The first game takes place almost four thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, and the Old Republic online game takes place three hundred years after that. It’s cool and interesting to give the universe such a gigantic history for us to explore, and a whole new political landscape to navigate, but I’m always wondering, Why did technology stay basically the same for four thousand years?
Vibroblades are something of an ancient weapon that has widespread use in these games, and a merchant on Taris explains the new-fangled personal energy shield, but other than these small weapon-based differences, I didn’t notice any prototype technology or machine precursors throughout the games. Droids, holograms, fashion, and space travel (the Ebon Hawk looks a hell of a lot like the Millennium Falcon) presumably undergo no significant changes between the destruction of the Star Forge and the destruction of the Death Star. A consistency in the garb and weapon of choice for the Jedi makes sense, since they’re dedicated to an ancient tradition and religion, and the same might be said for the Sith leaders, but what’s the Republic’s excuse for a lack of progress?
That being said, the aforementioned political landscape is much different than we would expect.
In the prequels, the Sith are basically considered extinct, and their empire is long gone, so it’s exciting to explore a world where the Sith and their empire are alive and well. The movies also introduce us to a corruptible Republic that pretty easily falls to the new, rising Sith and becomes their empire, where rebels have to rise from the Empire’s subjects to overthrow its leader. These games, instead, show us a Republic and an Empire at odds. The focus isn’t on rebels rising up; the games focus on two governments at active, official war. (Previously three, if we consider the Mandalorians as sovereign.)
The use of the term Dark Jedi is also really notable in these games, particularly because
in the Empire of the original trilogy, it seems that the Force or followers of force-sensitive teachings aren’t taken very seriously. (An admiral mocks Darth Vader’s following of the Sith teachings, calling it a “sad devotion to that ancient religion” and Han refers to Luke’s Jedi training as “hokey religions and ancient weapons.”) The original trilogy takes us through a world where the Jedi have been massacred and the Dark Lords of the Sith were all but extinguished long-before that. But the games throw us into a world where the Jedi and the Sith are everywhere. The term also draws us even further back in time, as we learn about the first fall (original sin?) from the light side and the Jedi Order.
The universe is, politically, a whole different ball game, as one might expect for the huge span of time that passes between the games and the films, but no one has improved upon the design of the protocol droid?
(On another note: the reference to the Mandalorian Wars in an episode of Star Wars Rebels is exciting, but also doesn’t make too much sense. Who remembers what happened four thousand years ago? Why does he act like the events from four thousand years ago are just common knowledge?)