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Star Wars Outlaws Takes Cue From Disney-Era Shows/Films In Best Possible Way

From a gameplay standpoint, it appears Star Wars Outlaws would offer a great deal of variety — combat (open, vehicular and space from the looks of things), stealth and branching dialogue.

Star Wars Outlaws Takes Cue From Disney-Era Shows/Films In Best Possible Way
Promo cover for Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit:

Last Updated: 06.43 PM, May 13, 2024


ON April 9, videogame developer/publisher Ubisoft unveiled a story trailer for the upcoming action-adventure game Star Wars Outlaws, and it came as a breath of fresh air. But before we get into the why, here’s a look at the trailer:

The events of this third-person title occur at some point between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — which to the cynic means “No, I am your father” has taken place but “It is too late for me, son” has not. Of course, we are no cynics so we’ll just say the events of Star Wars Outlaws go down between 3 and 4 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin). 

In the promotional material provided by Disney and Ubisoft, the game is touted as “the first-ever open-world Star Wars game”. The release continues, “Explore distinct planets across the galaxy, both iconic and new. Risk it all as Kay Vess, an emerging scoundrel seeking freedom and the means to start a new life, along with her companion Nix. Fight, steal, and outwit your way through the galaxy’s crime syndicates as you join the galaxy’s most wanted. If you’re willing to take the risk, the galaxy is full of opportunity.”

The trend

Ask most people about the first thing that comes to their minds when they hear the phrase “Star Wars” and you’re more than likely to hear, “Jedi”, “Yoda”, “Skywalker”, “Darth Vader” or “light saber”. The cynic to whom allusion was drawn above might say, “Jar Jar Binks” or “Yousa people gonna die?” or something to that effect, but that’s neither here nor there.

That people for the longest time associated the franchise with the Jedi and their weapons of choice is no accident. In the 28 years between the releases of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the focus of the series had been force-sensitive characters. Sure, there was a Han Solo here and a Boba Fett there, but they took up a fraction of the screen time devoted to the Jedi and Sith. 

Promo cover for Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit:
Promo cover for Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit:

Prior to 1999 and the beginning of the prequel trilogy, there were a few spinoffs about Ewoks and the droids, but those were largely forgettable. It was only with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens (or Episode VII, if you prefer) that the formula began to change and the stories began to revolve around characters who weren’t necessarily force-sensitive. This laid the foundation for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — one of the most entertaining Star Wars shows/films without so much as a Jedi in sight. 

And the rest is history with different showrunners/filmmakers taking on the responsibility of bringing myriad characters (again, who may not necessarily be force-sensitive) to life on the small and big screen. On the videogame side of things, however, there’s always been a clear bias. Certainly, there have been racing (Star Wars Episode I: Racer or Star Wars Racer Revenge) and flying games (Star Wars: Squadrons or Star Wars: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter). But when it comes to Star Wars titles that aren’t about being in a vehicle of some sort, games without a force-sensitive protagonist are a rarity. Off the top of my head, Star Wars: Republic Commando is the only one to come to mind. 

Bucking the trend

And that is why it’s exciting to see a massive (the first-ever open-world Star Wars game, remember?) new title in this franchise that doesn’t have Jedi or Sith at its front and centre. It’s perfectly possible that it is revealed down the line that there are force-sensitive characters who are central to protagonist Kay’s story. Currently, that isn’t the case.

Stills from Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit: Ubisoft
Stills from Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit: Ubisoft

For now, their absence means a chance for storytelling that doesn’t lean on lightsabers, the Force or (heavens forbid) Midi-chlorians as a crutch. As we’ve seen with the excellent shows Andor and The Mandalorian, this lends itself to the exploration of interesting little lore, tales and characters from across the galaxy who aren’t part of the series’ central storyline. Star Wars Outlaws, with its premise of pulling off “the greatest heist the Outer Rim has ever seen” seems to be reading from the same hymn sheet. 

From a gameplay standpoint, there appears to be a great deal of variety on offer — combat (open, vehicular and space from the looks of things), stealth and branching dialogue. Further, given this is a Ubisoft title, you can expect tonnes of side content that includes but isn’t limited to embarking on substories involving peripheral characters, seeking out collectibles and tracking down resources to upgrade your gear. In other words, there will be plenty of gameplay loops via which to progress and develop the story, and it is fervently hoped that the writers will dig deep and conjure a compelling saga that can stand tall without the Jedi or Sith.

There’s around four-and-a-half months to go till Star Wars Outlaws hits the stands, virtual and physical. But you can expect more details about the game in the lead-up.

While you wait

Of course, until August 30 rolls around, there’s already a treasure trove of Star Wars games to sink your teeth into. 

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Survivor -- These are the most high-profile Star Wars games released in the recent past and they’re both absolutely riveting. Both in terms of story and gameplay, these are arguably among the best exhibitions of Force abilities in video games and explorations of Jedi-Sith lore. For casual gamers, the learning curve can be on the slightly steeper side, but persist with it and you will be richly rewarded.

Promo cover for Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit:
Promo cover for Star Wars Outlaws. Image credit:

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- One of the greatest roleplaying games of all time and currently available (in pretty decent quality) for mobile platforms as well, KotoR as it is commonly known is a must-play. Its twisting tale, array of memorable characters and spellbinding locales are buttressed by the host of decisions you have to make. Be warned though, a number of those decisions will leave you scratching your head for some time. 

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga -- The Harry Potter series, the Marvel and DC universes, Jurassic World and The Incredibles are but a few of the franchises to have undergone the LEGO treatment. One of the most entertaining titles in its collection, however, is its take on Episodes IV to VI of the Star Wars films. A gentle learning curve, splashes of humour, adorable graphics and a familiar story are just a few of the reasons you should give this one a whirl.

The Star Wars films and shows are available to stream on Disney+Hotstar.

Star Wars Outlaws releases for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft Windows on August 30.