Some of the key people behind Ubisoft’s Star Wars Outlaws are Canadian

Here's what we learned about the new Star Wars game from a hands-off behind-closed-doors briefing in Los Angeles

Star Wars Outlaws key art

One of the biggest surprises out of the June 11th Xbox Games Showcase was the formal unveiling of Star Wars Outlaws.

The open-world Ubisoft game was first announced two-and-a-half years ago, but no details were provided at the time besides the company confirming that its Swedish team Massive was working on it.

But what we didn’t actually know is that several of the major players behind the game are actually Canadian. That all starts with Outlaws‘ main character, Kay Vess, a scoundrel fighting to survive in the Galactic Empire. She’s portrayed by Canadian actor Humberly González from Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia. But that’s not all — narrative director Navid Khavari and lead writer Nikki Foy are both from Ubisoft’s Toronto studio and most recently worked on Far Cry 6.

In Los Angeles, MobileSyrup attended a behind-closed-doors briefing for Outlaws in which a pre-recorded video from González and Khavari played. We also learned a bit more about the game from creative director Julian Gerighty.

According to him, the game is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi because the team wanted to explore this period that’s rife with, well, scum and villainy. The Empire’s rule creates a large underground criminal network, and the studio aims to show how an adventurer like Kay would survive during that. Specifically, the story begins with a job gone wrong, making Kay one of the galaxy’s most wanted and putting her on a mission to start a new life.

Accompanying her is Nix, a cute and loyal little alien that tags along wherever she goes. In the video, González says the creature is Kay’s only ally, and, therefore, means a lot to her. She adds that she’s excited for fans to “fall in love” with the critter as she has.

In terms of gameplay, Massive has turned Outlaws into the first-ever true open-world Star Wars game. While we didn’t see any more footage beyond what was shown during Ubisoft Forward, Gerighty teased the size and diversity of Outlaws‘ planets, which cover three kinds of gameplay experiences. These include “dense, living cities” (i.e. cantinas), large open worlds (such as a hub world that’s a wind-swept savana with sprawling canyons) and “vast areas” of space.

Star Wars Outlaws

That latter point is particularly interesting because it capitalizes on something that previous Star Wars games like the cancelled Battlefront 3 aimed to do. Essentially, you can take Kay’s ship, the Trailblazer, and fly from the ground to space seamlessly without any load times. From there, you can explore areas like a red-tinted debris-filled sector, engage with enemies in dogfights and more. It helps that the game is on current-gen consoles and PC only to fully take advantage of the beefier tech.

Gerighty also elaborated on the combat that was briefly shown in the gameplay demo. Unlike many Star Wars games, Outlaws’ core gameplay mechanics aren’t centred around a lightsaber, so Kay instead uses what Gerighty calls “a very capable and adaptable” blaster with different firing options. Kay can also command Nix to temporarily incapacitate enemies or even fetch limited-use powerful weapons. Alternatively, Kay can take a stealthy approach, and Nix will aid her in that regard by causing distractions, flipping distant switches to affect the environment (like moving a crane that Kay can hang from to sneak by) and more.

Star Wars Outlaws Kay

For now, it remains to be seen how Ubisoft is handling the open-world itself. Of course, it’s easy to say it’s big, but that doesn’t mean too much at the moment without getting a look at the sorts of quests and other side activities (a riff on “Ubisoft Towers,” perhaps?) Outlaws will contain. The idea of a Grand Theft Auto-style ‘Wanted’ system within the Star Wars world sounds pretty intriguing, though, so hopefully, Massive does something neat with that. On the flip side, I’m oh-so weary of the abundance of Star Wars media set in the same time period, but I’m optimistic the Outlaws team will manage to tell a compelling story within this well-worn territory like Respawn did with its two Jedi games.

We’ll learn more about Star Wars Outlaws in the coming months ahead of its planned 2024 launch.

Image credit: Ubisoft