Return Of The Jedi Knight Series

By Alec Meer on September 14th, 2009 at 10:22 pm.

Yes, that's the Dark Forces cover art. And yes, you're A MASSIVE NERD for recognising it.

The LucasArts comeback wagon just keeps on rolling. It is a wagon laden with wondrous games both old and new, designed to trick us into falling in love with the computeryvideotasticgames arm of the George Lucas Empire all over again, even though it used to keep us locked in the cellar and whipped us with the metal end of its belt on a daily basis. It’s a deception few will grumble about, however. The revisiting of its back catalogue on download services (specifically, Steam and Direct2Drive) continues with the announcement that the Jedi Knight shooter/lightsaber series will fetch up on said services soon. That’s ‘soon’ as in ‘tomorrow’. Wootini!

No word on price, but LucasArt’s ever-excitable Twitter feed assures us “we have been good in the past, right?” [Polite cough]. I, ah, think they mean the very recent past, rather than most of the last decade. What is confirmed is that it’s the entire Jedi Knight series – so not simply Jedi Knight 1 &2, but also Jediless predecessor Dark Forces (which I played through a frightening number of times back in the day), divisive and arguably underrated sequel Jedi Academy and JK1′s Mara Jade-centric (a fan-favourite expanded universe character who, I believe, eventually ended up getting hitched to Luke Skywalker once he finally stopped having dirty thoughts about his sister) expansion Mysteries of the Sith.

I find the completism fascinating. We really are gradually headed towards a time when any and every major PC game is available near-instantly. That said, I’d love to see sales figures on these kinds of re-releases: do they purely have niche appeal, or are they genuinely reaching a new audience who isn’t running screaming from the olden graphics and lack of Achievements?

Still, o happy day. Trad. response, just to head you off at the pass: yes, but what about TIE Fighter/X-Wing? I’m sure they’re coming, but they probably need a little more technical skullduggery to play nice with XP/Vista/7. Patience, younglings. Oh, and I also want to see Shadows of the Empire re-released – but just the marvellous opening Snowspeeder vs AT-AT level, and not the ‘orrible rest of it.

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98 Comments »

  1. Roberto says:

    All this retro nostalgia is just fine, I’m a sap for games from my childhood, but what I want from LucasArts is a sequel to Republic Commando. Such an underrated game and I need closure on what happened to Sev.

  2. Daniel says:

    You toy with my heart, Sir. I saw the headline and assumed we were getting a [i]new[/i] Jedi Knight game. Good news, anyway.

  3. Paul says:

    Yeah I am gonna buy them all except Jedi Outcast which I already own as part of Best of PC Collection.

  4. Centy says:

    Yay! They have been good with the pricing of the games that have appeared on steam so hopefully I’ll be picking up JK2 and JKA for cheaps soon.

    Shadows of the Empire demo featuring the Hoth level £1.99 :D

    I’d rather have Rogue Squadron appear that was excellent and had a decent hoth level if I recall.

  5. airtekh says:

    I’ve only played JKII:Jedi Outcast of these, but I thought it was great.

    I might check some of the others out depending on the price.

  6. Benjamin Finkel says:

    I rather liked the rest of Shadows! But the Hoth bit was amazing, yeah. First game I played where you could thread the AT-AT legs – and no later game has an excuse to not let you.

    Ben

  7. Magnus says:

    No Go for me until they’re on Good Old Games.

    I wait in hope…

    Also, I’m pretty sure TIE Fighter works in XP (although it requires a joystick for the collector’s edition which brings another potential problem), though perhaps Vista may be an issue, since I’ve heard it doesn’t like older games much…

  8. deathcakes says:

    Arg, also fooled by the merest hints of a new Jedi Knight game. Still excellent news though.

  9. Schmung says:

    Memories of the imperial repeater surfacing..

    Sadly, I’m not a great one for older games. ’tis fine with a strategy type of game, but an old FPS (unless it’s Doom/Quake) just does nothing for me. I just wish they’d make a new one TBH

  10. Vandelay says:

    Surely the heading should have been the far less pun-tastic “Return of the Dark Forces series.” It will always be Dark Forces to me, just as Opal Fruits will always be Opal Fruits.

