The vast majority of us didn’t expect Massive Entertainment’s mysterious open world Star Wars game to show up at one of the many events and showcases that we were treated to earlier in the month. But not only did it show up, it also took a great many people by surprise by just how good it looked- to the point that it may even have been one of the best games to be shown off that week. During that week itself, we got a great announcement trailer, which was followed up by a lengthy gameplay walkthrough, which meant plenty of details on Star Wars Outlaws were readily available right out the gate. On top of that, Massive also released a breakdown of that gameplay walkthrough accompanied by developer commentary, shedding even more light on story and gameplay details and features that were only passingly hinted at in the footage. Here, we’re going to go over all of those details.
A Star Wars protagonist can’t not have an adorable companion tagging along with them throughout their journey. It’s almost tradition. And Star Wars Outlaws’ Kay Vess won’t be bucking that trend. Her furry, loyal companion, Nix, caught the eye of many as soon as the game was revealed, and more details have also emerged on him since then. Nix is a Merqaal, a new species of Star Wars creatures created for the game. According to the developers, he’s a “rare and exotic” creature, and little (or nothing) is known about his “mysterious” home planet. Kay and Nix grew up together, so he’s more than just a pet to her, and that will be reflected not only in the story, but in gameplay as well, which we did see a little bit of in the walkthrough. He’ll be able to attack enemies on command during firefights, distract them during stealth sections, help out with puzzles outside of combat, help Kay discover secrets when you’re out exploring, or even fetch weapons, much like Chorizo the wiener dog from Far Cry 6.
Speaking of Star Wars traditions, it’s also quite hard to think of a Star Wars story where you don’t have a droid character in the main cast. In Star Wars Outlaws’ gameplay, we saw quite a bit of a battle droid- but who exactly is he? Massive Entertainment has confirmed that his name is ND-5, and he’s a BX Commando droid who was built by the Separatist army back in the day, before the rise of the Galactic Empire. That, of course, means he fought in the Clone Wars, but by this point, the battle hardened droid has been serving as an enforcer for the galaxy’s criminal underworld for quite some time. The exact nature of ND-5 and Kay’s alliance remains unknown yet, but the developers have said that the two will come together when they become aligned on a common mission- a big high-risk job that they see as the opportunity of a lifetime.
Getting to see unique planets is a big part of the charm in Star Wars media, and as a fully open world game, Star Wars Outlaws is going to have that quality in abundance (at least we hope it does). So far, Massive Entertainment hasn’t said a whole lot about how many planets the game will have, how large each of them will be, or how many of them we can expect to be familiar locations from past Star Wars stories (though we have seen glimpses of Tatooine here and there in some of the footage). One planet that has been confirmed for the game is Toshara (which is actually a moon), a dusty and arid rock created for this game, described as a hive of underworld activity which we saw quite a bit of in the recent walkthrough. Massive has said that every planet in the game is going to have its own unique profile, which means that in addition to having their own unique looks, Star Wars Outlaws’ planets will also come with the promise of their own bespoke stories, unique wildlife and ecosystem, and more.
The planets that you’ll be exploring will have environmental variety and different kinds of locations themselves, too. For instance, in the recent gameplay video, we saw plenty of wide open landscapes on Toshara that Kay will be able to explore at her leisure, either using her speeder or on foot, but those looking for more urban environments won’t be disappointed either, the planets in the game also playing host to a number of different cities, which, as you might expect, will serve as hubs of activity of different kinds. One city that we saw was Juanta’s Hope on Toshara, while in the recent developer breakdown, the devs also mentioned Mirogana, which is the moon’s capital city and is described as a classic Star Wars wretched hive of scum and villainy- though much more urban. Maybe not Coruscant urban, but you get the idea.
Of course, space is also going to play an important role in the game – this is Star Wars after all – and it won’t just be limited to combat (though there will be plenty of that to go around). Massive Entertainment says that it is applying the same design philosophies to space as it is to the planets, which means players will find plenty of variety (or as much as you can in the endless void of space, at least). Interestingly, every single orbital region in space will supposedly have its own distinct identity, though it remains to be seen how that will work out. You’ll be able to explore at your leisure, find secrets, engage in small-scale and intimate dogfights (like the one we saw in the walkthrough), or even take on much bigger ships in large-scale battles (fingers crossed for a fight against a Star Destroyer then).
In the Star Wars Outlaws gameplay walkthrough, towards the end of the video, we saw Kaw hopping into her ship, flying it up into the atmosphere, exiting the atmosphere and finding herself in space, and then getting embroiled in a space dogfight, all in a single, unbroken sequence. That will be the norm throughout the game, Massive Entertainment has confirmed. Traversal between the surface of a planet and space (and vice versa) will be completely seamless and uninterrupted by any loading screens. Of course, the game might still employ the use of masked loading screens – like when you’re in hyperspace, for instance – but, if, say, you want to pull up into a planet’s orbit, land, get off your ship, hop onto a speeder, and start exploring the surface, you’ll be able to do all of that without any interruptions.
We saw hints of Star Wars Outlaws’ choice and consequence mechanics in its recent gameplay reveal, with Kay’s refusal to bribe a corrupt Imperial officer leading to the Empire being alerted to her presence, but how extensive will that system be? Quite extensive, as it turns out. The game features a full-fledged Reputation system, and your actions in the story will have a major impact on your reputation with each of the many syndicates and factions you’ll cross paths with in Star Wars Outlaws. Who you’re choosing to work with or how you’re carrying out certain tasks during those missions will either harm or improve your relationships with different groups, and that, in turn, will not only affect the ending, but also affect the content that you may have available to you from time to time. While a poor reputation with a particular syndicate might mean you will no longer be able to take on some of their most high profile contracts, being in another group’s good books could also open the doors for some of the most lucrative and potentially profitable jobs in the game.
Star Wars Outlaws is being billed as the ultimate Star Wars scoundrel fantasy, which means Kay’s going to be up to plenty of criminal and illicit activities throughout the experience. And of course, that means she’ll frequently come into trouble with the law and the establishment as well. That will come in the form of a Wanted system, Grand Theft Auto-style, which we also saw brief tidbits of in the gameplay walkthrough. If Kay commits crimes or actions that the Empire deems to be crimes, her Wanted level will go up, and the higher it goes up, the more aggressive and dogged the Empire will become in her pursuit. Exactly what the process of getting rid of that Wanted level will be remains to be seen, though the gameplay video did suggest that using hyperspace to leave the area will be an option. According to the developers, players will be able to either de-escalate the situation or make their escape during such moments in a variety of different ways.
Given the fact that Star Wars Outlaws is still a year or so away from launch (at least), it’s no surprise that there’s plenty about its mechanical nitty-gritties that we don’t know yet. How exactly its progression mechanics will function hasn’t been detailed yet, for instance, though the developers have offered some very brief information, and confirmed that from Kay’s blaster to other abilities that she has at her disposal, players will be powering up the character quite a bit throughout the experience. The blaster in particular can be equipped with new modules and upgrades, with each of them allowing you to deal with situations in different ways. Meanwhile, the developers have also said that though the blaster is obviously a combat tool first and foremost, it is also quite a “central and versatile” tool in Kay’s arsenal that will also have other uses than just directly attacking enemies head-on.