“It almost looked like a Pixar lamp.”
Shishido describes working with Doug Chiang, Lucas Films’ resident mechanical design guru, to create BD-1, combining inspiration from past characters with modern everyday objects to develop something “visually brand-new,” gameplay effective, and with maximum “Awww!” factor.
Of course, BD-1 wasn’t an overnight success. Shishido recounts numerous iterations that didn’t feel right for the game — including a single-eyed droid that almost made the cut, but fit one of Disney’s other properties better than the Star Warsuniverse.
“It almost looked like a Pixar lamp,” says Shishido, laughing as she recalls the BD-wannabe. “We had that in-game for a little while, but we ended up with BD-1’s [current] design.”
Ultimately, the two-eyed wonder was the result of a pair of binoculars, and practicality.
“We looked at a pair of binoculars, and that’s where the inspiration came from for the head design,” explains Shishido.
From his red-haired perch, BD-1 grows with Cal, gaining skills and upgrades as players tour new areas. Fallen Order, told in a somewhat non-linear, multi-world structure, encourages exploration — and with work benches aplenty, that means ample opportunity to keep improving on your darling sidekick.
“BD-1 will always be with you.”
“As the player progresses through the game, there are a lot of things that you can unlock with BD-1,” says Shishido. “You get to upgrade him, and help BD-1 do some things he can’t do by himself. [Cal] is very crafty in that way.”
While Shishido wouldn’t reveal much more about BD-1’s various abilities, game director Stig Asmussen has revealed that BD-1 will also be able to replenish Cal’s health, up to a point.
Per an interview with GamesRadar, Asmussen says that BD-1 will be able to carry stimpacks for his Jedi friend. However, players will have to hunt them down in-game regularly, as BD-1 can only carry so many. (I mean, look at him! He’s so little!)
Whatever his final abilities, BD-1 couldn’t arrive at a better point in the Star Wars timeline. The events of Fallen Order begin shortly after the institution of Order 66, an ominous decree that led to the near-annihilation of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith.
With Cal running for his life and the fate of the galaxy on the line, players will need all the help they can get. Luckily, Shishido promises: “BD-1 will always be with you.”
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be available on PS4, Xbox, and PC Nov. 15.