The Mandalorian is a brilliant take on a Star Wars TV Series. Its great characters, fun action, and well executed emotional beats have made it one of last year’s pop culture sensations. The worldwide love for Baby Yoda (or ‘Grogu’) also certainly helped boost its popularity. You might be thinking why you’re reading about a TV show on KeenGamer.com. Well, that’s because this particular show would make for an absolutely incredible video game.
Here, I’m going to outline just exactly how a Mandalorian game should play. I’d wager that at some point it will be made, and when it does, the developers should use this article as a blueprint for success. Take notes, Disney.
What Kind of Game Would It Be?
While a linear, Uncharted-esque romp would suit the series well, I think the most obvious answer is the correct one here.
The Mandalorian game should be a third-person, inter-planetary open world action game. Think of a mix between the Outer Wild’s planet exploration and the ultra detailed landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2. The structure of the show lends itself well to the missions in a Mandalorian adaptation: weird creatures and people from all over the galaxy giving you quests, which require you to travel to different planets and track down bounties.
A Mandalorian game would truly justify its open world, and allow the developers to create their own planets just for the game itself, as well as adapt popular Star Wars mainstays like Tatooine. While multiple detailed, populated and treacherous planets sounds too big in scope even for a AAA game, some large canyon and grassland areas can help fill out these worlds. Mando’s jetpack and ship will also be fast and effective way to traverse the unique terrain.
Oh, and there’s no forced multiplayer element. The Mandalorian game should strictly be a single-player experience. While Din has plenty of companions throughout the show, co-op ‘raids’ would just bog down the game.
Combat and Gameplay Loop
The Mandalorian’s skillset in the TV show would just be unbelievably fun in a video game. His homing missiles on his arm, pistol, flamethrower, and beskar spear would all create a fluid and complex combat system.
Here, I think taking cues from the Batman Arkham franchise and Ghost of Tsushima is the best way to go. Din should be able to glide across the screen effortlessly, and fluidly work across the battlefield without breaking a sweat. I also love how these games approach upgrades. Both games start off with a limited move and weapon set, but gradually build up your arsenal. Rather than the enemies artificially growing in health and power, they gain more moves and weapon types just as the player does. This means that, as your own skills improve, Mando gains new abilities which aren’t just arbitrary ‘+ 2% health.’ They actually fundamentally change how you fight, just like Ghost of Tsushima’s stances and Batman Arkham’s gadgets.
The aforementioned bounties would obviously lie at the core of the game just as they do in the show. While the main storyline keeps the game flowing, these side-stories and bounties would also feel important. Of course, any AAA open world game would also need its filler ‘go here and kill x amount of enemies’ mission types. But a Mandalorian game has endless potential for Star Wars character cameos and engaging side-stories. For example, the frog-lady episode of the TV show is the kind of scope that would work excellently.
Baby Yoda: Atreus 2.0
The protagonist bringing along a companion has become a staple of AAA design: The Last of Us. God of War. Death Stranding. Jedi Fallen Order. All of these games use their companions as a means for gameplay and story progression.
This is where Baby Yoda (or, as we know now, ‘Grogu’) comes in. Grogu would be an essential aspect of any Mandalorian game adaptation, and his abilities would make for fascinating gameplay implications.
Obviously, his force powers would make combat a treat. With the tap of a button (similar to how Atreus works in God of War), Grogu will be able to force push, pull and stun enemies. Just like in the show, spending more time with Grogu throughout the game will increase his powers, and his willingness to save you in dire situations.
He will also be able to aid in exploration. As Grogu gains more skills, more sections of the planets will open up. For example, an ability to lift heavy rocks or grab out of reach collectibles will help the player gain an appreciation for him. As in the TV show, Grogu’s ability to understand Jedi text would also allow him to translate Jedi tablets, which provide the player with extra lore if they want to learn more about the world.
Who Should Make It?
It’d be easy for me to just choose Rockstar or Insomniac and call it a day. But instead, I’m going to choose the developer who has already proven they know how to make a truly great Star Wars title.
Respawn Entertainment did an excellent job with Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, and it is my choice for the Mandalorian Game.
A Mandalorian adaptation is the logical next step from their previous title. Jedi Fallen Order was more of a metroidvania than a traditional open world, but it proved that the studio was already tinkering with having multiple planets. The Mandalorian’s planets would be far larger in scope than Fallen Order, and therefore allow Respawn to flex their excellent design chops.
And I’d be remiss not to bring up Titanfall. While under appreciated by the masses in terms of sales, both entries (and Apex Legends) displayed Respawn’s excellent shooting nouse, an element that would be essential to a Mandalorian game.
Quite frankly, if we don’t get a high budget Mandalorian game at some point, we have failed as a medium.
Now that’s a bit of hyperbole on my part, but I stand by it. The show just has so much potential for a brilliant open world game, that it’s hard to fathom that some studio out there isn’t working on one.
Whether now or in a year far, far away, let’s all hope that we get the Mandalorian game that we deserve.