Star Wars video games

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Star Wars
Swlogo.png
Genres Predominantly action
action-adventure
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Platforms Apple II
Atari 2600
Famicom
NES
SNES
Nintendo 64
Sega Master System
Sega Dreamcast
Game Gear
GameCube
DOS
Microsoft Windows
Mac OS
OS X
PlayStation 1
PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Wii
Wii U
Game Boy
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
PSP
iOS
Android
First release Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
1982 (1982)
Latest release Star Wars Battlefront II
2017 (2017)

The Star Wars franchise has spawned over one hundred[1] computer, video, and board games, dating back to some of the earliest home consoles. Some are based directly on movie material, while others rely heavily on the Star Wars expanded universe.

Contents

Early licensed games[edit]

In 1978, Apple Computer produced an unlicensed Star Wars game on cassette tape for its Apple II. As a "space pilot trainee", the player destroys TIE fighters using a first-person heads-up display.[2] The first video game cartridge bearing the name Star Wars appeared that year on the RCA Studio II clones Sheen M1200 and Mustang Telespiel Computer.[3]

The first official licensed Star Wars electronic game was Kenner's 1979 table-top Star Wars Electronic Battle Command.[4] The game had three levels of play (basic, intermediate, and advanced). Players took turns examining star systems with the aim of avoiding black holes, locating enemies, and searching for MAGNA, "the FORCE-giving star". The game was billed as "the most exciting computer game you will ever play".[5]

The original trilogy[edit]

The Atari 2600, beginning with The Empire Strikes Back (1982) in which the player piloted a snowspeeder during the Battle of Hoth, destroying AT-AT walkers. Several other games appeared, such as Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle (1983), where the player controlled the Millennium Falcon in a mission to destroy the second Death Star, and Jedi Arena (1983), the first game to attempt to simulate a lightsaber battle (in this case, clearly inspired by the Star Wars scene, where Luke Skywalker trains with a seeker). In 1983, the Star Wars arcade game was released by Atari based on the 1977 film. In this game (featuring color vector graphics and the first ever digitized speech from a film) the player enters the seat of Luke's Red Five X-Wing fighter, battles waves of TIE fighters led by Darth Vader, weaves through towers across the surface of the Death Star, and plummets through the battle station's trench in an attempt to destroy it. The sequel for the game, The Empire Strikes Back, used the same technology to re-create scenes from the second film, including battles with AT-AT walkers and an asteroid field.

Due to the video game crash of 1983, which temporarily killed the home console market, no further games based on the franchise were released until 1987 when UK software publisher Domark released several 8-bit versions of the Star Wars vector arcade game, followed by similar conversions in 1988 of The Empire Strikes Back machine. In 1987, Namco developed a Star Wars game for the Family Computer for the Japanese market exclusively, based on the 1977 film, but with several liberties taken with its storyline.

In 1991, the platformer Star Wars was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Game Boy and Game Gear, and one year later, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back covered the plotline of the fifth episode of the saga. Also in 1992, Super Star Wars was released for the SNES, followed by the remaining games in the trilogy: Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1993) and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1994), the latter also receiving conversions for the Game Boy and Game Gear in 1995.

The following is a list of Star Wars games that are based on the feature films, developed during this development era:

Episode IV: A New Hope[edit]

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back[edit]

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi[edit]

Stand-alone titles[edit]

1980s[edit]

LucasArts and modern self-published games[edit]

In the early 1980s George Lucas decided to invest in videogames. So through Lucasfilm, Lucas started his own video game company, which he named LucasArts. However, since Lucas had already licensed the rights to develop Star Wars games, the company instead developed original adventure games and World War II flight combat games. LucasArts regained the rights to develop Star Wars games in 1993, at that point the videogame company put their previous experience in flight simulators to use, and released a Star Wars: X-Wing, the first self-published Star Wars video game and the first space flight simulation based on the franchise.[7]

The prequel trilogy[edit]

As The Phantom Menace release approached, dozens of licensed Episode I tie-in titles appeared, even educational titles, the market was flooded with several games, most of them of questionable quality. However at the same time, titles based on the Expanded Universe flourished with criical acclaim, such as the expansion to Jedi Knight, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith and the first game in the Rogue Squadron series.[citation needed]

