Star Wars: Obi-Wan, an Action-Adventure Game for Xbox Made Over 20 Years Ago [VIDEO]

RETRO – Obi-Wan was released exclusively for the very first Xbox consoles and never released on any other platform. It was pretty much panned by critics, with the main problems being the controls and a lame story.


Star Wars: Obi-Wan was an action-adventure video game developed and published by LucasArts and released exclusively for Xbox on 19 December 2001 in North America and 29 March 2002 in Europe. Players controlled Obi-Wan Kenobi, the padawan of Qui-Gon Jinn. The game takes place 32 years before the Battle of Yavin, in the weeks leading up to and during the events of The Sinister Shadows. When it was released, it received generally mixed reviews.

A unique feature of the game was that the right-hand analogue stick controlled the lightsaber combat on the Xbox controller. Kenobi swings his lightsaber with the corresponding gestures by moving the stick with specific gestures. The character has various Force powers. One power provides a variation of bullet time, slowing down the area around the character so players can effectively attack slowed enemies or run for cover. Other powers allow him to jump higher, move objects, and disarm enemies. Kenobi could perform a 180-degree turn with the press of a button, allowing the player to spin and attack enemies behind him instantly. In addition to the lightsaber, weapons such as blasters, ion grenades and turrets could also be used against enemies. The game supported a multiplayer mode called Jedi Battle, allowing two players to fight each other as any unlocked Jedi characters. Characters could be unlocked by defeating them in the single-player Jedi Arena, which became available between missions.

The storyline of Star Wars: Obi-Wan is that Obi-Wan survives an assassination attempt on him by a criminal group called the Black Heth on Coruscant. He reports this to the Jedi Council, who informs him that the Black Heth are growing in strength and that an informant planted by the City Watch has been discovered and taken to the gang’s hideout. Mace Windu tasked Obi-Wan with rescuing him; the informant reveals that arms dealers are selling large quantities of weapons to the Black Heth to destabilize Coruscant.

Obi-Wan tries unsuccessfully to capture the traders as they evacuate the planet; the Council determines that it is a tribal race called the Jin’ha. Since the Jin’ha are too primitive a race to manufacture such deadly weapons, Plo Koon and Eeth Koth send Jedi masters to their home planet, Obredaan, to investigate. The ship carrying them disappears, and Obi-Wan, accompanied by Qui-Gon, is ordered to complete the mission in his place. While Qui-Gon searches for the two captured Jedi, Obi-Wan discovers a vast mining and refining complex beneath Obredaan, built to process cortosis, a lightsaber-resistant mineral that can be used to make weapons ideal for fighting the Jedi. As the group sets out, they notice a Trade Federation ship leaving Obredaan.

The remainder of the game largely follows the Sinister Shadows, of course from the perspective of Obi-Wan and the Jedi, including the tragic ending for Qui-Gon.

The game was initially announced as “Episode I: Obi-Wan” on 13 May 1999, and was initially intended for PC release. It was rumored by PC Gamer as a “sequel” to Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, which focuses on controlling the Jedi lightsaber with a mouse. However, in November 2000, George Lucas himself moved the game to Xbox exclusive development, due to inadequate performance on the PC platform. In May 2001, the game resurfaced exclusively on Xbox, just before this year’s E3. GameCube and Game Boy Advance versions were planned after the 19 December 2001 release, but were cancelled due to other LucasArts projects. The developers spoke to key characters involved in making Sinister Shadows and designed the levels and story threads to fit within the universe.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan received a mixed reception upon its release, with GameRankings giving it a 59.78% score and Metacritic giving it a 58 out of 100. Unfortunately, nowadays, it’s the first Xbox and you can’t even run it anywhere without the game’s disc, because it – unlike many other Xbox titles – hasn’t been made retro-compatible.

The videos below show an early beta, the trailer, and the actual gameplay through demonstrations.

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