    All very good games, although I’m probably alone in my believe that Outcast is the weakest of all of them. Academy is very much underrated. Pretty much ditching any need for the lacklustre weapons was a smart move, and the greater emphasis on duels made for more fun when the cutting down of endless stormtroopers grow tiresome.

    But it is the earlier Dark Forces 2 and the addon that will always be my favourite of the series. I think I’m going to have to dig out my copies of those games and re-play them (probably Dark Forces too.) Possibly the best Star Wars games ever made, with only Knights of the Old Republic coming close.

    As for X-Wing/TIE Fight games, I’m not so sure they will be returning. I would like them to (as I missed out on them, besides X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter) but I would imagine that they would be even more niche than the majority of other retro games. After having attempted to play Freespace 2 on gamepad, I can honestly say that it is pretty much impossible to play space sims without a joystick. The lack of any joysticks around means that the audience would probably be tiny.

  11. Railick says:

    Tie fighter does work XP and so does X-Wing and X-wing Alliance :) Was playing Tie fighter the other day. (I’m not as good as I used to be lol)

    I’d love to see a flash game based on star wars where you’re an imperial storm trooper and you get points based on how close you can get to shooting the heros from Star wars without actuallying hitting them (to create tension without actually murdering a main plot character) Or maybe a G.I. Joe game

  12. Vinraith says:

    Old FPS’s (unlike old strategy games and old RPG’s, IMO) do present something of a graphical problem. I don’t suppose there are any mod overhauls out there for any of these games?

  13. army of none says:

    I loved this series, so much. It’s a damn shame I’m too poor to afford to buy them again when I already have them in hardcopy :/

  14. Persus-9 says:

    Well unless they take a wild break from the pricing model they’ve been using for their other rereleases I’ll be buying these as soon as they hit.

    I’ve never played the other games because I went off Star Wars (no prizes for guessing why) but Dark Forces was one of the games that made me because it was one of the games that really got me into PC gaming.

    I was a huge Star Wars fan around that time and I made the effort to learn more about PCs partly so I could tell my dad what needed upgrading on our PC so that I could play the Star Wars games rather than just playing whatever games my dad would bring home. It was also the first FPS game I ever played but sadly I was young and rubbish so I never completed it and didn’t have much fun dieing all the time so I sold it (one of only two games I’ve ever sold and the one I really regret) so I’ve still not finished it to this day.

    Still the fact is it was Dark Forces and the other Star Wars PC games that made me get into PC gaming and so in spite of the fact I never really enjoyed Dark Forces the first time round its place in my gaming history is one of huge importance and I look forward to finally finishing it now I’m less rubbish at games.

  15. newt says:

    The original Dark Forces uber alles. Katarn with a beard, lightsaber and Jan Ors as a girlfriend destroyed the series (although the JK / Mysteries combo is decent).

  16. Lambchops says:

    Ah good old Jedi Knight and Jedi Outcast. So much fun was had in the latter with the saber realistic combat and spawn enemy console commands. Spawn some goodies and baddies and let battle commence, see how many shadow troopers you could dismember before being taken out – there were so many possibilities. The game was damn good too.

    i never gor round to playing Dark Forces (it just looked a bit to dated for me, I played Jedi Knight after Jedi Outcast but Dark Forces just didn’t quite appeal) and probably wont.

    As for Jedi Academy it was fun apart from the shitty stealth sections and really obvious “be good or evil here” moment, which was telegraphed from the start of the game and due to poor characterisation had all the emotional impact of a a sardine rubbed ever so gently across your lower thigh. And the level design wasn’t as good. However you still got to run riot with a lightsaber and therefore it was fun.

    As with Schmung I’d love to see a new one – it was a good series of games.

    I also agree with a re-release of the space sims. I had a collectors edition thing and while X-Wing and X-Wing vs Tie worked fine Tie Fighter itself (arguably the best one) wouldn’t work, so I’d quite like to revisit that.