The Phantom Menace[edit]

After the release of Episode I in theaters in 1999, an onslaught of games from the prequel trilogy began to be released for most major platforms. The first releases were the regular video game adaptation (action-adventure) and Star Wars Episode I: Racer, based on the podracing sequence in movie. Others, including Battle for Naboo and Jedi Power Battles, were released, but with little success. The first strategic game in the Star Wars expanded universe was titled Star Wars: Rebellion and broke new ground in that it incorporated ships and planets not found in the original canon, such as the Rebel Assault Frigate and the Bulwark Cruiser. But for all its ground-breaking new looks, it was not as successful as would have been hoped. The second strategic title, Star Wars: Force Commander was also released, but failed to keep up with other RTS games, since it was more focused on battling (no resource gathering) and used a primitive 3D engine. About a decade later, resource gathering lost popularity in favor of faster-paced combat-centric RTS games.

Attack of the Clones[edit]

In 2002, Attack of the Clones premiered in theaters, and another wave of Star Wars based games, including The Clone Wars, Star Wars Racer Revenge, and Bounty Hunter were released, this time focusing on events and characters from Attack of the Clones such as bounty hunter Jango Fett and the Clone Wars.

Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter was released, allowing the player to be a Jedi Master flying a Jedi starfighter. A third RTS game with a much more conventional approach to the genre's norms and using the Age of Kings engine, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, offered a better alternative to those seeking strategy in the Star Wars universe.

Revenge of the Sith[edit]

Adjoining the release of Revenge of the Sith, a video game adaptation (action) was also released close to the premiere, with various degrees of success. Star Wars: Republic Commando was also released in 2005.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series[edit]

Expanded Universe franchises[edit]

The X-wing series marked the start of the Star Wars games moving away from remaking the official films and began to focus more on the Expanded Universe. Other titles were published or licensed by LucasArts, such as The Software Toolworks's Star Wars Chess who also used the first "multimedia explosion" to release Rebel Assault (1993), which used FMV and photos extensively.

The 1996 Nintendo 64 title Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was part of a LucasArts attempt to create a story between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of Jedi, putting the player in control of mercenary Dash Rendar. Shadows of the Empire featured fan-favorite parts from the Super Star Wars line, such as another reenactment of the Battle of Hoth, piloting a snowspeeder and tying a cable around AT-ATs legs. After the Special Edition original trilogy re-release in 1997, LucasArts published other titles, including Star Wars: Yoda Stories and Star Wars Monopoly, as well as a Star Wars-themed fighter, Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi.

X-Wing[edit]

Compilation: X-Wing (Collector's CD-ROM) (1994)

Compilation: TIE Fighter (Collector's CD-ROM) (1995)

X-Wing was one of the best-selling games of 1993, and established the beginning of the X-wing computer game series, which garnered numerous awards and recognition. Star Wars: X-Wing was followed by several sequels and expansions, such as Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, and Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance.[7]

Rebel Assault[edit]

Jedi Knight[edit]

The first step towards modern games was done with 1995's Dark Forces, the first Star Wars first-person shooter video game.[9] A hybrid adventure game incorporating puzzles and strategy,[10] it featured new gameplay features and graphical elements not then common in other games, made possible by LucasArts' custom-designed game engine, called the Jedi.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The game was well received and well reviewed,[15][16][17] the game put the player in the role of Kyle Katarn, who would later appear in multiple games, novels, and comics.[18] After the Special Edition original trilogy re-release in 1997, LucasArts published Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, then Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith released in 1999. In 2002, its sequel Jedi Outcast was released and gave players the first chance to experience advanced lightsaber duels, and it also detached itself from the usual idea of movie tie-ins. One year later, the last game in the Jedi Knight series, Jedi Academy was released. Katarn is a former Imperial stormtrooper who joins the Rebellion and ultimately becomes a Jedi,[9][19][20] a plot arc similar to that of Finn in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.[21]

Rogue Squadron[edit]

Star Wars Galaxies[edit]

Compilaition(s): Star Wars Galaxies: Starter Kit (2005), Star Wars Galaxies: The Total Experience (2005), and Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures (2006)

The first MMORPG, titled Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, was also released in 2003 and was subsequently followed in 2004 by its first expansion Jump to Lightspeed. Two more games, Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookiees (a second expansion to Galaxies), and ' After the films, more Star Wars titles continued to be developed and released. Empire at War (an RTS), was released in early 2006.

