Friday, September 3, 2010

Jedi Duels: Essential Elements

Star Wars is a pretty big canvas, and it expands dramatically when you look past the big screen into all the novels and comic books. I'm not doing any of that. In fact, I'm sticking to the second set of movies, and only a narrow section of those. Hey, I don't have the SW RPG license, so I only want to attempt so much with this.

If this game is all about being jedi, specifically jedi in the Old Republic as established by the prequels, by my estimation I need the following things in this game:

  1. Speed - Jedi action is fast, extremely, unrelentingly fast. The resolution mechanic needs to be simple to an extreme degree in all aspects so that action can be resolved as close to instantly as possible.
  2. No Incidental Injuries - People get hurt in these films, but there's no slow wearing down of someone's vitality, no death by papercuts. Thus standard damage tracking like hit points or cumulative wound levels are inappropriate here. You're either hurt really badly or you can ignore it. 
And that's it. Sure, there's talk of succumbing to the dark side, but in the prequels, despite them supposedly being about someone falling, there's very little teetering on the precipice. I didn't see Anakan as someone who was all that centered and serene to begin with. He was moody and violent and in general dark side material from the get go. Meanwhile, everyone else never once felt tempted to go dark. These films aren't the originals, where we see a good Luke pushed to the edge by circumstance and only through introspection and discipline pull himself back.

Now, I think a Star Wars game focusing on jedi could result in tremendously deep character play if you make a good mechanic that tempts you to the dark side. Actually, that sounds awesome, but it wouldn't be one modeling the prequels. That game would, by its nature, be more suited for campaign play because it would require character investment and development. That's more than I've got time for. So instead, as a light throw away game, I'm concentrating on the action and skipping the character.

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