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Why Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Deserves A Remake

When Factor 5 released Star Wars: Rogue Squadron in 1998, few predicted it would become the iconic arcade flight sim that fans remember today. Leading up to its release, most saw it as little more than an expansion of the middling Shadows of the Empire's best level, the Hoth run.


However, Factor 5 not only borrowed Shadows of the Empire's best level but improved upon it in nearly every aspect. Critics praised the graphics as some of the best seen so far on the Nintendo 64. High-quality voice work gave the game a "movie-like quality to it," while improved controls made it a blast to play. A well-paced campaign and an unobtrusive bonus system gave Rogue Squadron substantial replay value. It even received a nomination for Game of the Year at the 1999 AIAS Awards, and its GameCube sequels also delivered strong results.

Some fans were so passionate about Rogue Squadron that they took it upon themselves to build a complete remake using the Unreal engine, although this was shut down by Lucasfilm. Here is why Star Wars: Rogue Squadron deserves an official remake for fans new and old to enjoy.


The core gameplay of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron still holds up

The balancing act that developers have to pull off when remaking a classic game is deciding which elements should be preserved and which need to be updated. When done correctly, remakes can satisfy the original audience while becoming Game of the Year contenders. However, when done poorly, they look like shallow cash grabs.


Deciding what to keep and what to drop is easy if the core components of what made the game enjoyable still deliver. In the case of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, this seems to be the case. A 2015 GamesRadar retrospective names Rogue Squadron "one of the most gratifying Star Wars games your outlandish space dollars could buy." 

A 2017 playthrough by N64Today notes that the game is still easy to play "as a result of its arcade-style gameplay and simplified controls." Those controls have held up so well that Gamespot editors streamed sessions for all three Rogue Squadron titles in honor of May 4 in 2018. The fact that the essential mechanics that made Rogue Squadron enjoyable in 1998 still function today is an excellent indication that it's well-deserving of the full remake treatment.


Gamers today struggle to find a way to play Rogue Squadron

As the Nintendo 64 becomes an antique piece of console history, chasing down a functional copy of Rogue Squadron and a working N64 gets more complicated, putting the game out of reach for most.

Of course, Factor 5 also released the original Rogue Squadron on PC. The game is available through Steam and GOG, making finding a trustworthy copy straightforward. Unfortunately, you don't have to look much farther than the most recent reviews on either service to see that users' struggles don't end there.


On both platforms, gamers report extensive difficulties even getting Rogue Squadron to run, while others encountered control and display problems. GOG even includes a disclaimer about the possibility of the game not functioning on Windows 10. While plenty of fans have shared helpful tips for special installations or custom settings that make the game playable, not everyone has the time, expertise, or patience to deploy hotfixes just to get the game to boot up.

A Rogue Squadron remake would be an excellent counterpart to Squadrons

During the 2010s, the Star Wars license was exclusively available to EA. While EA deployed that license conservatively, releasing only a handful of major games between 2013 and 2021, most of them were well-received. The last of those, Star Wars: Squadrons, gives an excellent indication of why the time is right for a Rogue Squadron remake.


In general, critics found a lot to like in Star Wars: Squadrons, and the game sold well. Squadrons committed to a first-person, simulator-style experience that resonated with its intended audience, although the short story and limited settings were seen as weak points.

While Star Wars purists were satisfied with Squadrons' old-school perspective, a vocal group of fans missed the third-person view. A Rogue Squadron remake could revive the exterior arcade approach while giving fans a tighter story that trades the cold expanse of space for a tour of Star Wars' many memorable planets.

With Lucasfilm's surprise reemergence at the beginning of 2021, the future of Star Wars video games is wide open. Hopefully, that future will include a revival of the beloved Rogue Squadron series — maybe to accompany the planned 2023 film.