One of the seemingly most basic, recurring effects in the Star Wars franchise is the visual wipe, transitioning between different scenes with one scene "wiping" over the other. However, for Respawn, the development team of Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order, recreating the signature transition was one of the biggest technical challenges they faced.
While the films and television simply wipe across images, active imagery for a video game required the developers to render two different environments simultaneously to provide a seamless transition. The team had considered transitioning across still images but felt the pause during the wipe was too noticeable.
"The wipe in film is so easy, well, I don't know if it's easy, but in film you just take two different pictures and you have them both and you just wipe them across, but in games, you have to render both of those things at the same time," explained lead technical designer Brandon Kelch in an interview with PC Gamer. "You have two different cameras running with the game running in two different environments to be able to wipe that across. So that was a really kind of an interesting technical challenge."
Fallen Order programmer and technical director Jiesang Song had expressed concerns on how difficult it would be to recreate the transition but, with the effect present since the original 1977 film, the team felt it was needed to be included in the upcoming game though the process took months to perfect.
"I'm pretty sure when I told [Jiesang] that we were going to do this he was just like, 'that's a terrible idea,'" admitted Kelch. "And it was like, well, we got to have the Star Wars wipe, like, you gotta have it."
Developed by Respawn and published by Electronic Arts, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC Nov. 15. Gotham star Cameron Monaghan provides the voice of Cal.