Dark Forces is a classic game for a reason—not just a great licensed game that told a new, original story in a beloved franchise, but because it helped begin to revolutionize the first-person shooter genre as we know it, setting the stage for iconic luminaries in the field. And now, it’s back with a fresh coat of paint.
Announced today during Gamescom, Nightdive Studios is working on a remaster of Dark Forces, updating the 1995 shooter with updated 4K graphics and high-framerate modes. It’s not a complete overhaul, but the sprucing up of Dark Forces’ classic 2D and early 3DCG cutscenes captures a lot of the legendary ‘90s gaming aesthetic while just giving it a clean pass. Dark Forces still looks like Dark Forces and not, say, Jedi: Survivor, but that’s the point—it’s not a remake, but an invitation to go back to that moment in Star Wars and gaming history and see it as your hazy memories recalled it.
But Dark Forces matters tonally to what Star Wars is asking of itself in the here and now as it navigates its own rendition of the early days of the Rebellion, of the lines needed to be crossed by its operatives in the name of fighting against the Empire. The murky side of revolution is what drives the likes of Rebels, Rogue One, and Andor, and while Kyle himself would go down a very different, fascinating path in future Dark Forces games—eventually becoming a Master in Luke’s New Jedi Order—it’s hard not to see the influence of what was once a faux-Han Solo vibe in the world Star Wars inhabits now with protagonists like Din Djarin or the aforementioned Cassian.
Maybe Dark Forces didn’t need remastering, when its spirit is alive and well in Star Wars in spite of its non-canonical status. But it’s at least nice that it’s getting one to remind us that one of Star Wars’ most iconic video games still matters to the galaxy far, far away. The Dark Forces remaster will release on Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam, with a release date announcement coming later this year.
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