Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is released in just a couple of hours and fans around the world are pre-loading the game and getting ready to play. Meanwhile, Gordy Haab, one of the game’s composers, told Forbes this is as dark as Star Wars gets.
Set five years after the tragic events of Episode III, Fallen Order centers on Cal Kestis (portrayed by Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan), a young Padawan on the run from the Empire with his trusty droid buddy, BD-1. That may sound like the set-up for a light-hearted road trippin’ comedy across the galaxy, but don’t be fooled because the game’s plot unfolds during one of the bleakest times in the franchise’s history.
“This is as dark as Star Wars gets,” Gordy Haab, one of the game’s composers, told me during a phone interview.
Haab is a veteran of both EA and the galaxy far, far away. Over the years, he has composed the scores for titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire, Battlefront I, and Battlefront II.
For Jedi: Fallen Order, Gordy was joined by Stephen Barton, a newcomer to Star Wars games, but an alum of the music departments for Titanfall and the 12 Monkeys TV show.
“It’s a point where it’s not really a battle against the Empire—they’re just the Empire. They’ve taken over and being a Jedi is an incredibly bad idea,” Barton said during the aforementioned call. “I think I was trying to see how we could push the envelope with [the score] in terms of expectation and how we could really kind of get over to that point that obviously this is a new tale—almost in a time where the optimism of the later trilogy, we’re not there yet. This is the deepest, darkest time of the galaxy.”
Under the fearless leadership of music supervisor Nick Laviers, Gordy and Stephen tapped into the rich sonic history of the Star Wars universe to come up with a sound that felt familiar, but also completely fresh.
“The John Williams element has to be there, at least for the audience to hold onto—to remind them that they’re in the Star Wars canon and the Star Wars universe,” Haab explained. “If you divert too far from that, you’re gonna lose people. Our goal was to see how far we could stretch and stray from that sound while still staying within the Star Wars universe. By doing that, we ended up creating something that is relatively new … Some of the music actually borders on gothic horror in some places and certainly dark, emotionally speaking. John Williams touched on it in some of the films, but I think this kind of lives there … The foundation of it is very much a dark score.”
According to Barton, the process began with an intense examination Williams’ influences rather than trying to simply emulate the legendary composer.
“[We were looking at] those things that were precursors to what John Williams was doing,” Stephen said. “Taking those and imagining, ‘Well, what if the first Star Wars trilogy had been incredibly dark story?’ But you want it to come from the same starting point, [and ask] ‘Where would you end up? What would John do?’ As opposed to ‘What would John write for another Star Wars project?’ And taking that philosophy to its end point. I think that was a lot of fun because it takes you to different places. It comes from the same starting point, but it [still] feels like it’s cut from the same cloth.”
Read the interview in full here — happy gaming!