With Jedi Survivor winning acclaim from critics and players alike, and Star Wars; Squadrons still being a great arcade-like space dogfighting title worthy of our best Xbox Series X games list, you could argue we’re entering a new golden age for Star Wars games. And that could get another jolt of the Force with Star Wars: Outlaws.
Revealed at the Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday, June 11 and then Ubisoft Forward 2023 a day later, Star Wars: Outlaws is a game that’ll put players in the boots of Kay Vess as she delves into the underworld of the Star Wars ‘universe.’ And this being an Ubisoft-published game means there’s an open-world/worlds to explore, which should let us dive deeper into the lived-in setting of a galaxy far, far away.
Having spent a decent amount of time in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, I’d not normally get that excited about another Ubisoft open-world game; we have enough of those already and I don’t have as much free time as I used to. But Star Wars: Outlaws could hit differently.
That’s because we might finally be getting a Han Solo simulator that I — and I’m sure others — have been waiting ages for. I’m glossing over that Starfield has been touted as such an unofficial Solo simulator, given that going by the Starfield Direct showcase, it’ll be a game that’s more about creating your own character than fitting one to a certain mold.
While Star Wars games have been rather varied, flipping between first-person shooter and third-person adventures into full RPGs and strategy games, the majority of them haven’t managed to ditch the Force and Jedi. I do like a good lightsaber clash — see Obi-Wan’s final episode for a great battle — and can't deny that Force powers are cool. But I am a little tired of the antics of pseudo space wizards.
So the idea of seeing the wider galaxy of Star Wars from the perspective of someone who can't mind trick or choke her way through problems is tantalizing. It’s why Andor was such a hit in my eyes; The Mandalorian delivers some of this goodness as well, but season 3 fell a little flat for me.
And being able to explore some of the seedier sides of Star Wars as a gun-slinging rogue looking to pull a big heist is exactly the panacea I want for the malaise brought on by more traditional Star Wars games.
Star Wars: Outlaws trailer, story and setting
The generous announcement trailer, shows off a clash in a cantina that progresses through to blasting Imperial TIE Fighters in a planet's orbit. But among the frenetic action there are some story and setting hints.
First off, Kay, who’s narrating the video, explains that in the Outer Rim of the former Galactic Republic the Pyke Syndicate (which you may remember from The Book of Boba Fett) holds sway. So we can expect a lot of Star Wars: Outlaws to take place on planets far removed from the galactic capital of Coruscant. Expect Tatooine to make an appearance with an obligatory Rancor.
Secondly we get a glimpse at a character called Jaylen, who hints that he has a task for Kay. We can infer from various shots that will be a heist against some wealthy Outer Rim denizens who may have got rich though less than legitimate means.
Kay is also accompanied by Nix, a companion that’s something of a cross between a cat and fox. While it's not featured in the announcement trailer, official information, key art and game footage for Star Wars: Outlaws features a BX-commando droid who sports a trench coat for some unknown reason, and will act as a form of sidekick for Kay.
In terms of timeline, it would appear that Outlaws is set at a time when the Empire has full control of the galaxy. That would put Outlaws ahead of the original trilogy of movies and in a similar time frame as Andor, Jedi Survivor and the underappreciated Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Star Wars: Outlaws gameplay and platforms
At Ubisoft Forward 2023, we got to see a good chunk of game footage for Star Wars: Outlaws. Coming Ubisoft-owned studio Massive Entertainment, Outlaws is a third-person action and adventure game that in somewhat of a similar vein as the Assassin's Creed games. It blends stealth, where you can use also Nix to activate various devices while hiding in cover, and then gun-slinging action when things inevitably go wrong.
There's definitely some Han Solo-style blaster-firing action, which sees Kay bounce between cover to shoot down all manner of enemies. Speaking of 'Han shot first' action, there's a form of Red Dead Redemption 2 Dead Eye, which lets Kay select a suite of targets in slow-motion before unleashing a barrage of blaster shots from the back of a speeder.
And when it comes to vehicles, Kay has a ship called the Trailblazer, which we get to see jumping around in hyperspace and blasting down TIE Fighters. Expect to be able to explore multiple planets as well. And I'd be very surprised if you couldn’t do a lot of customization for the ship, as well as Kay herself.
There appear to be some quiet moment, letting Kay explore the variety of planets and environments featured in Outlaws, as well as engage in conversation with various ne'er-do-wells of the Outer Rim.
Xbox may have been the one to announce Star Wars: Outlaws, but the game is coming to PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S, in addition to PC. So you don’t need to have Xbox Game Pass to play Outlaws at launch, though it’s not clear if the game will come to Game Pass at day-one of its launch.
Star Wars: Outlaws release date speculation
Speaking of release date, at the 2023 Xbox Showcase Star Wars: Outlaws was given a 2024 launch. But there’s no word on a narrowed-down launch window.
As there was no game footage in the trailer, I’d suspect we won’t see Outlaws until late in 2024. But that’s fine as with Starfield coming September 6, there’s at least one big space game to keep people entertained for some time.
My biggest hope is the developers take their time and really nail the feel, setting and story of Outlaws so that we get a game that feels fresh, rather than an Assassin’s Creed game in a Star Wars skin.
Star Wars: Outlaws could be the next big Star Wars game
With the remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic apparently stalled, Outlaws could be the next big, exciting Star Wars game.
Moving things away from Jedi and letting you control a Han Solo-like scoundrel might not be the most original idea, but it’s one that I feel has yet to be executed well in games. So I’m hoping Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft change that. And if that’s the case, then Star Wars: Outlaws could be the most exciting use of the Star Wars license in 2024.