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System Shock devs are remastering cult classic Star Wars shooter Dark Forces in 4K

Kyle Katarn is back, again.

Darth Vader points at a lackey in a remastered cutscene from Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster
Image credit: Nightdive Studios/Lucasfilm Games

Star Wars’ nineties first-person shooter Dark Forces is returning in a 4K-ified remaster from Nightdive Studios, the folks behind the recent System Shock remake. The upcoming Dark Forces Remaster will see its visuals bumped up to a crisp 4K, running at 120 frames per second, along with a number of quality-of-life improvements.

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Nightdive is working with Lucasfilm Games on the remaster of the 1995 FPS, which takes place before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope (or just Star Wars, if you prefer) and follows Rebel merc Kyle Katarn - and recurring Star Wars video game hero - as he uncovers the creation of the Empire’s dangerous new Dark Troopers. (While Dark Forces’ place in the Star Wars Expanded Universe is now considered non-canonical in modern Star Wars lore, the Dark Troopers showed up in Disney+ series The Mandalorian.)

While on its face Dark Forces looks much like a Doom hack with Stormtroopers in place of Cacodemons, the game attempted to be more of an adventure-driven experience than a straight shooter, with a focus on plot and puzzles melded into laser-blasting action levels and punishing stealth missions. Said levels could also play out across multiple connected floors, a novel first for the genre. It also let you look up and down on the Y axis, jump and swim, which was pretty wild at the time.

The player shoots a blaster at Stormtroopers below in gameplay from Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster
Image credit: Nightdive Studios/Lucasfilm Games

Nightdive said it would be rebuilding Dark Forces in its own KEX Engine, which was previously used in the studio’s re-release of Doom 64 and Quake II, as well as the Enhanced Edition of System Shock. The engine will replace the original game’s suitably-titled Jedi engine, which was only ever used in Dark Forces and Lucasfilm’s 1997 Wild West FPS Outlaws, and will allow for improved 3D rendering of levels including the likes of the planet Coruscant, a Star Destroyer and Jabba the Hutt's yacht.

The new Dark Forces will feature “remastered cutscenes and content”, according to Nightdive, as well as introducing support for modern gamepads and achievements alongside the improved graphics and performance. The game was recently given an unofficial glow-up by modders.

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster is due to hit PC via Steam later this year, accompanying a release on PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

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