Star Wars: Restitution Commando

that's what YouTube looked like back then

My 17,000 word feature on the 50 best PC first-person-shooters is 100% objectively correct, with once exception – due to a multiversal non-causal timeslip event, the existence of Star Wars: Republic Commando was removed from all reality for just a moment. Unfortunately, that moment just happened to be the moment that I otherwise would have noted it down for inclusion in the list. Imagine my horror when the multiverse reverted to normality and my memories of the last great Star Wars shooter came flooding back. I tried to make belated amends by noting in the feature’s postscript that RepCom was officially placed at position 17.5, but I felt further restitution was necessary. I’m very lucky: an opportunity has presented itself.

Brett Douville, lead programmer on LucasArts’ surprisingly charismatic squad-based FPS, one of few good things to come out of Stars Wars’ prequel doldrums, has begun a livestreamed oral history of Republic Commando. He plays the game, he talks about its creation, the design thinking throughout, its constraints, and aspects he’s not so sure about in hindsight. The first instalment has been archived on YouTube, and I guess I’ll stick it right about here:

Admittedly, having to simultaneously and noisily gun down a galaxy’s worth of battledroids and whatever those insect-guys are called doesn’t make for the smoothest-flowing narration, but it’s nonetheless a bounteous clutch of anecdotes and insights into how a big-studio game gets made.

Douville, by the way, went on to work on Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and is now doing his own thing.

More instalments are planned, with part two due on Twitch next Tuesday, or it should fetch up on his YouTube channel not long afterwards. Maybe we’ll finally find out what happened to Sev?

I AM VERY SORRY REPUBLIC COMMANDO

47 Comments

  1. Not_Id says:

    So what about Star Trek Voyager Elite Force Alec? It’s a top 10 contender. It really is that good.

      • Kefren says:

        Your avatar always looks very apologetic and beleaguered.

          • Loyal_Viggo says:

            Your avatar is from one of the old Transformers comics I believe, but I forget the name of the bot.

          • Brego says:

            I thought it was Deathshead from some old Marvel UK comic i used to read as a kid, it was like 2000AD only cooler!

          • Ryuuga says:

            There was a crossover where Deathshead appeared in a Transformers arc. Sure does look like him.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            Its Deathhead. He did a lot of crossovers with Transformers but he was his own character with his own comic series.

            He’s been rebooted twice. The first time during the Dark Ages of comics and lost his comedic touch. The second time was a few years ago and it barely resembled his original sense in style or character.

          • horrorgasm says:

            Death’s Head. Death’s. Head.

          • thekelvingreen says:

            Damn me for knowing this.

            Death’s Head was designed as a throwaway character for a story in Marvel UK’s Transformers but they liked him so much they decided to keep him so he first appeared in a one-page strip so that Marvel could keep ownership of the character instead of having his rights default to Hasbro.

            He appeared in a few TF stories and turned out to be a bit of a fan favourite then there was an incident with a time portal and Unicron, then he met the Seventh Doctor and got shrunk to human size, then he bounced around the Marvel Universe for a bit then he died and got replaced by a new model. Then Marvel UK went under.

            Many years later a third version popped up but it wasn’t very interesting.

            Then a Kieron Gillen, formerly of this parish, started writing for Marvel and reintroduced the original DH back into the comics and he’s made a few appearances since.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            Ah FFS, how did I miss something as blatant as that. Its almost as bad as adding 3.0 to the name.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            @thekevingreen

            He also made a one panel appearance in a small advertorial for some generic team based comic Marvel UK were trying to push.

          • thekelvingreen says:

            Yes, Death’s Head was Marvel UK’s Wolverine equivalent for a while. He was everywhere.

        • DanMan says:

          Tactics, clearly.

    • Kefren says:

      I thought SE:EF was a bit boring. I got some enjoyment from the Borgy bits but many other bits were a drag, and very little of it sticks in my memory despite completing it. Whereas something like HL, NOLF or SS2 stuck in my mind for a long time after playing, and I could remember each point of their stories, each level.

  2. UKPartisan says:

    I think Republic Commando would slot rather nicely into position currently being squatted by the dreadful Mirror’s Edge…I depise that game.

    • welverin says:

      Or he could replace Thief 2 with Republic Commando, since Thief really isn’t a shooter. That multiversal event wasn’t time related, it just made him miscategorize that.

    • Continuity says:

      Not to mention that mirrors edge isn’t an FPS and shouldn’t be in the list at all (being first person and having a gun doesn’t make the game an FPS, shooting is far from its main mechanic).

  3. mattevansc3 says:

    Republic Commando just goes to show that the quality of any given product in the Star Wars universe is inversely proportional to the number of Jedi in that product.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Jedi Knight II wasn’t that bad.

      • Continuity says:

        Correction: Jedi Knight II was superb, an average shooter perhaps but overall an excellent Star Wars game.

    • HamsterExAstris says:

      Lego Star Wars begs to differ.

      Otherwise, I think you’re spot on.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I always played KotOR 1 with an all-Jedi party as soon as I could. Jedi are OP, but they are also the most fun and varied characters in combat. All Jedi Knight games are great and I quite liked the Force Unleashed games despite their PC port issues. I did like the start of KotOR 1 before you had any Jedi powers and playing as non-Jedi in a game is fun for a change, but it’s much more fun to play as Jedi.

