We got to have a quick chat with the game’s Creative Director, Julian Gerighty, about what it means to work on the mammoth IP, some of Kay’s trade secrets, and just how big the galaxy out there could be.
Firstly, what does it mean to you to work on an IP as big as Star Wars, a huge privilege I imagine.
Julian: Yeah, the short answer is yes.
Yeah, I think if you ask a developer at my age, who grew up with Star Wars where it was such a culturally important milestone in their life, this is like a dream come true.
If you told a seven-year-old me: “Put down the VHS of Star Wars, you’re gonna be able to work on a Star Wars game, help create a droid, a creature.” It would have blown my mind. So, this is unbelievably cool.
What made the gap between empire and return feel like the right moment for this scoundrel story?
Julian: So when we pitched a scoundrel, fantasy game to LucasFilm Games, they pointed to this one period, between those two movies, which is perfect. The Empire has just won this incredible battle at Hoth, the rebels are on the back foot, have been fractured, and disappeared. The syndicates are taking advantage of that chaos, taking power and fighting amongst themselves.
So, with all of this happening, it’s a perfect moment for a scoundrel to fit in and find opportunities.
Looking at the shooting, and the cover combat in particular, it feels like there’s some of The Division’s DNA present here. Did your experience with that game inform the direction here at all?
Julian: To be honest, not at all. In the sense that what we wanted to do is to create something that really fit the scoundrel fantasy and a scoundrel, especially this scoundrel Kay Vess, she’s not a trained soldier. She’s a resourceful underdog.
So, how does that feel super different from any other shooter? Maybe we’re going to have a little bit more precision on hip-fire, there’ll be elements within the world where you can do ricochets, you can lean into trick shots, you can use gadgets, anything you can put your hands on to get the upper hand when you’re in a situation.
And sometimes that means not fighting at all, stealth becomes a huge part of the experience.
We obviously saw the game’s wanted system in action after Kay doesn’t go through with bribing the Imperial guard. I expect there are other ways you can find yourself wanted in this world?
Julian: Of course! If you commit a crime in front of an Imperial officer, or if you get caught sneaking into Empire territory, that’s going to shift your wanted level up a notch.
Everything we saw alludes to Outlaws being not only a very big open world but a big open galaxy (far, far away). Just how big is this game?
Julian: We’re not going to go into exactly how many planets, we featured Toshara and there are a lot of other planets sort of hinted at in the gameplay walkthrough and each planet has all of these elements of cities, settlements, and wide-open spaces. Things to discover like caves, artefacts, it’s got a full open-world library of things.
Then, on top of that, you have got your speeder bike. And, on top of that again, you’ve got your ship that you can jump into, go into the orbit of all of these moons and planets, and explore. All of their contracts, the smuggling, dogfighting, larger scale battles, that type of thing.
So, it’s quite an expansive experience.
We saw a moment where Kay is sprung by a hired gun, and it ultimately leads to a shootout. I presume we’ll be able to diffuse these situations from time to time?
Julian: This is through the lens of the scoundrel experience, and part of that fantasy is talking your way out of the situation. So, giving you that option, which sometimes it’s going to work, sometimes it’s not going to work, was very important for us.
Being set between Empire and Return, and having worked with LucasFilm so closely, is it right to presume Outlaws will officially be canon?
Amazing. And as cute as Nix is, I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. Obviously, we can send him out into action. Tell me he can’t get hurt.
Julian: I did not anticipate this question. And I think you’re a cruel, cruel man for even asking that.
Well, I hope he can’t!
Julian: He can’t die, are you kidding? We’re not going to harm Nix.
Good, I’m glad to hear it. The game looks phenomenal, thanks for giving up your time to talk with us.
Star Wars Outlaws is coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2024.
The author travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Ubisoft for the purposes of this preview.