Stig Asmussen, director of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, comments on Respawn Entertainment’s decision to tell the story of Cal Kestis, instead of featuring an alien hero. Despite a vast amount of alien races to choose from, Asmussen feels confident in the decision to tell a new, human story in the Star Wars universe.
After an impressive showing at E3 2019, fans have begun to express concerns about the next Star Wars game. While Disney and Lucasfilm stand firm in their stance on lightsabers dismembering human characters, fan outcry has led to minor tweaks to lightsaber design in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. On a much larger scale, many have wondered why EA and Respawn have opted for another white male protagonist when there are many alien races in the Star Wars universe that are sensitive to the Force.
During an interview with Game Informer, Asmussen explained that landing on Cal Kestis as the game’s protagonist was the best way to avoid alienating people, ironically enough. “We wanted to make sure that there was a real human connection to the character we have in the game,” Asmussen said. Among the many, many races in Star Wars canon, Respawn also considered other genders for the main character of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Ultimately, Respawn landed where they are because of Rey’s popularity in the latest Star Wars films, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. Here's the full interview via Game Informer’s YouTube channel.
With the above in mind, citing Rey’s popularity as a reason to avoid introducing another female lead character is a confusing move. Wouldn’t a strong female character like Rey instead be an encouraging reason to divert from the Skywalker-esque standard of Star Wars protagonist? After all, Luke Skywalker’s popularity hasn’t prevented other male Star Wars protagonists like Kyle Katarn or Galen Marek, aka Starkiller, from finding success in Star Wars games. Cameron Monaghan has looked fantastic in what's been shown of Fallen Order so far, but it'll take some dynamic storytelling to prevent him getting lost in the shuffle of white male Star Wars protagonists.
On the other hand, Respawn’s decision to play it safe makes business sense. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the first single player Star Wars experience of its kind since the days of LucasArts, which closed its doors in 2013 after Disney acquired Star Wars. Appealing to as broad of an audience as possible could lead to a higher demand for DLC or additional Star Wars games where more risks can be taken and other races can be explored. If all else fails, fans can dream about the next Knights of the Old Republic game with a robust character creation suite.
Source: Game Informer