashed let you play with all the (super) powers at a Jedi or Sith's disposal and was a ton of fun, and most recently Respawn crafted a truly great new story with Jedi: Fallen Order which makes all of the newest movies look like crap by comparison. There are tons of memorable Star Wars games and it's unfortunate we've seen so few releases since Disney took over the empire and closed down LucasArts.
As I read through some of the fan pitches for Star Wars movies during a period of boredom, many of them stood out as quite brilliant - from a Planet Earth-inspired nature docuseries that showcases the various fictional fauna of the Star Wars universe to a The Office-style comedy following the daily lives of crew members aboard the Death Star to more serious R-rated war films set in the Star Wars universe.
It got me thinking about some ideas for new videogames set in the Star Wars universe - I already shared some ideas on rebooting and remaking various past Star Wars games, but those were all merely updating previous titles that have already been made.
Instead, I'd like to share some more unique ideas for videogames that would not only be fun, but I think would have pretty broad appeal and could easily become hits bigger than the three Star Wars games EA has put out so far over their past seven years with the license.
Videogames can deliver unique experiences and explore the Star Wars universe in more depth and variety than a movie ever could, and can also explore paths from the old movies that would simply be impossible to do well in movies given the age of the actors (or some that have passed) without recasting those roles and thus losing much of their appeal (see Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was a surprisingly fun movie but was dead on arrival thanks to Han Solo being recast, a tepid marketing campaign, and the backlash following The Last Jedi).
It's also much easier for a game to explore different avenues of the franchise without alienating much of the fanbase and risking being a box office flop, with gamers embracing a wider array of genres and creativity for the most part.
So here are my three best ideas for new videogames set in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars Unleashed: Mace Windu
Samuel Jackson's iconic Mace Windu is one of the most popular characters in the expansive Star Wars universe despite the Jedi Master only showing up in two of the main movies.
Thanks to the actor's popularity as well as his badass purple lightsaber, which was given to him by Lucas and even given a place in the Star Wars lore all because Jackson wanted to stand out in the epic fight scene in Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu is highly regarded by fans and many have called for a standalone movie or series focusing on Windu for years.
Of course those calls have died off given how long has passed since Mace Windu last graced the screen - Samuel Jackson is now an old (but still badass) man and while digital de-aging has come a long way, older actors look very rough when tasked with fight scenes meant for younger men as we've seen with the horrendous action sequences in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
Fans (and Jackson himself) did call for Windu to make a return for the new trilogy - after all his apparent death was never confirmed and fans have long speculated that he managed to survive his encounter in Revenge of the Sith, so Mace going into hiding and surviving all those years isn't that far-fetched (much less so than Palpatine being alive for the new movie for instance). An appearance never came to fruition, and given the fan reaction to the new movies maybe it's best that way.
In terms of movies, unless the role is recast (and no one can replace Samuel L. Jackson) any chance of seeing him in his former glory is long gone.
In the world of videogames however, no such limitations exist - we can not only see Samuel Jackson as his younger self and performing acrobatic feats no human could possibly pull off, but we can experience the badassery of Mace Windu firsthand.
Windu's aggressive fighting style and willingness to utilize both sides of the force (which is the Star Wars way of explaining why Windu sports a purple lightsaber when no one else does) would make him the perfect protagonist for an action adventure title.
A game could easily take the mechanics from Jedi Fallen Order and combine them with a new story exploring Mace's past, with Windu replacing Cal as the playable character obviously. There are tons of books and comics to draw inspiration from and could take players through a variety of different past skirmishes and events that we haven't gotten to experience in-depth before.
Getting Samuel Jackson to reprise his role as Mace Windu would be easy - Jackson has made his love for the character and the series no secret, so there's no doubt he'd jump at the chance to voice the character for a new videogame, especially the one I have in mind.
But if Disney and EA really want to make a splash in the gaming world, creating a game for older audiences could pay massive dividends.
We've long seen properties explore darker and more mature themes through different media such as novels, comics, and of course, videogames. Unique artistic interpretations of established universes have found major success over the years, and one can find the perfect example in one of last year's biggest films, The Joker.
While the Batman franchise has always flirted with darker themes and a more mature tone, The Joker took a completely different approach to one of DC's most iconic villains and despite being R-rated, drew widespread praise and smashed records with a box office haul of over $1 billion worldwide.
Though many in the older generations still associate videogames with children, many of the highest grossing videogames in the last couple of decades have been M-rated, from Grand Theft Auto to Call of Duty and Halo. Less than a third of gamers nowadays are under the age of 18, thus there's a massive market for games with mature themes and darker tones.
Leveraging Samuel Jackson's talents and appeal would be the perfect way for Star Wars to entice the legion of adults that make up the majority of today's Star Wars fans to check out the game, not to mention potentially lure in teenagers that perhaps aren't fans of the series given the recent movies.
Rather than a typical light-hearted adventure through the Star Wars universe, a non-cannon Mace Windu game would instead explore an alternate version of events, picking up where we last saw Windu on the big screen.
As we all know, Mace was betrayed by Anakin and had his hand cut off before Emperor Palpatine shocked him with lightning and sent him flying out of a skyscraper's window. He was assumed to have died as a result, but as we've seen throughout the Star Wars movies Jedi have fallen from great heights no worse for wear by using the force to break their fall. Given Windu's abilities (he was kicking Palpatine's ass by himself after all, until Anakin showed up), one can easily assume the Jedi Master composed himself at some point during the long descent toward the streets of Corscant and managed to escape with his life - George Lucas himself stated that Mace likely survived the encounter, but as his role in the story had concluded he considered the character's arc closed.
