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Star Wars Game Devs Reveal How Jedi Outcast's Lightsaber Combat Was Created

Raven Software’s Star Wars: Jedi Knight series was highly influential among video games set in the fabled Galaxy Far, Far Away, and some of the series' developers have recently opened up on how they crafted the lightsaber combat that would serve as a benchmark even decades later. Beginning with 1996's Star Wars: Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series put players in the role of Kyle Katarn, a former Stormtrooper turned Rebel hero who would go on to become a popular staple of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe before its reboot in 2014.

While the first Star Wars: Dark Forces game had Kyle only using blasters in a first-person shooter format, later installments revealed that he was actually Force Sensitive, and it wasn’t long before he and players took up the Jedi’s most prized weapon. From then on, the Dark Forces series slowly changed its name to Jedi Knight and won countless praise from fans for allowing them to tap into the power of the Force and wield their lightsaber with a level of fluidly never experienced before in a Star Wars-themed title.

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According to GamesRadar, former Raven Software lead designer Chris Foster sat down with Retro Gamer to discuss how he and his team crafted Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast’s lightsaber combat. He says that they “wanted the lightsaber combat to not just be a guy waving a stick around that one-shotted enemies… we wanted it to be the ultimate combination of a weapon and an extension of the player's will.” To accomplish this, Raven took great pains in testing its combat against enemy Stormtrooper AI and tweaking elements like timing, animations, reactions, damage, and blaster parrying until they felt like they do in the Star Wars films and novels. “When you picked up that lightsaber [early in Jedi Outcast] after having used guns for the start of the game, we wanted you to know you had arrived,” Foster added. “Having that thing in your hand was your destiny and it was a part of you.

The Star Wars: Jedi Knight series ended after 2003’s Jedi Academy, and both the games and Kyle Katarn himself have since been retconned out of continuity by Disney. However, the legacy of Star Wars: Jedi Knight still lives on thanks to 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which puts players in the role of outcast Jedi Cal Kestis and features lightsaber combat similar to the kind featured in Jedi Outcast. Players reacted well to Jedi Fallen Order, and eagerly await news of its planned sequel.

The Star Wars: Jedi Knight series was monumental for fans of the Galaxy Far, Far Away, and hearing how Raven Software crafted its excellent lightsaber combat is fascinating. There’s no doubt that Chris Foster and his team accomplished something incredible with the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series, so much so that its legacy still lives on even almost two decades after its last installment was released.

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Source: GamesRadar, Retro Gamer

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