Can you have a Star Wars story that feels like Star Wars without the Force? Would a Mass Effect story still make sense if no biotics or mass effect travel occurred? Would a story set in the Bladerunner universe make sense without a Bladerunner hunting replicants? Does cyberpunk as a genre work without the juxtaposition of chrome versus street? Does a story set in Middle Earth still feel like Middle Earth without a fellowship of motley heroes daring the impossible?
These were the questions racing through my head when I was watching the new teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode 9 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adzYW5DZoWs&t=1s), and I think it can prompt an excellent discussion about the feeling of the stories we tell and about their authenticity.
I think it’s more important as designers to identify early on what the core design pillars and feelings of our games and stories will be, and to make sure that those ring true throughout the design process, than it is to work within a particular setting. Rogue One felt like Star Wars, but Solo did not (imo).
I’m actively looking forward to people disagreeing with me. Let the Debate commence!