  17. TooNu says:

    Dark Forces is coming to STEAM!!! OMFG GLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  18. Lambchops says:

    @ Vinraith

    There’s ccertainly a texture pack for Jedi Knight – but I have a feeling it wont appease you if you tend to be put off by old graphics. It isn’t exactly a complete overhaul if I remember correctly, more a smoothing out of the rougher edges. Did the job for me though.

  19. lonerock says:

    “Revenge of the Jedi Knight Series” would have been a great title for this post. Also, Wootini, you say? RPS needs more Rifftrax/Cinematic Titanic//MST3K references, methinks.

  20. Monchberter says:

    GET IN!

    For me, my introduction to FPS’s wasn’t Doom, it was Dark Forces and then Jedi Knight.

    I am a happy nostalgee

  21. The_B says:

    I think given the love in the other thread it’s time to spread it about a bit in this LucasArts post. (oo-err)

    YAY FOR ALEC MEER!

  22. LewieP says:

    There are a few notable games that I don’t think are available to download right now.

    The System Shock games (which I think EA own)
    Most of Bioware’s back catalogue is unavailable.
    Alpha Centauri (again, owned by EA) had a reprint in the UK recently, but is not available as a download.
    The Neverhood (also owned by EA – I am seeing a pattern here) isn’t available as a download at all.
    Blizzard only have a handful of games available as a download, and only direct from them.

  23. Knight Of Cydonia says:

    I came. Repeatedly.

  24. fearian says:

    Still the fact is it was Dark Forces and the other Star Wars PC games that made me get into PC gaming and so in spite of the fact I never really enjoyed Dark Forces the first time round its place in my gaming history is one of huge importance and I look forward to finally finishing it now I’m less rubbish at games.

    Same. I am quite happy.

  25. Carra says:

    I noticed that SW: KOTOR was placed on steam a week or so ago :)

    And I also think that Jedi Academy is an underrated game, just like the Republic Commando game. Jedi Academy had one of the best close combat fighting systems I’ve played. And it was a lot of fun to swing that lightsaber in multiplayer.

  26. Greg Wild says:

    Can’t. Wait.

    Dark Forces really was a benchmark for me. Dark Forces 2 was the game I bought my first graphics card for – and I’ve got fond memories lightsaber dueling over my LAN with it. Can’t wait to play Mysteries of the Sith as well, which I never managed to get around to buying back in the day.

    Good times a’coming :D

  27. Dan says:

    X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter is a bit of a mess on modern systems. I’d love to see the bugs fixed and a new release that hooks into Steam’s friend list for matching players together… Not to mention the Balance of Power expansion.

    I have my USB stick ready and at least a half dozen wingmen willing, when can I blow that death star with a fleet of b-wings?

  28. Vinraith says:

    @Lambchops

    Thanks. I’ll have a look at it, anyway. It’s funny, old graphics bother mein some genres (racing games, FPS’s) and have no impact at all in others (non-RTS strategy, most RPG’s). I think it’s to do with how important it is that I be able to quickly identify or distinguish something on screen, more than it simply being important that it’s “pretty.”

  29. Monchberter says:

    A warning to everyone, Mysteries of the Sith was brutally hard if i do remember. The Sith Temple at the end was possibly the most disturbing gaming experience of my youngling life. Constant ambient whisperings like heavy schizophrenia and almost unkillable zombies using force lighting and stone sith warriors with lightsabres who could one-hit kill you.

    :(

  30. Lambchops says:

    @ Vinraith

    Yeah, i see where you’re coming from there. i remember getting all nostalgic once and downloading Privateer (probably one of the first games I can remember) to enjoy all over again . . . and I couldn’t. Didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on. i guess some games just age better than others.

  31. Schadenfreude says:

    Ever since watching the FMV sections of Dark Forces 2 I always think of Kyle Katarn as a grown up Bud Bundy.

  32. Sabre says:

    Yay! A chance to finally play the original Dark Forces without having to buy it for extortionate prices on Ebay and the like. Only one I’ve not played in this awesome series.

  33. Schmung says:

    I would tread over numerous relatives to get at a proper working modernised version(s) of the golden era X-Wing/Tie games. Tie Fighter ate three joysticks. Made Daley Thompson look like a ponce dammit. Of course, it may well be awful in this day and age, by my specs are as rose tinted as is possible when it concerns those games.

