Star Wars: Dark Forces was the first big film tie-in first-person shooter, and it was hugely impressive upon release in 1995. It wasn’t as fast and bloody as Doom but it was definitely Star Wars, and that’s what mattered most. It captured the spirit of the films really well, and with some fascinating tech trimmings to boot: the Jedi Engine allowed for some ambitious level design.
So it was probably only a matter of time before Nightdive Studios took its remaster magic to it. Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster will release in “Q4 2023” with the usual spit and polish improvements, in this case:
- Up to 120fps
- Advanced 3D rendering (basically: better lighting and effects)
- Gamepad support (there’s a weapon wheel, for example)
- Steam achievements
- Remastered cutscenes and “content”
Dark Forces and its sequel were precursors to the Jedi Knight series and are among the best Star Wars games going. Like Rise of the Triad, it released at a weird time for FPS games, when Doom overshadowed everything and Quake’s jump to full 3D had yet to throw a spanner in the (clone) works. Sure, the Star Wars license helped, but Dark Forces is notable (among other reasons) for its cinematic presentation, which was kind of a no-no back in 1995 FPS land. It also featured some real 3D models, and the engine supported double-storey maps. Andy Kelly published a fascinating Dark Forces retrospective a few years ago.
It’s probably bittersweet news for the creators of this Dark Forces source port, which released late last year. If you’re keen to try the original, playable thanks to the enduring magic of DOXBox, it’s on Steam for cheap.
Nightdive Studios also announced a remaster of Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion today, making this a very good week for fans of authentic (read: actually old) boomer shooters.
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