Hi, EU fans, far and wide! I’m Andrew Lupi, founder of this little oasis among the web and your new writer for the EU Action/Reaction Column. As Chris before me, I will be taking a look at specific actions within or without our precious EU and then discussing the reaction to them. Now, Star Wars, since its inception, has always been team effort; two sides to create a whole amazing experience that would entrance people from a young age to they were old enough to help share the tale with even their grandkids. This dichotomy between Lucasfilm creating the media and the fans enjoying it can be perfectly personified in video games. Specially, it can be witnessed within the role-playing game genre.
Personal Choices, Actions, and Their Reactions.
As the name implies, role playing games, (or even games with simple role-playing elements) allow the player to truly take on the role of the character in a deeper dimension. This game style has been tried multiple times in the Star Wars universe, with Knights of the Old Republic being the best example. The player is given the options to name their character, customize their gender and features, and even pick the class or profession of that character. Later in the game you are trained in the ways of the Jedi, opening not only different styles of Jedi mannerisms, but gameplay and game accessories, such as the famed lightsaber. The player eventually learns that they are Darth Revan, a character now highly referenced and used within the Expanded Universe. So referenced, in fact, it became canon that Revan is a male human sporting long brown hair and a blue lightsaber during his time in the Jedi Order. So, then, the most “correct” way of playing Knights of the Old Republic is to at least play a male with brown hair, right?
Not exactly, as the canon part is only for other authors to use so Revan can be given even deeper origins, other stories not seen in Kotor itself. It is hoped, then, that playing Kotor will be that much more rewarding to those players in the know about Revan as a character in the Star Wars universe as whole. However, one should not feel that there is a “perfect” was to play as Revan; even Drew Karpyshyn, writer of Kotor itself and eventually the novel Revan, once remarked that he did not have a class or style for Revan—he is what the player chooses him to be and has the most fun playing as. Revan, his adventures, and his companions are also part of the lore and obviously their are parts that must match up to create a basic narrative. But how you dress your Carth or choose to equip Bastila is up to you; simply be aware that they have a role to fulfill within the confines of the Star Wars canon.
Putting Your Stamp on the Saga.
But that does not mean they are not “your” character(s); on the contrary, the little details you give to establish characters make them even more so unique. Authors may set lightsaber color, or fighting style preference, but your experience with that character is yours alone.
Other examples of this kind of character to canon “phenomena” exist in the Star Wars universe as well; the characters of the Jedi Exile and Jaden Korr are two more cases. Like Revan before them, Jaden and the Exile were first seen as protagonist in video games and then further expanded upon in novels of their own as well getting their journeys documented in source books like Essential Atlas and Guide to Warfare. So while Jaden became a human male and the Exile was finally given her real name, this only serves to give readers a better picture of a character for the larger narrative in the galaxy far, far away– not your own special character .
All of these examples show how a character may be made officially to have a specific gender, a real name, and a preferred lightsaber color and fighting style, but within Star Wars there are always two; the creator and the creation. This is true for Revan, the Jedi Exile, and Jaden Korr. All these characters may have set goals and narrative lines, but how they got there, for the most part, is entirely up to you. The fun is in the journey, even if you know your intended destination.