Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – The Latest to Shine a Light on the Preservation Problem

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – The Latest to Shine a Light on the Preservation Problem

Josh Wise

If you have ventured to the shops in search of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, or stayed at home and clicked yourself a copy to be delivered, then you are in for a strange surprise. The game exists. It will arrive in a box bearing the correct name. (Fingers crossed, anyway.) But only a chunk of the adventure has been charted onto the disc. The average video game Blu-ray holds 50GB of data; the total file size for Jedi: Survivor is 155GB. This means that the act of slotting the game into your console of choice is akin to sliding a key into a lock. Once turned, the rest of the action will stream toward you through hyperspace and fuse itself onto your hard drive.

This is not a new state of affairs, of course. Games have swollen well beyond the discs that bear them before. With Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, the developer, Rockstar Games, couldn’t cram all 105GB of untamed wilderness and pain onto a single plastic roundel. (Though, it’s worth pointing out that Blu-ray discs can be layered up to four times, for a total of 128GB, so it wouldn’t have been impossible.) The midwifery involved in starting that game was extensive; data was pulled from the disc, pasted into your storage, and bulked up with freshly downloaded wadding. Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II was almost 200GB, if you include its hefty Warzone mode. Meanwhile, the loose fragments of Halo Infinite that existed on the disc were like a dormant Master Chief – they had to be roused from a cryo-slumber, encrusted with plenty of AI help, and prodded gently but firmly into action.


Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the latest case in what is certainly a growing preservation problem. In years to come, these discs could be all but worthless, fully reliant on data that wafts in aether, until a publisher decides that the wafting is no longer necessary. Like Halo Infinite, the majority of Jedi: Survivor isn’t on the disc, making the game unplayable without a lengthy download. Granted, we live in times of patchy coverage, of games that rely on day-one updates to jolt into working order; and the years when “going gold” meant that development had actually finished – when your months and years of work had been smelt and cast into a finished object – appear to be long gone. But still, games being smoothed and lacquered post-launch is one thing; games arriving in shards is something else.

Given that Jedi: Survivor doesn’t, effectively, have a physical release, perhaps publisher Electronic Arts should have simply ditched the attempt altogether, saved a Coruscant-sized mountain of plastic, and simply gone for a digital-only launch. This is the approach taken by most independent studios, who couldn’t afford a physical launch in the first place. Recently, it was taken by Tango Gameworks and Bethesda, for Hi-Fi Rush. The downside is that this is even worse for preservation, hastening our slide toward a discless future; but at least it would have saved a little more of the environment in the process. EA, I would guess, still depends on the appearance of physical games in order to sell to larger ranks of its audience.


As Nintendo fans are fully aware, once enough time goes by and profits start to pale, the companies that tend to these games, humming away in distant servers, will happily pull the plug. Hence the recent closure of those quarters of the Nintendo eShop devoted to 3DS and Wii U games. Only last month, EA announced that it was pulling Battlefield 1943, Battlefield: Bad Company, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 from digital shopfronts. Why? The reason given, on a post addressing the removal on EA’s website, stated that it was “in preparation for the retirement of the online services for these titles.” If you wish to play these games, the good news is that you can still buy them physically – a luxury that is fast being phased out. “While these titles hold a special place in our heart,” the post reads, “we’re now looking forward to creating new memories alongside you as we shift our focus towards our current and future Battlefield experiences.”

New memories. There's the problem in a single phrase, wobbling on the brink of an oxymoron. The constant need to look ahead is admirable, but not if doing so means sweeping away pieces of the past. Whether or not Star Wars Jedi: Survivor winds up holding a special place in your heart, the reality is that what it really needs is a special place on disc. Otherwise, on some drab afternoon, years away, it will appear in just such a blog post, being retired in the name of current and future experiences, as EA lets the past die.

  • While it does suck that some of those experiences of the past have been lost, being environmentally responsible is a bigger concern for me. If reducing plastic output costs losing the ability to play games of my past, I accept that. Just as there are plenty of books and movies that were made long before I was born and have faded into obscurity, that is what will happen to games.

    Sure it is sad, but being ecologically responsible is more important to me. I still have my SNES and N64 and they both work. The SNES games are still great, but playing the first generation 3D games on the controls they had is...rough. It is better to keep all those early games as nostalgic memories, cause Goldeneye was hard to play and I did not enjoy it when I went back to it
  • I imagine EA find it cost-effective over saving the environment, lol.
  • I'v got no problem not being able to play older games for the most part anyway, tried playing a ps1 tomb raider recently? so bad but when it first came out everyone loved it, also love it or hate it big companies don't care about preserving their games for future generations because theres no $ to be made with it.
  • Well why did ms come out and say these game install sizes would be smaller on the series s and x? I will never go digital only and thats after the one step after fall debacle. Where ms removed the spanish/dutch release that they approved from ppl's ready to install list and you had to contact THEM for a refund! If they actually had a clue what you say to them. Shambolic. Why couldnt this be on more than 1 disc? Considering its £60. No other media could do a product this way
  • Emulation does a good job at game preservation. While it’s not always ideal or bug free, it’s still a good way to preserve games of the past. MGS4 is still only tied to the PS3 but we can emulate it now. MGS2+3 HD STILL has not returned to the digital store front so you can either opt to buy the disc for an inflated price or emulate it for free.
    I managed to play through all the main Ratchet and Clank games last year thanks to emulation since Sony/Insomniac refuses to re-release the HD collection (yet the Jak HD collection made its way to PS4 and thereby the PS5 so idea why R&C never got the same treatment).
    And yeah there are struggles at the moment like with Nintendo which does make it more difficult to emulate their games and we can only hope other companies don’t follow the same approach.
  • I think game files being so large is a lack of interest in wanting to take the necessary measures to reduce file sizes. Why bother, right? You'll buy the game anyway, and the sequel after that, etc.

    It's exactly like releasing empty, broken, buggy games. There's no need to release them as feature complete, working copies because you'll buy it anyway, and the sequel after that, etc.

    This may be the cynic in me, but I also think game pubs like having severely bloated file sizes because it in a sense holds your hard drive hostage. If space is limited, and your game is huge, requiring a long download time, the person is likely to keep that game on the hard drive. If that game is holding a fifth of your hard drive space, think of all the other games you DON'T have downloaded and can readily play.
  • So the disk basically comes with the 44 gb 1080 30fps series s version but instead of asking if you want to play that or install the 100+ gb of 4k assets, your forced into it. Fun.
  • You need to register before being able to post comments

Game navigation