Star Wars Racer[edit]

Galactic Battlegrounds[edit]

Starfighter[edit]

Knights of the Old Republic[edit]

In 2003, Knights of the Old Republic, a BioWare RPG that debuted on the Microsoft Xbox and PC. Knights (also known as KotOR among fans) was critically acclaimed, even winning "Game of the Year" at the Game Developers Choice Awards, (along with many other critics) in 2003. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and released in 2004. KotOR II was praised for its cerebral writing and moral ambiguity, similar to The Empire Strikes Back. Another MMORPG titled Star Wars: The Old Republic was developed by BioWare, which released globally on December 20, 2011. Pre-orders went up for sale in July 2011 and open beta weekends were confirmed for September 2011.

Star Wars Battlefront (Pandemic Studios)[edit]

Star Wars: Battlefront (2004). Star Wars: Battlefront II in 2005.A third Star Wars Battlefront title was planned for 2006 but was cancelled. It is also to be noted that Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron was released on November 3, 2009 for the Nintendo DS and the PSP. This is the first Battlefront game to offer a transition from space to ground battles at the players choice. After Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and the restructuring of the Star Wars canon, the Battlefront series was rebooted by EA DICE.

Empire at War[edit]

Compilation: Star Wars: Empire at War: Gold Pack (game and expansion package) (2007) Windows

The Force Unleashed[edit]

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, uses a new, detailed graphics engine. The Wii version utilizes the motion sensing and accelerometer capabilities of the Wii Remote (simulating the ability to swing a lightsaber) and its Nunchuk attachment (used to perform Force powers).Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 was released in the United States on October 26, 2010.

Stand-alone games[edit]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

2010s[edit]

  • Star Wars: Battle Pod (2015) (Rail shooter) Arcade

Stand-alone handheld and mobile games[edit]

The following is a list of Star Wars titles that are handheld and mobile games. Additional handheld and mobile games are listed above. Unless otherwise mentioned they are for mobile phones.

Cancelled stand-alone-games[edit]

At E3 2012, EA with LucasArts announced Star Wars 1313, which focuses more on the life of a bounty hunter as he descends to the level 1313 on Coruscant to unravel a criminal plot. The game focuses more on gunplay and bounty hunter gameplay rather than the Force users and lightsabers combat. It was set to release in Fall 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows. 1313 has subsequently been cancelled by LucasArts following its purchase by Disney. The following are the stand-alone Star Wars videogames that were canceled, the canceled titles that were part of a series are listed along its respective series.

Miscelanea games[edit]

The following games are more of Star Wars themed, rather than actually influencing the franchise's fictional plot, they are classified together because of sharing the same genre, rather than officially being part of the same series. Excluded are the games listed above.

Table games and virtual pinball[edit]

Table games:

  • Star Wars Chess (1993) (Chess engine) DOS, Sega CD, Windows
  • Star Wars Monopoly (?) Windows

Virtual pinball:

Star Wars Pinball (2013) Windows, Mac, Wii U, Xbox 360, 3DS, PSVita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Kindle Fire, Android, iOS

Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force (2013) Xbox 360, PSVita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Android, iOS

Star Wars Pinball: Heroes of the Force (2014) Xbox 360, PSVita, PS3, PS4, Android, iOS

  • Star Wars Pinball: Masters of the Force
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (2013)[41]
  • Star Wars Pinball: Droids
  • Star Wars Pinball: Han Solo

Kinect Motion Sensor[edit]

Educational[edit]

Developed by Lucas Learning:

  • Star Wars: Yoda's Challenge
  • Star Wars: The Gungan Frontier
  • Star Wars: Droid Works (1999) Windows, Mac
  • Star Wars: Pit Droids Windows, iOS
  • Star Wars Math: Jabba's Game Galaxy (Developed by Argonaut Games)
  • Star Wars: JarJar's Journey Adventure Book
  • Star Wars: Anakin's Speedway
  • Star Wars: Early Learning Activity Center

