## Exploring the Shadows: A New Dawn in the Star Wars Galaxy

With each new installment, the Star Wars cosmos enlarges, while the tales it tells, breaking away from the old Jedi and Sith narratives, begin to expand in fascinating new directions. The past year has seen the emergence of a new kind of storytelling within the sci-fi pop-culture behemoth, one that arrives as an exciting new perspective for players who are drawn to the scheming bad guys that populate the darker regions of the galaxy. Published by Ubisoft and developed by Massive Entertainment, Star Wars Outlaws is billing itself as a ‘stylish third-person action shooter’ that will have players take on the role of Kay Vess, a protagonist trapped in the thick of a dystopian struggle for galactic domination. Here is what will be different about playing a game in which you are on the brink of journeying into the vast outer reaches of the galaxy:

### Into the Life of a Scoundrel Across the GALAXY

#### The Rough Edges of Space

Still in development, here was a futuristic glimpse of life for those who don’t swing the purple lightsabres but still carve their way through the galaxy. In a demo of the game lasting nearly an hour, the player gets to spend time with the story of Kay Vess, with missions ranging from a heist into an Imperial base camp to piloting space dogfights. The story – as fresh as it was complex – felt fully realised in building out the Star Wars galaxy.

#### A Diverse Galaxy to Explore

It begins on Toshara, the arid planet where the demo takes place. But in the second phase, Mata’s mission takes her deep into the underground of the planet Mirogana. Going from the linear missions of the demo to the wide-open plethora of side quests on a planet’s surface gives us a sense of the dichotomy that comes with representing a galaxy, and what it would take to balance deep space exploration with the kind of classic gameplay that action-adventure games have long offered: a blend of exploration, dramatic stakes, sidequests, thrills, and chills. Outlaws would stitch together the feeling of a galaxy meant to be explored and adventured in.

### Flight through the GALAXY

Outlaws takes players from earthside straight to space, where they can re-enact Star Wars Squadrons dogfights, full-speed ahead inside the galactic Freelancer aesthetic with its asteroid fields and battles against other space-punk vessels. This aspect of the game serves as a faithful copy of the mechanics utilised in the previous Star Wars titles.

### Delving Deeper into the Underworld

The criminal underworld of the galaxy has never been more alive. The second playable mode that embraces the gritty reality of Mirogana and hints at the unfiltered ramifications of life on the run. In terms of narrative, at this stage the game is exploring the relationship between the law and outlaws, the grey areas in a world that thrives on nuance, and the intricate entanglement of loyalties and struggles that exist within the underworld, providing a nuanced look into the Star Wars universe.

### Mechanics that Challenge and Engage

The gameplay is varied, from stealth missions on the snow-covered planet of Kijimi, to hacking through enemy defences, to using the right combination of combat skills and weapons to catch the enemy by surprise. All of these mechanisms are heightened through the game’s strategic companion system and ever-changing situational arsenal. The galaxy in Outlaws is not just vast in scale, but in its variety of possibilities.

### The Promise of a New GALAXY

If the excitement surrounding Star Wars Outlaws ahead of its release is worth much, it’s worth a fortune. Leaving the black and white of the Jedi/Sith binary universe, and including commoners in vast systemic plots, not only provides a different vantage point from which to tell Star Wars stories, but a richer one as well. Outlaws is not a cop-out. It’s a unique chap in a vast galaxy of living, breathing fear, and that’s too exciting.

## Understanding the GALAXY

At the centre of every Star Wars story is the galaxy — that vast, ever expanding ocean of planets, peoples and narratives. Navigating that galaxy, with its myriad of warring and cohabiting cultures, has always felt like the main function of Star Wars. We could go anywhere, see anything: every region of the galaxy had a different story to tell. From the desert of Tatooine to the underworld of Coruscant to the snowy wastes of Hoth, the galaxy was here to be explored.

The galaxy in Star Wars Outlaws, then, is a compelling character, not just a backdrop for exploits and shootouts. It is stuffed with potential and ready to be exploited. The rules that allow epic spaceship dogfights to feel ‘real’ aren’t so different from the story mechanisms that make the underworld feel inhabited and compelling. Whether it be sitting at the Texas Hold’em table with Lando or taking aim at a telescope with Soontir Fel, Star Wars Outlaws is pushing the boundaries of how to ebb and flow players deeper into the Star Wars universe.

With this promise of adventure, exploration, and a whole new perspective on the galaxy, Star Wars Outlaws promises to be a coming-out party for the nascent stage of the history of the saga. Pre-orders are open, while the galaxy remains ahead, untouched, and full of stories waiting to be told.

This article has shown that in Star Wars Outlaws, the galaxy is a medium for storytelling, a place for the players to excavate, a canvas upon which to paint their own adventure. Dive into the darkness. And there the players will experience a vision of the Star Wars galaxy like no other. It will be as deep as it is exhilarating.

Jun 11, 2024
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