A brand new Star Wars video game has been announced with a focus on space-based dogfighting.
Star Wars fans may not have had a true space combat game since 2003's Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, but now it looks as if we’ll be seeing a spiritual successor to that classic series.
Here’s everything you need to know about it:
What happens in Star Wars: Squadrons?
In Star Wars: Squadrons, you’ll step into the boots of a starfighter pilot, climbing into the cockpits of iconic ships from the Star Wars canon.
The game takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi, a time period in Star Wars lore which gives the games developers room to include fan favourite craft from both the original and sequel trilogies.
“We created this game for every Star Wars fan who has ever dreamt about soaring across the galaxy in their favourite starfighter,” said Ian Frazier, Creative Director at developers, Motive Studios.
“We’ve been able to create a high-fidelity starfighter experience with an authentic storyline that invites Star Wars fans to explore never-before-seen corners of the galaxy in their own ship.”
Is there a trailer?
EA released a teaser trailer – which you can watch by clicking here – earlier this week.
They have announced that a full ‘gameplay reveal’ will come as part of EA Play, a live streamed even taking place on Friday 19 June at 12am BST.
Is it multiplayer only?
We have to admit, our heart sank somewhat when during the teaser trailer, five characters each were shown from the opposing sides (the New Republic and Imperial Empire).
It suggested the game may be taking a ‘hero shooter’ approach to dogfighting games, aping titles like Overwatch and Apex Legends which ask players to pick from a roster of larger than life characters – each with their own unique skills and perks – before engaging in multiplayer battles.
But while the game’s focus does seem to be its multiplayer component, there will also be a single-player campaign if you’re really looking to get your Rogue Squadron kicks.
The story mode will bring to life events following the Battle of Endor, after the Rebel Alliance has successfully destroyed the second Death Star.
The narrative will be told from the alternating perspectives of two customisable pilots, one serving in the New Republic’s heroic Vanguard Squadron, the other fighting for the Galactic Empire’s fearsome Titan Squadron.
EA are promising “a diverse cast of original characters”, as well as “cameos from familiar faces in the Star Wars galaxy.”
How does multiplayer mode work?
As mentioned, the game’s focus does seem to be its multiplayer component, and it’s an admittedly exciting prospect.
You’ll plan skirmishes with your squadron in the briefing room before taking off for space battles across the galaxy, engaging in strategic 5v5 space battles.
A ‘Fleet Battles’ mode will see you attempting to demolish the opposing team’s flagship, while in ‘Dogfights’, you’ll work together with your squadron to defeat as many opponents as possible.
And it’ll all take place against the high-definition backdrop of legendary Star Wars locations like the gas giant of Yavin Prime, and the shattered moon of Galitan.
Excitingly, you’ll be able to team up with your friends and play against others regardless of platform, with cross-play supported on all platforms the game is scheduled to release on.
Will there be microtransactions?
EA’s previous Star Wars efforts have come under fire for the aggressive inclusion of microtransactions and loot boxes, luck-based gameplay mechanics that allow you to spend real-world money on randomised in-game items; they’ve been likened to gambling, and are even under investigation by the Government.
But the publisher seems keen to stress that although Star Wars: Squardrons will feature “rich cosmetic and gameplay customisation options with rewards and bonuses," they will all be earned “solely through gameplay.”
As you move up the ranks, you’ll earn components like weapons, hulls, engines, and shields to customise the performance of your craft; there will also be cosmetic items to customise cockpits, ship exteriors, and the appearance of your pilot.
When can I play it?
Star Wars: Squadrons will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles and PC on Friday 2 October 2020.
Players on PS4 and PC can even experience the first-person action through an immersive virtual reality mode, assuming they have all the kit in place to do so.
Where's the best place to pre-order the game?
Will there be a demo?
EA have announced that a ten-hour free trial of Star Wars: Squadrons will be available to members of EA Access, the company’s subscription-based video game service.
This writer – who is only really interested in single-player content – was able to take advantage of a £1 starter month deal from EA Access to play through Battlefront II’s full campaign in under 10 hours back in 2017.
It's worth keeping an eye out for similar deals, though single-player content is sometimes restricted in these trials.