• Shannon Moran

NetherRealm Studios could deliver Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi remake we never knew we wanted

Growing up I was a military kid, and of my favourite things to do was go into the PX (Post Exchange) and head straight to the Powerzone part (electronic store) and try out all the Playstation Games. One of them was the infamous Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi game.

Now for me I love fighting games and I love Star Wars, and I really enjoyed trying it out, but for what ever reason I never got it - I think at the time I was to busy saving my allowance for CDs as music was more my thing. But also during this time I loved the Mortal Kombat franchise. Although I was not allowed to play before I was a teenager I would sneak a quarter or two in the arcade at the local CiCi's Pizza and try Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate. I loved all the characters and things - the gore never appealed to me, but I knew it was there. Being a kid of the 90s I remember the controversy well! but what is this game I speak about? what is Star Wars: Masters of Tera Kasi?

Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi is a fighting game developed and published by LucasArts, which was released for the PlayStation in 1997. In the game's story, which is set in the Star Wars universe, the Emperor seeks retaliation for the destruction of the Death Starand recruits the mysterious Arden Lyn to battle in the art of Teräs Käsi, an unarmed combat discipline, against leaders of the Rebel Alliance. The game features Star Wars Legends characters, including the Emperor's Hand-turned Jedi Mara Jade. [1]

At the time this game was received so-so reviews, it pretty much used the 3D space aspect of fighting games like Tekken at the time revolutionised the way fighting games were played by adding the option to side step hence moving the characters in a "3D space" so of course Teräs Käsi used that, but other than that, it was pretty much a Tekken rip off.

Where is Teräs Käsi in the Star Wars lore? Teräs Käsi was a form of hand-to-hand combat that was created to fight Jedi. Its practitioners were ranked into novices, adepts, or masters according to their skills level, and wore distinctive outfits.

Former Sith Lord Maul, the head of Crimson Dawn, was a practitioner of Teräs Käsi, and he taught it to Dryden Vos, who, in turn, trained his lieutenant, Qi'ra. During the raid on Kessel, Qi'ra utilized the form to take down Quay Tolsite of the Pyke Syndicate. The Elite Praetorian Guards of the First Order were also trained in Teräs Käsi, along with other martial arts. [2]

It's very interesting that Teräs Käsi is now part of the Disney Canon which will add to some of my points for how it could work for a reboot with the right elements, but who could make the remake justice and not be a laughing stock again?

Fast Forward to 2010 and a new studio NetherRealm Studios opens in Chicago, who broke down the fighting game genre, bringing it back to its roots. Using the Unreal Engine and Graphics of a 3D game, NetherRealm brought back that old school 2D fighting feel to the Mortal Kombat franchise. On top of that they also released a DC character inspired range of fighting games call Injustice: Gods Among Us - and this is where my brain kicked into over drive.

This is going to be a bit of a stretch but stay with me because I feel NetherRealm Studios could deliver the Star Wars Fighting game we never knew we needed and everything we wanted. Let's talk about some of the NetherRealm titles and how they could translate.

First lets start with Mortal Kombat 11 and Aftermath. What struck me the most about this game on top of its cross over characters of Jason, Terminator, Robocop and the ninja turtles (yes you read that right you can play as Turtles) was the customisation. In MK11 this is taken to a whole other level where you can change masks, poses, weapons and through various unlocks or purchases (more on that thought in a moment.) You can create you fighter to be the ultimate bad ass.

Now lets put a Star Wars spin on it shall we? say we have the character of Rey - in your customisation you can decide what her hair she has, what her top can be, then her lightsaber. I would chose the hair from TFA, the dark outfit of TLJ and the yellow lightsaber of TROS, so you aren't tied to one skin for all aspects like in the Battlefront 2 games. and you can even unlock additional things in either achievements or through cosmetics for real world money. Put your tomatoes away, because games like Fortnite have shown people will pay to customise their characters. As long as it doesn't give anyone a tactical advantage I would consider buying them, heck I have in other games. So I am not saying a loot box scheme in the sense that we remember in EA games, but if I can get excessive Ben Solo Skin, I'd do it in a heart beat. Before you go "but Shannon there is no need for that violence in a Star Wars game" thats where the second game from NetherRealm comes in.

Injustice and Injustice 2 is a DC Universe Fighting game, that moves and fights like the Mortal Kombat franchise but doesn't have the blood and gore. Also I personally feel if there is an audience for a DC fighting game, surely there are enough people for a Star Wars one? but More on that in a second. The characters and settings have some deep cuts into the lore or the DCU - So whats stopping that from Star Wars. Think about the characters we could have. Teräs Käsi came out before the prequels hit cinemas. We have 9 saga films worth of characters and customisations, worlds and levels. Fighting on Mustafar! yes please. But on top of that we have animated series where fan favourite Ahsoka Tano and Bo Katan can appear, and of course they will have variations of costumes that can be used. It doesn't stop there, Mandalorian? various attacks can be Din Djarin's whistling birds or Cara Dune's large Gatling gun attack. There can also be complex animations like the mortal Kombat games have shown, so I'm looking at you Darth Maul with Spider Legs. of course it would be great to get as many of the original voices to do them, I mean Alumni Mark Hamill is voices in the already mentioned games. What about exclusive characters? Oh I've got you covered, why not unlock Revan and Bastila, lets throw in Galen Marek (aka Starkiller from The Force Unleashed games) and Dash Rendar from Shadows of the Empire.

In conclusion I feel that if in the right hands Teräs Käsi can be great and the idea isn't a ridiculous one like it was back in 1997 - fighting comic book heroes and cross overs with multiple pop culture icons is now widely accepted in the gaming universe, if not celebrated. With a vast choice of worlds, costumes, and weapons - there can be a massive level of customisation but the blood of gore won't be missed. The more I write the article the more I want it, and thats a hill I will gladly die on. On a slight side note all Warner Bros. Interactive titles are on sale on Microsoft's online store, leading people to speculate if Xbox is announcing a buyout soon - and then there is your console exclusive?

Be sure to check out my content here on the Beyond the Blast Door Network on Wednesdays and you can also check out my Star Wars Game Streams on Twitch.

[1] Wikipedia

[2] Wookieepedia - Star Wars Fandom