tar Wars: Outlaws is the next big Star Wars triple-A game coming from Massive Entertainment and its publisher Ubisoft. There has already been a lot of footage from trailers, gameplay, and behind-the-scenes features. Yet, there’s still a lot more that we don’t know. Even with the game just recently announced, here are five big topics that we’d like to know more about in the months to come before release.
Most of the analysis will be based on the 10-minute demonstration unveiled at the Ubisoft Forward event. Feel free to check that out below if you haven’t already.
How Will Space Combat Work?
The 10-minute gameplay demonstration ends with Kay, Nix, and her companion droid ND-5 taking off into space and running away from the Empire. During this small scene, see what space combat could look like.
The space combat shown looks very similar to that seen in the recent Star Wars: Battlefront II. This includes the user interface, which displays your ship’s speed on the left and your ship’s health on the right. There’s also the fact that players must lead their shots (aiming their cannons ahead of their targets to hit them), just like in Battlefront II. Not to mention that players can perform evasive maneuvers – such as a barrel roll, as demonstrated in the footage – from what looks to be just a push of a button. This, too, looks to be borrowed from Battlefront II.
What will be interesting about Star Wars: Outlaws is what else players can do while in space. For Star Wars smugglers, a ship is practically part of their identity, and a good ship can do more than just shoot and evade blaster fire. Smugglers’ ships like the Millennium Falcon or the Ghost can dock on other ships, board them, pick up and drop off cargo using magnetics, and even stealthily pass by enemy vessels by masking their transmissions. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what a smugglers’ ship can do. Let’s hope that Star Wars: Outlaws can let us do some of these same tricks, adding more complexity to space combat and letting players truly live out that ultimate scoundrel fantasy.
Will There Be Hand-To-Hand Combat?
At the beginning of the 10-minute gameplay demo, as Kay escapes the Pyke Syndicate’s hideout, she gets into a huge combat encounter. Kay has to blast her way out. During this encounter, there’s a small moment where Kay sprints up to a stunned enemy and knocks him out with the butt of her blaster. This got us asking whether or not Star Wars: Outlaws will have any hand-to-hand combat.
While the game’s tone, story, and some of its gameplay elements invite comparison to the Uncharted series, one also wonders if this is another area of Uncharted that the team at Massive will borrow. While the hand-to-hand combat may not be a defining feature of Uncharted, it does sell the scoundrel/thief aspect of the series as it replicates the bar-fight fisticuffs that are staples among the action-adventure genre.
In Uncharted, all the player has to do to enter hand-to-hand combat is walk up to an enemy and start mashing a button to start punching. This system also adds another layer to combat, giving players another tactic. The gameplay demonstration hints at this possibility, which would also fit Star Wars: Outlaws’ overall vision and feeling. Perhaps we could see more of this in the future.
How Much Customization Will There Be?
As Kay steps into the cockpit of her ship, the Trailblazer, a small on-screen prompt says, “Use Workbench.” It’s a small “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment in the gameplay demonstration. Still, it does open up a world of possibilities
The developers have said there will be some customization options and skills players can unlock as they play the game. New possible abilities include skills that will help them with stealth or increase the damage of their blaster, for example. However, this on-screen prompt makes us think of another recent Star Wars game that offered a huge amount of customization: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
The customization in Jedi: Survivor is arguably one of the best improvements made from its predecessor. Jedi: Survivor allows players to make radical changes to the look of its main character Cal Kestis. This includes everything from clothing, hairstyle, and facial hair to the design of his lightsaber. Every player’s version of Cal Kestis differs from others, and it’s another way Star Wars games allow us to live out our fantasies. It will be exciting to see if Outlaws gives players something similar, where we could change the look of Kay, her blaster, and maybe even her ship to make it unique to ourselves.
How Will Players' Choices Impact the Game?
A big point of interest in the 10-minute gameplay demonstration is about two-thirds through when Kay must choose whether or not to bribe the Imperial Officer at the cantina. It’s a choice that the players get to make for her.
The developers have commented on the choices within the game, saying that choices will have a moment-to-moment effect on the game. The developers point out, for example, that you can sneak past the Pyke Syndicates early on in the demo instead of blasting your way out. You could also bribe the Imperial Officer at the cantina and not have the Empire chase after you when leaving the planet. But the story will relatively be the same storyline throughout, regardless of some of the player’s choices.
It remains to be seen exactly how far the game will go regarding player choices. Will my version of Kay be completely different from another’s? Can I make my version of Kay a selfish scoundrel while someone else makes their version an altruistic “Robin Hood”? How many branching narratives will there be?
While the developers promise that there will be one overarching narrative from beginning to end, it’s exciting to think about how many ways there will be to get there. It’s almost like a maze with many winding paths and many ways to get to the game’s conclusion.
How Will ‘Outlaws’ Shake up the Typical Heist Storyline?
The first reveal trailer for Star Wars: Outlaws hints at the main story’s plot. A male character named Jaylen sits in the cockpit of Kay’s ship, but Kay points a gun at him and tells him to get off. But Jaylen coyly suggests that the two work together on “the score that will change everything.”
This scene may hint at Kay and other thieves going after a big heist or a valuable treasure that could help her make them rich. Such a premise sounds exciting, especially for a Star Wars video game. Still, one must ask how Massive Entertainment will look to shake things up regarding this storyline.
The heist storyline is very common and included in many movies. Star Wars is also no stranger to the heist genre and has made it feel fresh many times from Rogue One, where they’re stealing plans for the Death Star, to Solo, where Han has to escape through the Kessel Run, and Andor, where they steal a freighter train to escape the Empire. There’s nothing wrong with using a popular story thread, but one does wonder how Outlaws will make it fresh.
However, Outlaws is a video game, and part of why this question is so intriguing is also thinking about what parts fans may be able to play. Can players help to plan out the heist? Can we sneak or blast our way into whatever vault Kay will be stealing from? Can we decide who gets to be part of our crew? That sounds extremely exciting, but only time will tell if any of this speculation will become a reality.
It’s still very early in Star Wars: Outlaws’ marketing schedule. The game is due to release in 2024, with early rumors suggesting an early 2024 release if everything goes well. This means there are still many more months for the developers to answer some of these big questions. We don’t have to wait much longer for more information, as the developers stated that they would reveal more info at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Outlaws already looks to fulfill our fantasy of becoming a “Star Wars scoundrel” very well. We hope that Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft will answer some of these questions so that our time with Star Wars: Outlaws can be everything we’re hoping it to be.
For more on Ubisoft and Massive’s next big game, check out my full breakdown of everything you need to know about Star Wars: Outlaws. Also, check out my review of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to learn more about one of the best Star Wars games in recent years. We’ve also got a very passionate Discord community, open to everyone who loves Star Wars games and everything else in the galaxy far, far away.