The Star Wars franchise is one of the most popular in the world, so it is not surprising that, in addition to the actual films and series, there are also a huge number of video games in it: in total, over 100 (!) of them have been released on various platforms in recent decades. In this material, we will try to collect the most interesting of them – both classics of past years, which you can still try to play on modern systems out of nostalgia, and completely new hits.
Era of LucasArts
The first games in the Star Wars universe were released at the end of the 70s of the last century, just a year or two after the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Of course, we will not dig so deep – it is unlikely that anyone will have the desire (or even the opportunity) to play now the games that were released almost half a century ago on long-dead systems.
Therefore, let’s start with a relatively recent period, which is considered by many fans of the Star Wars universe to be the “golden era” of Star Wars video games, namely, the LucasArts era. This is the period from approximately the 90s of the 20th century and until 2013, when the studio created by George Lucas was closed almost immediately after the acquisition of LucasFilm by the Walt Disney Company.
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (1997)
The second part in the series of shooters Star Wars: Jedi Knight, which was a sequel to Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995). Both games received very favorable reviews at the time, but now for the vast majority of players, Dark Forces II may be of practical interest: the sequel used a significantly better engine and offered a number of technical and gameplay improvements. The game was only released on PC, and received a re-release many years later: in 2009, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II appeared on Steam, and in 2015 – on GOG.
Star Wars Episode I: Racer (1999)
The game about racing on aircraft – podracers – was based on the famous scene from the first part of the second trilogy, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and was released simultaneously with the movie itself, in May 1999. But unlike many games released for the premiere, Star Wars Episode I: Racer turned out to be a very successful futuristic arcade “car sim” with spectacular, for its time, graphics. Racer has long been called one of the best games in the Star Wars universe, and 20 years later it was even re-released for modern consoles: the game was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2020.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (2002)
An action-adventure game released on the PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles and therefore almost unknown to computer gamers. At the same time, Bounty Hunter, which told the story of the Mandalorian Jango Fett and acted as a plot prequel to the film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, was actually a very good game – with an interesting plot, high-quality graphics and shooter mechanics.
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002), Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003)
The first games in this post that LucasArts did not develop, but only published. The developer of the last two parts in the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series was the then well-known Raven Software studio, the games used the id Tech 3 engine (Quake III Arena) and offered significantly revised lightsaber combat mechanics with a third-person view. Like the rest of the games in the series, they appeared on Steam in 2009; in addition, in 2019, these two parts were re-released for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
The game that started its own little series. Developed by the legendary studio Bioware, Knights of the Old Republic is still considered one of the best role-playing games of all time. LucasArts offered the developer two options to choose from: either “tying” the game to the plot of the film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, or moving its events thousands of years into the past. Bioware chose the second option — and, it seems, it worked. The following year saw the release of a sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, which was developed by another studio, Obsidian Entertainment. It also received very favorable reviews, although somewhat more subdued than the first part. In addition, in 2021, Sony announced a remake of the first part, which should be released on PlayStation 5 and later on PC, but there is almost no information about it so far.
Star Wars: Battlefront (2004), Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
A series of multiplayer first-person and third-person shooters, developed by Pandemic Studios, released one year apart. Both games belong to the “non-canonical” universe of Star Wars Legends, in the second part there was a single-player story campaign, the ability to play as Jedi, battles in space and a certain connection with the movie Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005)
A first-person shooter, the events of which are not tied to any specific movie, but take place in the expanded universe of Star Wars Legends. The player controlled the commander of the “Delta” clone squad and could give orders to other fighters, which added good tactical elements to the game. Star Wars: Republic Commando was released on PC and Xbox, and was re-released on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2021.
Star Wars: Empire at War (2006)
The Star Wars universe is not very lucky with strategies: there have been frankly few games in this genre, and even fewer quality ones. At the moment, perhaps only Empire at War is worth the attention of fans of the genre – a real-time strategy that combines battles both on the planet and in space. The game is currently available on Steam and has rave reviews. They even brought back multiplayer in 2017.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
Third-person action, which was first released on consoles, and then was ported to PC. The game received mixed reviews: critics liked the story, but not the gameplay. Two years later, a sequel was released, the ratings of which were even lower. Now both parts are on Steam, and judging by the good ratings, The Force Unleashed has managed to find a certain number of fans.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011)
The second MMORPG in the Star Wars universe, which was released in the same year as the servers of the first, Star Wars Galaxies, closed. Unlike the “sandbox” that was Galaxies, The Old Republic became a story-driven MMO, which fans of the first did not like very much. However, SWTOR is a very good global online game that still exists and even gets updates, with the latest expansion, Legacy of the Sith, coming out last February. It should also be noted that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the third and last (at least for now) game in the Knights of the Old Republic series.
Sale of LucasFilm and partnership with Electronic Arts
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm, after which it closed LucasArts and canceled all the studio’s projects that were in development at the time – including the promising action Star Wars 1313. After that, Disney announced a partnership with Electronic Arts, which received exclusive rights to produce games in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars Battlefront (2015), Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)
The first projects since the takeover of Lucasfilm by the Walt Disney Company were the reboots of the popular multiplayer shooter, with the new parts being developed by EA’s in-house studio DICE, and given the same titles as the 2004 and 2005 games, so all four projects now usually have a release year added to them to avoid confusion. The new games were visually close to the look of the movies and had very impressive graphics thanks to the then-new Frostbite 3 engine. Both parts were very well received by the gaming community, and Battlefront II on Steam is still online at 1,000 concurrent players.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019), Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (2023)
A series of action-adventure with elements of “metroidvania” from the developers of Titanfall and Apex Legends. Set five years after the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Fallen Order follows a Padawan apprentice trying to rebuild the Jedi Order while being hunted by the Imperial Inquisition. The game was warmly received by both critics and players, and four years later received a sequel – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which was released in April 2023. However, although the second part also received positive reviews from critics, players criticized it due to technical problems.
Star Wars: Squadrons (2020)
Squadrons is not very well rated by players (the critics liked the game better), but we still decided to include it in this post because it is the only modern spaceship in the Star Wars universe (we don’t count the legendary 90s series X-Wing and TIE Fighter). Squadrons has a multiplayer mode and a story campaign, in which the player advocates either for the New Republic or for the Galactic Empire. Set after Return of the Jedi, the game is piloted exclusively in first-person view, with different fighter classes available for both factions.
The future of Star Wars games
In early 2021, Lucasfilm revived the Lucasfilm Games label as the licensing brand for all of its intellectual property — including Star Wars. So the era of the EA monopoly has come to an end, and now games in the Star Wars universe can be developed by other studios. So far, two major projects are known: Star Wars Outlaws, an open-world action-adventure from the developers of Tom Clancy’s The Division, and Star Wars: Eclipse, another action adventure, this time from the legendary studio Quantic Dream. Both games were announced immediately after the revival of the Lucasfilm Games label, Outlaws is scheduled for release in 2024, and there is still almost no information about Eclipse.