Choices in the Expanded Universe: Video Game
Greetings everyone! It has been quite some time since I submitted an article to this website and I am happy to help provide some more content for all of you to enjoy! Hopefully I get more time in the future to continue writing as this is always fun! Remember, if you, dear reader, have ideas for articles, be sure to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org Who knows, maybe you will be helping to express your enjoyment of story we all love so much!
Today I hope to delve into an area of the Expanded Universe that this website has not delved much into, the video games. Why has this website largely avoided the area in the past? Well, in part, that is because most of its current contributors have a very limited experience with the games! I am, perhaps, a little different in that regard as I do have a moderately high amount of experience with the games. Believe it or not, my introduction to the Expanded Universe was through the games years before I found any books or comics!
The topic I chose to write about today is one that spurs some conversation among my friends whenever it comes up. Choice in Star Wars video games. There are many games that utilize player choice to enhance the experience being offered, but Star Wars Expanded Universe games seemed to have this down to an art. Take for example the extremely popular Knights of the Old Republic. This is a game I have played almost every year since my first playghrough back in late 2004. It is very familiar to me. (Hopefully I will be playing it again soon!)
Spoilers for Knights of the Old Republic will follow, so read on at your own risk! Knights of the Old Republic was a game that relied pretty heavily, both through its game mechanics and story wise, on your decisions as a player. If you stuck to the light side, your light sided abilities in combat were more cost effective and any dark side powers cost heavily to utilize. Conversely, you may have found healing yourself difficult on your dark sider….unless you caried items and had plenty of enemies to steal the health from!
Of course, it wasn’t just the game mechanics that altered based on your decisions, but the story itself would change. Did your character fall in love with Bastila allowing you to sway her back to the light at the end, which in turn helps save the Republic fleet from being crushed by the Sith forces?
Did you hang around Jolee Bindo long enough to experience the trial of his friend, Sunry?
Did you force Zaalbar to kill Mission in what is probably one of the more heartbreaking betrayals ever seen in the Expanded Universe?
Did you rescue Juhani from the edge of darkness and help her past her master’s trial?
And most importantly, did you EVER get Carth to talk about it? (Whatever it was?!)
These are just a few things that come to mind when I think about choices in Knights of the Old Republic. Light Side, Dark Side. Canon, non-canon. For the Republic or to the Republic’s destruction? So many different ways to play the game and so many different stories to experience. Choosing your route is inevitably going to mean you experience the game differently than the next person you speak with who plays it! To varying levels this phenomenon can be said of other Star Wars Expanded Universe games as well. Dark Forces: Jedi Knight, The Force Unleashed I and II or even the still active massive multiplayer online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, all of these have choices you make as the player which can cause a different story to pay out entirely!
In my opinion, this choice or player agency on the story allows for the maximum level of emersion, enjoyment and replay-ability. It is also why playing these games can be some of the greatest experiences you can have with the Star Wars Expanded Universe. So what are your thoughts on choice in Star Wars Expanded Universe games? Do you find yourself going back to these games to try out different choices? Do you stick to the same routes you have tried before? Are you like me and have some real conflict playing a dark sided character?
Let us know in the comments below!
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