  34. Rei Onryou says:

    I feel a great disturbance in the interwebs. As if millions of geeks suddenly cried out in joygasms, and were suddenly satiated. I fear something incredible has happened.

    I don’t know when I’ll have time to play these, but I don’t care. Money spend time!

  35. DarkNoghri says:

    Oooo, Star Warsy stuff. Still awaiting Tie Fighter.

    Is anyone else getting spammed by Dogs of the Sea ads that seem to be using the Civony method of gaining attention?

  36. ChampionHyena says:

    yes

    YES

    YESSSSSSSSSS

  37. Davik says:

    I totally recognised the cover art, and I was only 4 when it came out!

  38. Novotny says:

    This idea that a joystick will make TIE fighter niche is bollocks.

    How many people had plastic guitars prior to whatever-it-is they play on consoles?

    Besides, I have three ready to go :D

    Come to think of it, I’ve probably bought more joysticks than any other hardware over – er – the last 26 years or so.

    Let me recount them: Quickshot 1,2 (twice), TAC, Competition Pro (the coolest of all), Cyborg, Cyborg Evo, some other Cyborg, Thrustmaster 1600.

    I know I had at least two other sorts in and around the Quickshot era but I cannae remeber what it was.

    I haven’t included gamepads etc.

    So basically, balls. If you haven’t got at least one joystick you’re a poor excuse for a pc gamer.

  39. psychosomatic says:

    One assumes that Dark Forces will happily run on XP etc?

    That I will pay for. The others I have owned disks of.

  40. Senethro says:

    I hope they somehow get mouse control working in Dark Forces as some little bonus. I’d pay money for that – otherwise, I’d be happy to leave it to nostalgia. Its never worth going back to keyboard controls in an FPS.

  41. Igor Hardy says:

    Dark Forces is the only one I really liked. Well, the first Jedi Knight played quite cool as well, but the cutscenes and storyline were absolute crap.

  42. Railick says:

    I loved Jedi Knight Academy I think it has the best saber fighting of any game yet released.

  43. Railick says:

    @Roberto – You can find out what happened to Sev, they’re not going to make a sequal instead they released a book telling what happened to tie in with the game O.o Yah, strange I know.

  44. Railick says:

    actually I think I’m wrong. There were Republic Commando books but I think they are unrelated to the game ? I Just remember there being something out at the time that suggested if you wanted to find out what happened after the game you’d have to read the books. Ah well whatever O.o I wanted to know what happened too I was very disappointed when the game just ended right in what I considered to be the middle of it.

  45. Idle Threats and Bad Poetry says:

    I googled Mara Jade on a whim, and I looked at the Star Wars Wookipedia. The quantity of information about her is horrifying. I mean, seriously, I understand being really into something, but some people need to get a life.

    You think they could at least put their obsession for details to good use and study REAL history or something.

  46. Oak says:

    Fun fact: that article is twice as long as “Bartleby the Scrivener”.

  47. Riotpoll says:

    I’ve only played Jedi Academy, but it is one of the few games I’ve completed as it was rather fun, especially the lightsabres.

  48. Mister Yuck says:

    Every part of Shadows of the Empire was perfect and you can go to hell, Meer! That’s my childhood you’re talking about!

  49. drygear says:

    I wonder if this version of JK/MotS are compatible with mods. I have fond memories of hanging out on the Command Chamber forums and playing mods for Jedi Knight. It was a great community and they made some great mods. Anyone who plays JK and MotS should go back and check them out. The hub was at . The single player hub was at . Both have good reviews. And wow, the Massassi forums are still going.

  50. drygear says:

    Bah, ignore my post above. I don’t know how to do the html tags properly, so I took them out here.

    I wonder if this version of JK/MotS are compatible with mods. I have fond memories of hanging out on the Command Chamber forums and playing mods for Jedi Knight. It was a great community and they made some great mods. Anyone who plays JK and MotS should go back and check them out. The hub was at http://www.massassi.net and the single player hub was at http://www.commandchamber.net . Both have good reviews. And wow, the Massassi forums are still going.