Star Wars: Dark Forces Is Getting a Fan Remake and That’s Terrible
Star Wars: Dark Forces enjoys an iconic reputation among PC gamers. It was the first major video game title set in the Star Wars universe to adopt first-person Doom-style controls — and unlike the myriad number of Doom clones that were flooding the market at the time, Dark Forces was actually good. Even better than that, it told a completely original story in the Star Wars universe at a time when the EU was barely in its infancy and nerds were hungry for new Star Wars, in any form.
Now, that classic game is getting a remake — but not an official one. Jason Lewis, a senior developer at Obsidian, is working on recreating the game and has posted art to his ArtStation page. All images shown are his property.
The artwork is gorgeous. Lewis isn’t a character artist or modeler, so it’s not clear when we’ll see a playable game, or if it can even secure a release at all (he’s working on a stormtrooper, according to PC Gamer). Not all companies have been willing to play nice with fan remakes and recreations. But Dark Forces is an iconic, incredible game, even if it’s somewhat overshadowed by its sequel. So why do I call it “terrible” that we’re seeing this happen?
Because the last thing an IP as deep and rich as frickin’ Star Wars should be depending on for games and experiences is a fan remake of a title over 20 years old. But that’s what we’ve got.
Once upon a time (read: the mid-1990s to mid-2000s), LucasArts either licensed or self-developed a huge range of Star Wars titles. While some of them were pretty awful, classic games like X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and the Jedi Knight trilogy won accolades. Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel (when unofficially patched) are two of the strongest RPGs ever made if you can look past their age. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron might not have been a deep shooter or combat simulator, but it brought a lot of arcade fun to the table.
And in the years since? Mostly dreck, with a few exceptions. Battlefront was an enjoyable snack but offered little in the way of replayability or depth. Battlefront II went off the rails, courtesy of the loot box controversy. EA has canceled multiple projects, like Star Wars 1313. We’ve heard tell of other projects that attempted to reinvigorate the genre, all of which have gone down in flames.
It’s a little insane, when you think about it. It’s not solely related to the existence of the film universe, either. Great Star Wars games debuted in the 1990s, when the only films were the re-edited Special Releases. KOTOR and KOTOR 2 debuted when the prequel films were…in the theater. But as the years have passed, the number of good (not to mention great) Star Wars games has declined steadily, with little interest in reversing the trend, or so it seems.
It’s great to see such a classic piece of Star Wars history be updated, in any way, but it’d be even better to see Disney et al building new adventures in a galaxy far far away. Given the richness of the IP, it’s terrible that fan-based campaigns — however marvelous in and of themselves — are seemingly the extent of the work being done to bring good single-player Star Wars games to players. None of the players on the corporate stage exactly lack for money, skill, or experience. How about letting some of them do something with it?
Feature image by Jason Lewis. All art on this page by Jason Lewis. Jason Lewis presumably by his parents at some point.