Before Dave Filoni’s Clone Wars cartoon unknowingly kicked off a huge part of the new Star Wars prequel-era canon, our best look at the lives of the clone army came from 2005’s Republic Commando, a semi-tactical first-person shooter now hailed as one of the best Star Wars video games ever made. Happily, the game is finally returning to consoles this April.
Republic Commando put you in the helmet of RC-1338, a.k.a. Boss, who led a small but elite squad of commandoes against the Separatist army. While blasting droids and Geonosians, you could command your squad to assist you with sniper fire, demolitions, and various tech work (which would likely fall under the category of “slicing” nowadays). But what Republic Commando is probably best-known and best-loved for is spinning off into Karen Traviss’ line of novels.
Beginning with Star Wars: Republic Commando: Hard Contact (which actually pre-dated the game’s release by a few months), Traviss’ books explored the clones in a way the franchise had almost entirely ignored. They fought in the war, of course, but it also followed them in their civilian lives. More importantly, Traviss gave Star Wars fans their first real look at Mandalorian culture as the clones embraced their heritage of their clone daddy Jango Fett.
Filoni’s Clone Wars series—which, as a Star Wars product with the direct involvement of Lucas, overrode the Expanded Universe’s novels in the old tiered system of Star Wars canon—eventually rewrote all of that. It introduced the peaceful New Mandalorian faction, lead by Duchess Satine Kryze, and was a radical overhaul of the warrior culture depicted in Traviss’ Republic Commando novels to a level that Traviss formally cut ties with Lucasfilm in the wake of it. But given that Mandalore and its history of warrior peoples are having a real renaissance thanks to The Mandalorian TV series and Clone Wars’ recently concluded final season, it’s nice to get this look back at how it all started.
Republic Commando will come to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on April 6, which is interesting as it originally only came to PC and Microsoft’s Xbox back in 2005. The game says it will have “modernized controls,” but says nothing about being graphically remastered beyond increased resolutions—still, for a 16-year-old game, it looks pretty damn nice.
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