There have been dozens of Star Wars games over the decades, but the vast majority of those fall into the action-adventure genre. Even the Star Wars series at large has barely dabbled in certain genres, especially horror. It’s a bit surprising considering the Star Wars universe is filled with countless horrific aliens and creatures. It’s high time Star Wars gets a big and bold horror game, something that could bring a breath of fresh air to the franchise.
Certain parts of the Star Wars franchise have dabbled with horror elements in the past. The Clone Wars has multiple episodes with a horror slant, like “Legacy of Terror,” which sees Obi-Wan fighting off a hive full of reanimated Geonosian warriors. Books like Death Troopers have dived into the genre, which features an abandoned ship full of zombified Storm Troopers. Then there are the smaller moments that feel utterly terrifying, like the incredible Darth Vader scene at the end of Rogue One.
All of this reinforces the idea that Star Wars can really shine when it tries horror, and video games are one of the most fascinating genres for the medium. There are already some ideas that would be absolutely perfect. With the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show, the series is once again bringing up the Inquisitors, villains that could be perfect for a scary title. A horror game could have you play as a Jedi on the run from the Inquisitors, as they relentlessly hunt and stalk you, something along the lines of Alien Isolation.
In 2020 Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson talked about his vision for an R-Rated Star Wars movie focusing on the snow planet Hoth, along the lines of The Thing. That’s an idea that would also work exceptionally well in a video game format. Focusing on a group of Rebel Alliance soldiers, there could be some fascinating mechanics that require players to figure out which allies are infested by some kind of alien parasite. The idea isn’t out of the realm of possibility either, as the aforementioned Death Troopers featured an alien lifeform that zombified Storm Troopers.
There are even loads of ideas you could mine from a late 90s book series called Star Wars: Galaxy of Fear. The series was essentially a space-themed response to the overwhelming success of Goosebumps. While Galaxy of Fear was definitely slanted toward a younger audience there were some fantastic stories.
Some of the highlights include an abandoned Jedi library haunted by a ghost that can’t move on and a story where one of the protagonists has their mind trapped in the body of a spider. All twelve books in the series focus on a different sub-genre of horror, and any one of them could serve as the basis for a new video game.
There’s one key factor to any kind of Star Wars horror game, and that lies in taking the power away from the player. Almost every Star Wars game is about a power fantasy, letting players wield godlike force powers and overcome insurmountable odds. Republic Commando is the best example of a Star Wars game trying something different, taking a grittier and more militaristic tone, while even looping in some light horror elements. It’d be fascinating to see a Star Wars game strip away all that power and make players feel vulnerable.
Star Wars is at a point where it needs fresh ideas, as there’s currently no mainline path in terms of major films. There are currently eight different Star Wars games in production, most of which we know very little about. It’s clear that Lucasfilm and Disney are doubling-down on games, and while the series at large branches out with fantastic new ideas like The Mandalorian and the High Republic, it’s about time video games do the same.