Let's go ahead and address the bantha in the room - EA's exclusive rights to the Star Wars license has, to-date, resulted in almost as many cancelled projects as have actually been released. Since striking a deal with Disney for the highly sought-after license in 2013, EA has only managed to release two lackluster Battlefront reboots, some forgettable (now defunct) mobile games, and a handful of expansions for the critically-acclaimed but commercially panned Star Wars The Old Republic. While these are the titles that have actually made it to market, there were some notable cancellations due to Disney's acquisition of the brand, but most glaringly, corporate greed.
In a lot of ways, the success or failure of Respawn's go at creating an immersive, narrative-driven Star Wars experience could very well be the tipping point for EA's relationship with Disney, despite what might be reported in recent press releases. EA's track record with the coveted license is noticeably abysmal, and executives on both sides as well as fans are eagerly awaiting this particular release with clenched fists and bated breath.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this game's existence is that it's going to be single-player, story-driven, and entirely linear. That, by definition, means that there will be a definitive ending and, by extension, will limit its commercial viability for the long-term. While you, a lover of games that tell a story and transform the medium into an interactive, cinematic experience might be okay with this revelation, it is entirely in contrast with how EA typically views their releases as being a service that can continuously bring in more revenue through micro-transactions and DLC. Additionally, it should be noted that EA just recently canned one of their in-development titles for that very reason.
In any case, if you haven't managed to watch the official trailer that was revealed at last weekend's Star Wars Celebration, this would be an excellent opportunity to do so. I'll wait.
As you can probably surmise from the tone of this trailer, things aren't looking too great for the Jedi Order. As is uncovered throughout the reveal, this story takes place shortly after the newly appointed Emperor issues Order 66, and is using his far-reaching authority to systematically cull the Jedi from the galaxy. As one of the last surviving Jedi, you are forced (no pun intended) to keep your identity hidden as to not alert the Emperor's death squads. Pretty grim, right? The period between the Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope might be ripe for cultivating new cannon, but is decidedly light on good vibes.
For all of its potential, one thing that immediately struck me about this trailer was that we are once again occupying the robes of yet another generic white guy. While I'm absolutely on board with any scenario that involves me wielding a lightsaber and sticking it to the Empire (it's a metaphor), as a real-life generic white dude, I'd be more impressed with the "edginess" of Fallen Order's intended presentation if it wasn't going to have me repeating the same old "White man faces adversity" formula that has been done so many times before. While I'm not trying to be overtly preachy, I just feel like the galaxy is too vast and diverse to continually churn out the same face for every hero.
Personal bias aside, the trailer offered very little in terms of gameplay, and it did not hint at how much freedom we will be given to explore the galaxy. While I understand that this is undoubtedly the first of many trailers to come out in the coming months, I can't help but think back to all the hype that surrounded the lead up to the Force Unleashed when it launched back in 2008. Perhaps apples to oranges in comparison (that game's development was handled in-house by the now-defunct LucasArts), it nevertheless should be regarded as a telling example for when a game's marketing intentionally focuses on its graphical prowess or cinematic allure, rather than the aspects of the game that, if lacking in substance, will ultimately negate any visual achievements. Only time will tell whether or not my reservations are valid.
As a life-long Star Wars fan, I hope that Fallen Order is able to shift the perception for what a game based in the sprawling and relatively untapped reaches of that galaxy far, far away can achieve. However, as someone who is tired of publishers such as EA being given seemingly unlimited power, only to repeatedly abuse it, maybe Fallen Order needs to be the martyr that allows someone else a turn.