Other educational:

Jakks Pacific- Plug It In & Play TV Games[edit]

Licensing to EA games and the restructuring of the Star Wars canon[edit]

With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, it was announced that Lucas Arts would close and thus cease to develop games. On May 6, 2013, Disney and Lucasfilm revealed a partnership with Electronic Arts that granted them EA the rights to produce Star Wars games for consoles and PC, with Disney retaining the freedom to handle the games for mobile platforms, such as smartphones, tablets and browsers. Later on April 2014, most of the previous licensed Star Wars videogames, novels, comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.[42][43][44]

Among the EA subsidiaries responsible for creating the Star Wars games within the deal, were the developers DICE, BioWare and Visceral Games. After the canon restructuring, EA announced their new games would fall under the restructured canon, as of now Star Wars: Uprising and Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) are the only ones considered canonical.

Battlefront (EA DICE)[edit]

After the restructuring of the Star Wars canon, the Battlefront series was rebooted by EA DICE. The first game was released in 2015, rushed into the market to tie-in with to the release of The Force Awakens. As a result of the shorter development time, developer EA DICE decided to take a significant departure from all previous instalements of the franchise and focus the game entirely on online multiplayer, completely axing the inclusion of a single player campaign or any sort-off narrative, the move was heavily criticized by fans, including Finn actor John Boyega. Only original trilogy characters (Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Palpatine) and planets (Tatooine, Hoth and Endor) were playable. Downloadable content later added the planets Jakku (from The Force Awakens) and Scarif (from Rogue One);[45] The second Battlefront is the first on the series to be considered part of the Star Wars canon as it course corrected the mistake of the previous game, by including a singleplayer campaign with a story-mode set between the ending of Return of the Jedi and the beginning of The Force Awakens, in which the player controls a female imperial officer named Iden Versio. The multiplayer mode features characters from the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies, as well as anthology films. All of its downloadable contents are expected to be free.[46]

Untitled Star Wars game by Visceral games[edit]

Visceral Games was working on one, the game is being directed and written by Amy Hennig.

On October 17, 2017, EA announced the closure of Visceral Games.[47] EA reassigned the game to its EA Worldwide Studios, led by EA Vancouver, and said they will revamp the gameplay, which had been described as a linear, story-heavy title, into "a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency".[48]

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)[edit]

Respawn Entertainment is working on Jedi: Fallen Order.[49][50] The Story will take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

Other rumored console games[edit]

On October 30, 2013, Dan Connor and Kevin Bruner from Telltale Games expressed an interest in making a Star Wars adventure game. Bruner said that "I'll also say a Telltale Star Wars game would make me VERY happy!" with Connor saying that "Coming from LucasArts we have so many people here that love Star Wars and have worked with the license so that would be a great fit and very cool."[51] The lower than expected sales and mixed fan reception towards EA Games handling of the Star Wars: Battlefront subfranchise has led to rumors of Lucasfilm considering to change the terms of the license agreement. Lucasfilm is rumored to be courting either Ubisoft or Activision to either replace EA, or sharing rights to develop Star Wars games with them.[52]

Mobile games[edit]

  • Star Wars: Assault Team (2014)[53]
  • Star Wars: Commander - Android, iOS, Windows Phone (2014)[54]
  • Star Wars: Galactic Defense - Android, iOS (2014). Spans the Rise of the Empire Era and the Rebellion Era.
  • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes - Android, iOS (2015). Spans the Rise of the Empire Era, Rebellion Era, and the Era of the New Republic.
  • Star Wars: Uprising - Android, iOS (2015, discontinued November 17, 2016)
  • Star Wars: Heroes Path - iOS (2015)
  • Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions - Android, iOS, Windows Phone (2015)

Star Wars: Force Arena is a 2017 player versus player real-time strategy mobile game for iOS and Android from Netmarble Games and Lucasfilm. Force Arena is set in the Rebellion era of the Star Wars storyline. Players control customized squads of characters and vehicles in a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) environment. The roster of over 80 available characters includes Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader, Palpatine, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Grand Moff Tarkin, Doctor Aphra, Ezra Bridger, and Jyn Erso.[55][56][57][58]

Star Wars crossover based video game franchises developed by other companies[edit]

In some cases Lucasfilm has allowed other videogames franchises to do their own Star Wars games, resulting in crossover hybrid franchises, that are developed by other studios.

