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‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ has let me live out the Cantina scene

By May 4, 2023No Comments4 min read
Cal Kestis in Pyloon’s Saloon, the Cantina analogue in ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.’

The first thing that becomes incredibly clear when playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is that the scale has exploded compared to the first game. In fact,the game might be too big for its own good. Pyloon’s Saloon, in particular, is an aspect that proves all the extensive details and scope of the game are worth the effort Respawn put in for this game. This establishment becomes a recurring location players will visit in Jedi: Survivor, and offers the chance for me to actively live through my favorite part of the Star Wars franchise – the Tatooine Cantina.

Minor Spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor below.

Pyloon’s Saloon is a location on Koboh, the first planet visited by protagonist Cal Kestis after the game’s tutorial detour on Coruscant. The saloon is run by ally Greez Dritus in his retirement – something Cal quickly gets the fatherly Greez to renege on. Even so, because Koboh becomes a hub world for Survivor, Pyloon’s becomes a common pass-through for players. Respawn wisely understood that such a place should not bone players. Their solutions to make Pyloon’s interesting comes from the root of Star Wars’s charm, the “Cantina.”

The power of the “Cantina”

A Star Wars “Cantina” scene is best understood by looking at the original example: the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope. While the setup of the scene is Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi Looking for a pilot, until they connect with Chewbacca everything in the cantina serves the purpose of saturating the setting with character and a sense that other people live in this galaxy. Over the course of the Star Wars films, the cantina scenes have given the universe a much more rich atmosphere: from droids not being allowed in Mos Eisley, to Elan Sleazebaggano trying to sell Kenobi drugs in a Coruscant night club during Attack of the Clones, to the depiction of reckless excess in Canto Bight in The Last Jedi.

Jedi: Survivor adds to this richness by making it possible to interact directly with this part of Star Wars. As Cal continues on his mission both on Koboh and beyond, the game notifies the player that new patrons and conversations are available at Pyloon’s. Following up on these head to hearing rumors that can point cal to new areas but also sometimes you’ll get conversations about the lives and experiences of those passing through. While not every one of these conversations give the player an objective marker or option for rewards, what they do accomplish is making the Saloon – and by extension Koboh – feel more dynamic.

Jedi: Survivor encourages community building

What’s more, Jedi: Survivor also gives Cal the ability to invite people he encounters to put down roots at Pyloon’s. This is reminiscent of the Homestead feature of Assassin’s Creed III, where players could encounter normal folks out on the American frontier and give them land to settle down in – a feature I ate up at the time. Jedi Survivor doesn’t offer the same level of gameplay rewards compared to that game, but that actually opens up the possibilities of who can appear at the cantina at all. Characters like a Nautolan laying low from bounty hunters fits in easily in the frontier of Koboh, but Pyloon’s also attracts patrons like Skooba Stev, a diminutive fisherman who can only be described as criminally Scottish. Stev’s contribution to the game comes in his maintenance of Pyloon’s fish tank. So far in my playthrough, getting fish with Stev hasn’t rewarded me in any way beyond getting to spend more time with him and see alien fish.

Cal talks with Skooba Stev in Pyloon’s Saloon
© Disney © & ™ Lucasfilm LTD © Electronic Arts, Inc

For loot-hunting gamers or pop culture watchers that call anything that doesn’t move plot along filler, something like “just having chatter” might not come off as enticing. In fairness, Jedi: Survivor does not force these details onto players and it’s completely possible to avoid. I’d recommend engaging anyway. The act of community building that comes from Pyloon’s goes hand in hand with Cal’s natural ability to read the memories of others left behind in the Force, to say nothing of Jedi: Survivor‘s theme of searching for a place to call home. I don’t yet know how that journey is going to end but for now, Pyloon’s is setting a template for carving a place out for to at least rest at while on their own adventures.

A cantina scene is still the best kind of world building Star Wars can do, and Jedi Survivor allows me to own a piece of that. Sure, archeologist Toa or beat master DD- EC won’t be getting Disney+ spinoffs, hopefully. If they and others weren’t at Pyloon’s though, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor‘s large spaces would be significantly emptier.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is available now on PS5, Xbox, and PC via Steam or Epic Games.

Featured image © Disney © & ™ Lucasfilm LTD © Electronic Arts, Inc

Travis Hymas

Travis Hymas is a freelance writer and self appointed Pokémon historian out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Known to be regularly obessive over pop culture topics and gaming discourse, he is a published Rotten Tomatoes critic and has been featured on sites such as Uppercut and The Young Folks

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