Star Wars means a lot to different people. The way we conceptualize what makes a story in a Galaxy Far Far Away can look different for every fan, but one thing pervades it all from within the franchise: rumors. No, we’re not talking about the rumor mill and “scoops” from any number of fan sites. We’re talking about the way the Jedi and their legacy continue after Order 666. We’re talking about how Luke became a legend.
While I’ve only played three hours of the game as of now, what I have experienced of the Rumor System has the potential to be one of the best immersive mechanics in a Star Wars game yet. The immersive elements are two-fold. First, you have the way that the Rumor System allows the player to seamlessly explore the world. Without needing quest trackers or notes for side quests, rumors work as in-game pushes to check out unexplored areas and paths. For those looking to explore the vast worlds created by Respawn’s development team, the rumor system allows you to travel through stories effortlessly before returning naturally to the game’s main path.
In an interview with But Why Tho?, Jeff Magers (Design Director, Respawn) added some context to how the Rumor System encourages exploration beyond the main campaign quests without breaking immersive storytelling. “We want to give the players the excuse to take a look in that cave over there or see what’s behind that path. Some players will just bust through the main path. And that’s great. They want to focus on the story because they really are invested in those moments. Some players will do every single thing they can if it’s available to them before going in. And that’s awesome, too. So we want to support all these different playstyles.”
Executive Producer Blair Brown added, “We try to also not create a task list for people. And so you go to this one person and get 20 requests. And now you’re doing that. But also there are just little hints, you should maybe check [that interesting side quest] out. There’s nothing that is like, ‘go over there,’ ‘save this person and bring them back.’ or ‘go get five bubbles’ or anything like that, which I think lets you explore at your own pace. You don’t feel overwhelmed by ‘this I something you’ve got to do’ which is what I feel sometimes.”
While I love the Rumor System and what it does for immersion, Respawn’s ability to balance gameplay for every player means that you don’t need to find the Rumor in order to complete the side stories attached to them. Why does this matter? Because Jedi Survivor is massive and rewards the player for embracing every pixel of the environment, but it doesn’t punish you for missing anything in the Rumor System. Instead, these suggestions made by NPCs help build a larger world and encourage you to explore it.
Secondly, the Jedi Survivor Rumor System makes the lore of the game feel even more expansive than what you would expect. In that ease of exploration comes the second way the Jedi Survivor Rumor System has the potential to be the best immersive mechanic in a Star Wars Game. Like the rumors that have historically inspired rebellions and held onto hope in the Star Wars films and television series, Jedi Survivor’s Rumor Ststem manages to situate Cal within an expansive world with people and places that extend beyond the story you’ve settled in to play. While the system will expose you to all manner of side quests, the existence of rumors in the world means that there is more out there than just the places you have visited.
Nothing has felt more like Star Wars than when I hear people whispering about stories you can’t see just yet and ultimately point to something larger than your one character. This element has endless potential to open up the world of Jedi Survivor in fantastic ways and I can’t wait to see it at its full scale when the game releases.
Star Wars Jedi Survivor releases April 28, 2023 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Microsoft Windows (via Origin and Steam).
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.