Lego Star Wars[edit]

Lego made videogames based on their Lego Star Wars toys, as part of their Lego video games franchise.

Main series[edit]

Due to the tecnichal limitations of handhelds, the handheld versions always result in an entirely different game telling the same story as the console version, however the PlayStation handheld versions tend to imitate more closely the console versions albeit with some reduced areas and features.

Compilation(s): Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007) includes Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Mac

  • Handheld(s): Nintendo DS
  • Mobile: iOS, Android.

Mobile game and web browser[edit]

Angry Birds Star Wars[edit]

Angry Birds made two Star Wars games.

Disney Infinity[edit]

The Disney Infinity series allowed to use Star Wars characters along characters from other franchises owned by Disney, including characters from the Marvel and Pixar films.

  • Disney Infinity 3.0 (2015): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, iOS, Android

Guest-appearances of Star Wars characters in other videogame franchises[edit]

This category refeers to videogames from other franchises were the inclusion of Star Wars characters is very minor and restricted only to small easter eggs or an unlockable character cameo.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater[edit]

Indiana Jones[edit]

  • Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (2009), LucasArts – Action-adventure game featuring unlockable Han Solo. Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable
  • LEGO Indiana Jones series:
    • Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (2008), LucasArts – Action-adventure game featuring unlockable Han Solo and cameos from other Star Wars characters. Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Windows
    • Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (2009), LucasArts - Action-adventure game featuring cameos from Star Wars characters. Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Windows

Stand-alone games[edit]

  • Night Shift (1990), Lucasfilm Games – Platform game featuring action figures of various Star Wars characters. Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Mac, PC, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
  • Secret Weapons Over Normandy (2003), LucasArts – Flight simulation game featuring unlockable X-wing and TIE Fighter. Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005), LucasArts – Features unlockable character Han Solo. Xbox, PlayStation 2
  • Soulcalibur IV (2008), Namco Bandai Games – Fighting game. At release featuring Darth Vader exclusively in the PlayStation 3 version, with Yoda exclusively in the Xbox 360 version, and Darth Vader's apprentice Galen Starkiller Marek in both versions. Months after the release, Darth Vader and Yoda were made available for purchase as downloadable content, each at the version they were absent at release. Each of the Star Wars characters had his own ending on the "Story Mode".[60] However, in late 2016, all dlc in SoulCalibur IV was removed from the PlayStation and Microsoft stores for unknown reasons.[61]

Cultural Impact of Star Wars games[edit]

Fan-made Star Wars games[edit]

Galaxy in Turmoil [edit]

On January 25, 2016, Frontwire Studios began an attempt to produce an unofficial Battlefront installment called Galaxy in Turmoil. The fan made game was in production using Unreal Engine 4 and was based off the cancelled Star Wars: Battlefront III by Free Radical Design.[62][63] Although early versions of the game contained assets from Free Radical Design, they soon became "place holders" as the full game planned to be released using assets and music made from the ground up. On June 4, 2016, Galaxy in Turmoil gained a distribution deal through Valve and was planned to be released for free on Steam which generated a fair amount of attention.[64]

On June 22, 2016 Lucasfilm requested the production of Galaxy in Turmoil be halted.[65] On July 31, 2016, Frontwire Studios announced the cancellation of the game was due to the "possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from Electronic Arts' Battlefront franchise".[65] Proposals of Galaxy in Turmoil falling under the paywall of Electronic Arts, and ideas of Lucasfilm giving Frontwire Studios a Star Wars IP licence were both rejected due to an agreement between Electronic Arts and Lucasfilm.[65] Although Frontwire Studios may have fallen within Fair Use laws, legal conflict was avoided and the fan made Star Wars inspired project was canceled. There is a playable alpha that contains assets from Free Radical Design that was released to the public then removed early on within Galaxy in Turmoil's lifetime. Galaxy in Turmoil is now planned to be released as a brand new "cyber-punk" themed[66] IP without any Star Wars references, but still with Battlefront III-inspired mechanics including space-to-ground battles.[65]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

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