In the last handful of years, Respawn Entertainment has proven time and time again that it is a studio that can really deliver a fantastic first-person shooter; from it’s work with wall-running in Titanfall and Titanfall 2, to it’s more-recent battle royale release Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment’s FPS games are always excellent – particularly when it comes to the game’s mechanics. More recently, however, it has also proven itself to be more than capable at delivering a top tier Star Wars game – with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order an exceptional action-adventure game and Star Wars Jedi Survivor already being a force to be reckoned with.
Keeping that in mind, though, the recent rumours that the upcoming Star Wars FPS could see the Apex Legends developers revive an iconic Jedi Knight in Kyle Katarn have ultimately left me disheartened. If you’re wondering why, it’s because this FPS game presents Respawn Entertainment with a chance to shine a light on one of the Star Wars universe’s hidden gems – a character that’s making waves in written media and comic books, and is far more deserving of the spotlight: the indomitable Doctor Aphra.
If you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering who Doctor Aphra is, as much as it pains me to say it as a fan of hers, you’re not alone. Created by the creative team behind Marvel Comics’ 2015 Darth Vader series (Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca, Jordan D. White, Heather Antos), Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra is a wise-cracking criminal archaeologist with a keen interest in ancient weaponry, Jedi artefacts, and staying alive in situations when she most-certainly shouldn’t be.
As something of an anti-hero with a rather flexible moral compass, Aphra is unpredictable at the best of times. Throughout Marvel Comics’ 2015 Darth Vader series, and her own spin-off series, Aphra has worked with Darth Vader, worked against Darth Vader, fought alongside Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion, fought against Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion, and worked for herself. She’s often expressed that she’s pro-Empire, but rarely follows the rules it has set. Aphra is someone who makes really bad life decisions quite a lot of the time, but she’s smart enough and scrappy enough to make her way out of them.
In this fictional universe, where characters are so often easily identified as either good or bad, Aphra dances the line between the two with abandon and presents Star Wars fans with a complex character that’s likeable, unpredictable, and ultimately thought-provoking.
Now, I don’t know about you, but isn’t that someone you’d want to see get their own video game?
An Aphra-led FPS game would allow Respawn Entertainment to explore both sides of the conflict between the Empire and the Rebellion, to their full extent, simultaneously – something you don’t see done often. A story’s protagonist is often working for one side or the other, not both at the same time. Of course, Aphra knows better than to get her wires crossed, but she would facilitate a narrative where players could weave between the Imperial construct and those fighting against it effortlessly.
This logic can also be applied to cameos, if you’re wondering how this Star Wars FPS could tie into the wider universe. Aphra might be a character largely relegated to comic books at the moment, but she’s brushed shoulders with almost every prominent character in the Star Wars universe – at least those around in the Age of Rebellion. We know it’s wishful thinking to theorise that this Star Wars FPS could tie into Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi series, but Aphra would have been around five when Order 66 was executed. So, she’d be a teenager when the events of the upcoming action-adventure game Jedi Survivor take place – just as a frame of reference.
Of course, though, I think the world deserves an Aphra-led Star Wars FPS game where she’s in her prime – following her studies at the University of Bar’leth.
The charisma and charm oozing from her character is comparable to Nathan Drake from Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, or Kassandra and Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. She’s more than capable of leading her own narrative – as her starring role in two comic book series shows – and her story is one that deserves to be brought into the limelight by a triple-A game.
If you’re worried that Aphra isn’t going to be a capable combatant, you’ll be pleased to know that she’s capable enough with a blaster to realistically be the protagonist in an FPS game. However, she isn’t a mindless killer and preserving that could lead to some unique gameplay opportunities that would help this Star Wars game stand out from its peers. As an archaeologist, I certainly think a Doctor Aphra FPS that leans on puzzle-solving and dungeoneering could be quite exciting. It’s not something you see all-too-often outside open world RPGs, but something I can certainly see Respawn Entertainment leaning into.
When you think about the semi-open world approach the developer has taken with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, presenting the players with a similar level of scope in this FPS game seems like a reasonable thing to want.
I know rumours suggest galactic multiplayer is coming to this Star Wars FPS, but there’s nothing to say that this couldn’t be something separate from the main story. Just think about Star Wars Battlefront 2, as an example. This had a campaign focusing on Iden Versio and Inferno Squad, while also offering a comprehensive multiplayer experience featuring content from The Clone Wars era, the Age of Rebellion, and the New Republic. So, I am sure Respawn Entertainment can figure something out.
An Aphra-focused FPS presents Respawn Entertainment with a chance to do something a little different. When you think about how celebrated Titanfall and Titanfall 2 are (even to this day) and how unique Apex Legends is in the battle royale sphere, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to hope that this upcoming Star Wars FPS delivers something unexpected, whatever or whoever the focus may turn out to be. Who knows, we could see something based on someone from the live-action univese? The Andor Season 2 release date is coming up, and we certainly think a game focusing on him has some merit, too.