Star wars: the force unleashed is a violent, hate-filled video game published by Lucas Arts in 2008. The game is centered around a young sith apprentice known as “Starkiller” under the command of “Darth Vader” an evil, Nazi-esque dictator in charge of the Empire. The empire itself is an oppressive regime with fascist connotations who use storm troopers (based on an elite Nazi troop division from WW2) to oppress the in game universe the player explores. With such a dark setting, its hard to imagine how LucasArts could turn these ideas into a compelling game.
At the start of the game, you play as the master “Darth Vader”. Darth Vader has always had racist controversy surrounding his character as his association with black imagery (such as his famous suit) and evil actions continue to reinforce negative stereotypes. These issues have not been addressed as Vader reprises his role as commander and master. Such obvious connotations behind establishing one of the only “black” characters as a figure of ultimate evil is an insult to the players intelligence. But if these were the only issues this game had I would not have been so disappointed.
After this initial sequence, you play as “Starkiller” an evil White Male who goes on an imperialist quest, killing millions and committing genocide all for his “master”. This opening mission involves brutally killing Stormtroopers and Rebels under the command of a Jedi, The goal is to assassinate this jedi during an attack on an Imperial Shipyard. Story-wise, the writers try to justify this senseless violence is to remove evidence of your involvement in the mission – frankly, this is a poor excuse. Worse, however, is that the mission objectives aren’t even consistent as you don’t fail the mission, even if you avoid killing anyone besides the Jedi commander.
The entire game continues this trend, revolving around senselessly attacking and murdering people, regardless of their affiliation. Despite represented as classical freedom fighters rising up against oppressive imperials, the game tries and fails to immerse the player into the story making it difficult for to put yourself into Starkillers shoes. Rebels are friendly to aliens in spite of the Empires intolerance – hence Starkiller goes on a xenophobic rampage across the star system. Its this kind of weak writing that prevented this game from having any kind of compelling reason to push you into the next mission.
Thankfully, this game is now considered “Star wars legends” (aka an expanded universe) rather than Disney Canon. This is a positive for the star wars franchise, as this means that Disney no longer has to dance around the fact they endorsed playing an evil fascist known as “Starkiller”.
Compared to more traditional Disney Canon which focus more on including Women and Minorities, there is little wonder Disney could so easily abandon this franchise – The whitewashing alone completely ruined the immersion any normal star wars fan could have. From what we know of the Star Wars universe, the percentage of POC across the universe is roughly the same as what we have in-real life. Which means there is an astonishing lack of minority representation, with virtually none being seen throughout the entire game.
As a long time star wars fan I went into this game hoping for an extra taste (even if it wasn’t officially endorsed ) of the star wars universe that I had come to love. Instead I was presented with a painful reminder of what was considered acceptable in a bygone era. Like how the force unleashed’s time has passed, I too recommend the readers to stay away. I sincerely regret spending the time looking back into Star war’s dark past.