The year is 1999, and Star Wars is all the rage with the release of Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace on cinema, with an official game releasing that year as well.
As a kid, Rogue Squadron was everything I played, and The Phantom Menace game indeed became my passion. Replaying the levels and trying to understand what I now understand were straightforward obstacles. Moving forward a few years, we received many great games like Republic Commando, Battlefront, Jedi Academy, The Old Republic, and more. Great gaming memories I owe to these games.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon this Star Wars fan-made project. Unfortunately, we only had a little information other than fantastic art pieces, which I enjoyed looking at. The artist is Etienne Beschet, and I saved his Artstation profile.
But something changed when I went back to see the project's progress. We now have a community following Etienne, a demo, and a name. Introducing Star Wars: Redemption, now in development for over ten years.
For a while, I watched on the sidelines. I just enjoyed receiving updates on the progress of Etienne and his group of friends he received help from. But I didn't touch the demo. I didn't want to spoil it. I was waiting for the right time for me to jump in.
This project was not created full-time, so I decided not to be stressed by the hype. In Redemption, there is a unique Star Wars story that I have never heard before. It's original, and it's my favorite period of time in the franchise's timeline non the less.
The story's main hero is Mevenn, which ignited the project while Etienne created her initial concept art for fun in 2012. And the more extraordinary part with Mevenn is that she uses a dual lightsaber at a distance by using the force. No grip is being used.
Redemption is a labor of love to research and development in video games, art, and passion.
It has been created in the free time of Etienne and of the people who help him occasionally. Obviously, the project cannot become a fully commercialized game due to IP concerns with Disney, but I honestly only understood the full scale of it once I finally tried the demo.
Online, Etienne is not talking about what is in Redemption. It is more of a great surprise once you try it out. He is creating the game he wants to play, not what other people tell him they want.
What I discovered is an old-school-like 3D platformer with gorgeous environments. That is precisely what I wanted. This what brought me back down memory lane to the good old days of The Phantom Menace game.
You are playing Mevenn, and you have your health bar and some sort of stamina level. That's it. basic. You will immediately notice a fleshed-out animation that we need in a Jedi game, allowing you to make sick moves while crushing down your enemies.
Something else you will learn about is the "Force Ghosts" system. Which really gives me this old-school feel I mentioned. The levels are built so that Ghosts are scattered around, in a way that makes you explore more. and collecting them will also grant you additional critical damage.
There is a good amount of Ghosts in every level to collect, and if you collect all of them, you will unlock more levels. After installation, there is a training ground and six more levels to play in. The Ghosts will unlock more, including space battle levels.
The latest major update to the demo released in July 2022, with two more updates following. The latest one was released in December.
The game is built on Unreal Engine 4. However, there has yet to be an immediate plan to upgrade to Unreal Engine 5. At the moment, Star Wars: Redemption will not be a complete game either. But we need to find out what the future holds in that regard.
"As I never planned on making a demo in 2012/2013 when I first designed Mevenn. To me, planning also adds pressure the same way it does when you promise to make what players wants"
The official Frequently Asked Questions article is an excellent read to understand more about the project and Etienne's thoughts about the development process.
It's not available on Steam or consoles, and you can only access the demo by following the instructions on Artstation's project page. It's purely for PC, and you should have decent hardware to run it. It also supports a gamepad instead of a mouse and keyboard if you wish to use it.
When you look at the project for the first time, hearing it's not a 'complete game'... well, you are in for a treat. It's more complete than you think. There are different difficulty levels as well, which will require you to consider how you move around, use more dashing and countering and go a bit more defensive when playing the higher difficulty levels.
The end game is when you complete all six primary levels available. Then you unlock bonus levels. There are also secret levels, but I will not spoil more than that.
Etienne mentions that this project could be anything. He is here for the love of creating this world, Mevenn, the story, and everything in between. It could be an animation series as much as it is a game. And judging by the level of animation and CG in the official trailer, I'm definitely in favor of a fan-made series in the world of Star Wars: Redemption. I honestly can't wait to see more from this project.
When you wish to follow the instructions to download Star Wars: Redemption, it will be free, and you can choose to tip Etienne if you'd like.
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