      • wwarnick says:

        I agree that lightsabers and the force are super fun. Jedi Knight II is one of my favorites (I hated the way Force Unleashed did it). I never thought I’d like a straight-up Star Wars shooter, and being the Star Wars geek that I am, I took one look at the screenshots for Republic Commando and said “Trandoshans aren’t green!” Anyway, I bought it on a steam sale and it’s now my all-time favorite Star Wars game. I just can’t seem to get sick of it. I can play it over and over. RPS should do a list of the 50 most underrated games. This would be at the top.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Trandoshans vary between green and yellowish brown but I guess none of that is “canon” now. ^^ I think I even had a purple one in Star Wars Galaxies, If I haven’t gone entirely senile. :P

          I don’t mind playing as jedi but I always wanted to use blasters + force powers in KotOR, like in the Jedi Knight games. I just wish they were better designed with that in mind but I guess the blame is on the DnD class system. The lightsaber was always the preferable choice as soon as you became a rookie padawan. Even Luke kept blasting (space yeti exempted) until he had some training by Yoda and duelling with Vader.

          • wwarnick says:

            You’re right. At the time, I was basing my knowledge of Trandoshans solely on Bossk.

  4. fuggles says:

    Never played this and foolishly missed it in the last sale. Next time, I promise!

    Token – Terra Nova? Overlooked Looking Glass classic, astounding game and I suppose a FPS. Please feature terra nova somewhere somehow thankyou.

  5. suibhne says:

    Any good/useful mods for this? I found it pretty painful to get working on my 2014-era hardware, and I momentarily gave up with a vow to return.

    • Creeping Death says:

      What kind of problems have you run into? I periodically go back to the game, the last time being earlier this year on Windows 8, and I’ve never encountered any problems getting it to work. The only thing I ever need to do is tweak the .ini to the resolution I want.

    • welverin says:

      Were you trying the GOG version?

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      PCGamingWiki to the rescue as always: link to pcgamingwiki.com
      You can probably mitigate most/all problems with the info there.

    • MistaJah says:

      Dive into the gog.com forums and PCGamingwiki. That’s how I got my steam version working perfectly. Don’t forget to apply AA from your gpu driver settings.

  6. Houghtezo says:

    Glad this made the top 50. I was going to leave a complaint on the top 50 article about its omission, but realised it must have been #51

  7. Ryuuga says:

    Why is blue ghost-Boba Fett wearing a great big diaper?

    • DrScuttles says:

      Presumably he was wearing it when he died. Own your kink and all that.

  8. Necron99 says:

    Heretic, Hexen, Witchaven?

  9. Ostymandias says:

    I’m not much for either remakes or Star Wars but this one begs it. Extended version with some of the cut missions put back in, some graphic tweaks and optimization for modern systems. Should be quite straight forward, depending on how much material is left from development (voice-overs, graphic resources and so on).

    Or just a straight-up sequel. (To tie in with one of the new films? Star Wars: Imperial Commando?)

  10. Solidstate89 says:

    One of the most underrated FPS games I’ve ever played. Half the time I mention this as one of my Star Wars games I get confused looks because people have never heard of it. The other half of the time I get looks of disdain because even though they never played, they just assumed it was awful.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rublore says:

      Really? Whenever I hear it mentioned, it’s always bathed in praise. So I grabbed it when it showed up on GOG, and… it’s ok so far. Nothing particularly special. I can only assume it gets better.

      And hope that the instance of one of my fellow squadmates getting stuck in a wall and forcing me to reload is a one-off bug.

  11. Monggerel says:

    You realize, of course, that this correction now officially marks Republic Commando as the best shooter of all time.
    OF ALL TIME
    BETTER THAN

  12. WJonathan says:

    I never tired of taking down the Super Battle Droids. They were tough, just a little scary, and oh-so-rewarding when they finally fell to the ground. The mechanized enemies in RC, unless so many other cookie cutter Star Wars games, felt as if they were real, cumbersome, metal monstrosities, with mass and velocity. Fun game. Though it somehow managed to simultaneously become repetitive and then end too soon.

  13. Caiman says:

    Gah, I didn’t like this game at all. Just played it last week for the first time. Apart from looking understandably pretty dated, I just found it uninspiring. Perhaps this is because I can’t stand prequel Star Wars, but there’s zero atmosphere. When I hit my first huge difficulty spike early in the game, I just couldn’t be arsed with it. So uninspiring, but perhaps it was more impressive at the time.

  14. Arithon says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t your review also exclude BattfleField 2? Surely that makes the list invalid by default. Especially considering the inclusion of some rather mediocre games and some non-FPS titles.
    Bad Company 2 was included when it was half the game BF2 was.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      No way man it was like 13/17ths of the game BF2 was and therefore validates the list because math.

    • Continuity says:

      Well, BF 1942 is in there so thats good enough for me, crappy net coding aside 1942 was the only BF game with decent balance for infantry, vehicles, and planes.