interview by Roger Kemp had the chance to ask Kenn Hoekstra of RavenSoftware some questions about the new Jedi Knight Chapter, Jedi Academy, they are currently developing for LucasArts.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your position on the team.

My name is Kenn Hoekstra and I am the Project Administrator for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

How long has Jedi Academy been in development and when do you expect to finish?

Jedi Academy has been in development since shortly after we finished Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. It will be available this Fall (2003).

Can you tell us a little bit about the story line?

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy has the player assume the role of a Jedi apprentice of his or her own creation. The apprentice joins the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 after the events of A New Hope in order to learn the ways of the Force. Since Luke Skywalker believes in training by doing, he sends the young apprentice on missions to hone his or her skills. During this time, a mysterious group emerges to threaten the galaxy and the Academy is tasked with finding out who they are and what they are doing…

Can you explain how the selection of mission works (i.e. the non linear story setup)?

Luke and Kyle will send the player on missions or exercises that will further his or her Jedi training. The player will be presented with a series of missions to choose from, and can complete them in any order they wish. The player will chose the mission they want to undertake, the force power they want to train in, and the weapons they want to bring with them. They can complete all of the missions available to them, or skip some (but at the cost of the ability to train in more force powers). Some of the missions involve the overall story that flows through the game, and some of them are more episodic adventures. At certain points the player will advance in the Jedi Academy hierarchy, and new missions will become available too them.

What kind of new weapons can we expect to see?

The most notable additions are the double bladed lightsaber (ala Darth Maul), and dual lightsabers. Since the focus of Jedi Academy is more about lightsaber combat and Force powers, there are also new and/or improved Light, Dark and Neutral Force Powers like sense, rage, protection and absorption as well as new kicks, acrobatics, wall jumps, etc. There will also be a plethora of in-view weapons to choose from, as was the case in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

Can you talk about the new saber/character moves?

The saber combat model has been vastly expanded both at an aesthetic level and at the combat level. From an aesthetics standpoint, the player will be able to choose from different saber handles and blade colors. From a combat standpoint, we’ve pretty well doubled the number of moves (attacks/defenses/jumps/acrobatics) that were available in Jedi Outcast. The saber combat has been greatly enhanced to make it the true focal point of Jedi Academy.

GalacticHunter would like to thank Kenn Hoekstra from RavenSoftware and Ronda Scott from LucasArts for taking the time to answer our questions.

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