Allowing Licensed Games to Be Their Own Entity
Of all the Star Wars games, the best include the space combat simulator TIE Fighter, the roleplaying game Knights of the Old Republic, and one of my favorites, Rogue Squadron. This series of arcade aerial combat games follows the exploits of the fictional flight squadron that flew all of the most iconic missions in Star Wars history. The game suffered from the limitations of the technology on which it was created, having been originally published in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and then two sequels on the Nintendo GameCube in 2001 and 2003.
One limitation that did not come from the times in which it was created was mirroring the plotline of the Star Wars films.
Games based off of licensed properties can have a really hard time translating that property into a video game, due primarily to the fact that video games are a different medium than movies, books, or comics. What works to tell a story in one medium doesn’t always translate well to another.
An example of this done right is Knights of the Old Republic, which took the Star Wars license and rather than have you play as Luke Skywalker and take his journey through the Original Trilogy of films AGAIN, it moved the timeline back 4,000 years before the films and invented an entirely new set of characters while still keeping the essence of the license we all grew to love from the films. It used this disentanglement from the known canon of the Star Wars Universe to let the world of the game feel familiar, while being fresh and new in a way not experienced by fans since the movies were first released.
Taking a similar approach to the Rogue Squadron games, just imagine how exciting it would be to fly an X-Wing starfighter in all-new missions. Using current gaming technology like open world sandboxes and high definition graphics, players could take on the role of a young pilot chosen for Rogue Squadron taking the reins from the old guard of pilots like Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles who serve as mentors for the next generation.
This storyline could pick up in the years after the fall of the Empire at the end of Return of the Jedi and lead directly into the new trilogy of films in The Force Awakens. This whets the appetite of all the fans waiting for the new movies, allowing them to bridge the gap between the old films to the new, while giving the game designers the freedom to build their own story from the ground up.
The best artistic endeavors, be it games, books, or movies, are usually most successful when they allow the creators to be ambitious and develop their ideas without being shackled to what came before. It is with this in mind that the people at Lucasfilm should consider a new take on Rogue Squadron that takes the series into new territory.