I’m very excited to play Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. The first game was fantastic, and this new one seems bigger, better, faster, cooler, all those good descriptors. However, in new gameplay revealed earlier this week, it seems that one of my biggest gripes with the first game is coming back in this new one. Cal Kestis, who is supposed to be walking the path of a Jedi and should be deeply connected to the light side of the Force, is still killing tons of innocent animals on every planet he visits. Come on, dude.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, released in 2019, was a wonderful Star Wars adventure telling the story of Cal Kestis, a man who was a young teen padawan during the infamous culling of the Jedi aka Order 66. After that he starts to lose his connection to the Force and gives up on being a Jedi, hiding on a dirty industrial planet as a worker. But things happen and by the end of the game he’s rekindled his connection to the light side of the Force. However, before reaching that point, he kills a whole heck of a lotta critters across numerous planets. And that’s not really something a Jedi should do…
Okay, before we go any further: Yes, you can find examples of Jedi and former-Jedi killing all manner of creatures across Star Wars comics, books, TV shows, movies, and games. It happens. But generally speaking, Jedi should try to avoid this if at all possible. And I never have a problem with Cal killing a large beast that attacks him and his friends. That’s understandable and fits in with who the Jedi are: People who always carry a literal laser sword to defend themselves and other galaxy dwellers in need of help. But, as seen in this new gameplay, Cal is often attacking and killing creatures that really don’t pose that much of a threat, and which could even be ignored with a few Force jumps or wall runs. In fact, at one point he just runs up behind a large bird-like creature and fucking slices it up with no warning. That’s not the Jedi way, my dude.
Jedi should always try to avoid killing if possible. The Force connects all living beings and respecting all life, no matter how small or annoying they may be—looking at you, Jar-Jar—is part of being a Jedi. We’ve seen this plenty of times throughout the franchise. For example, even when a giant Zillo Beast is destroying a city in the Clone Wars animated series, the Jedi resist killing it until it becomes literally the only option. Jedi also choose not to finish off people once they surrender, like Obi-Wan sparing Vader in the Disney+ mini-series. We’ve also seen Jedi commune through the Force to connect with animals, most famously throughout the Star Wars Rebels series with Ezra Bridger. See, Jedi are more than just cool space people with rad laser swords.
Yet, in this new gameplay, we see a moment when the baddies are getting attacked by local wildlife. Cal runs in and mostly just kills everything, which seems fun, but imagine an alternative situation where Cal teams up with the planet’s wildlife to take down the invading bad guys. I like that more.
If Respawn Entertainment wants to keep all these creatures in the game, then at the very least don’t reward the player with more Force energy after each kill. It’s already weird to reward a Jedi each time they fight. But I get it, this is a video game and combat is a key part of the experience. Still, does Cal need to get a pop of light side energy every time he eviscerates some poor bug? I don’t think so! Personally, I’d love to see Star Wars Jedi: Survivor try to balance this more, forcing the player to make tough choices as they continue down the path of becoming a Jedi instead of letting people butcher entire planets without punishment or care.