So what did Mace do after having his hand cut off, being electrocuted by the force and then thrown out of a building?
He picked up his lightsaber, got himself a cybernetic hand like the one Anakin had, and set out on a quest for revenge.
This is where Samuel Jackson's talents would come into play, as rather than a typical Star Wars protagonist, he would be unshackled and reborn as a pissed off badass hell-bent on killing those who wronged him.
Who wouldn't want to play as Mace Windu, carving up legions of traitorous clones all the while shouting expletive-filled one-liners?
I never buy special editions of games but make a game like that and produce a limited edition which includes a lightsaber with "Badass Motherfucker" engraved on the hilt like the one Samuel Jackson was given by Lucas, and I'm handing all my money directly to whichever store offers the pre-orders first.
The story would obviously not be cannon and as such, EA and Disney could create a brand new label for stories across different media that explore darker themes and alternate takes on classic Star Wars events. I would call it Star Wars Unleashed but the name isn't set in stone.
The gameplay itself would be what Star Wars fans have been calling for in videogames for ages - violent. People are swinging around superheated blades capable of tearing straight through metal, and even in the movies characters have lost limbs and were even cut in half, so why is there no dismemberment in any of the Star Wars games?
Sure drones can be ripped apart, but cut through a stormtrooper and their corpse is left fully intact. It makes no sense, and it's time to remedy that.
Not only that, but as Mace was already willing to tap into the dark side of the force, given Anakin's betrayal and his near-death experience, a game could add in more dark side abilities to Mace's arsenal combined with the traditional jedi powers. Not only would proper dismemberment be welcome, but it could show off more brutal combat in every sense - reflected blaster bolts tearing holes in victims, people being crushed by force thrown objects, gore from explosions, and even environmental kills such as the ability to force push enemies into sharp objects.
Think of a something like Fallen Jedi Order but with more force powers, a more aggressive duelling style, and the brutality of a toned-down version of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
It would be like playing everyone over the age of twelve's fantasy Star Wars game, and since it isn't cannon, it could even feature the Emperor and Darth Vader as final bosses that get taken out by Mace after he makes it clear they messed with the wrong motherfucker.
I'm sure Samuel Jackson would be ecstatic to be part of such a project as would Star Wars fans everywhere, so get off your asses and get to it EA.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
Not to be confused with the classic 2002 PS2/Gamecube game, this new title would draw some inspiration from classic Star Wars games like Bounty Hunter and the cancelled 1313, but would be a much different beast.
With Disney Plus' The Mandalorian being a major success, bounty hunting in the world of Star Wars has never been such a popular topic. Not to mention the likes of Jango and Boba Fett still being some of the most popular characters to ever come out of the Star Wars franchise despite their limited screen time, Mandalorians and their chosen profession in particular enjoy widespread interest from the Star Wars community.
It seems like a no-brainer then to make a game focused on bounty hunters and Mandalorians, and why we haven't seen anything from EA to suggest they're looking in that direction is perplexing to say the least. 1313 after all was arguably the most highly anticipated Star Wars game in franchise history if not the most highly anticipated videogame in general to ever be cancelled, and it was focused on the seedy underbelly of Coruscant with players getting to play as Boba Fett.
Though 1313 was set to be a more focused cinematic outing with a linear story, the nature of bounty hunting is tailor-made for an open world experience.
Imagine creating your own unique bounty hunter - whether it be a human, alien, or Mandalorian - and setting out in the Star Wars universe to take on contracts and visit iconic alien worlds.
While a single expansive location such as the underworld of Coruscant could work, a more Destiny-like formula to world exploration would be more fitting - various large open spaces with tons of stuff to do in each, rather than a larger open world in a single location. Planets like Kashyyyk, Naboo, Coruscant, and Tatooine would all make great settings, as would any of the less-explored planets in the expansive Star Wars lore.
Travel between these locations would of course be made easy thanks to your own customizable and upgradable ship, with dogfights in space also making an appearance (and some bounties could even take place on other ships, with you clearing their defenses before boarding them to take out your target).
At the local level speeder bikes and landspeeders would get you around quickly, and the trademark Mandalorian jetpack could also make an appearance as an upgrade later in the game. Vehicular combat would also spice things up, with certain vehicles sporting weaponry or your character able to shoot a sidearm from the driver's seat a la GTA.
Loot would play a big factor and instill a sense of progression, with players able to swap out different pieces of armour, weapons, gadgets, and modifications on the fly, as well as different paint schemes and the like to tailor their character to their heart's desire.
A variety of different playstyles would be catered to with skills unlocking through experience that let players optimize their character to their preferred playstyle - a stealthy approach would emphasize quiet sneak attack takedowns and sniper rifles as well as traps such as tripmines or remotely detonated explosives, gunners would have plenty of blasters and gadgets to use to aid them in battle, and the more aggressive types could utilize things like flamethrowers and melee weapons.
Gameplay would be from a third-person perspective and take the form of a cover shooter, though the different playstyles would take more or less advantage of said cover - a melee-oriented player for instance may quickly close the distance and engage enemies up-close, while heavily armoured tank-like players can mow down enemies without the need for constant attention to defense. Think The Division 2 with more variety and mixed with stealth elements from Splinter Cell.
The story itself would be a mixture of individual subplots as well as an overarching throughline that connects various bounties and moves the game forward - kind of like the way The Mandalorian combines self-contained stories within the overarching plot of the season. Some bounties would connect to the main story and unravel a deep series of threads, while others would simply explore specific and isolated stories within the Star Wars universe, offering a wide variety of Star Wars tales for players to experience.