Star Wars Outlaws’ Open World Could Be Ubisoft’s Chance At Redemption



Story Highlights

  • Star Wars Outlaws is the upcoming open-world RPG being developed by Ubisoft Massive.
  • Ubisoft’s open-world formula is riddled with problems, as the repetition, excessive markers, and checklists remove any sort of originality from every title.
  • Star Wars Outlaws already looks like an impressive adventure, with no sign of Ubisoft’s flawed formula, and brings a unique and meaningful world to explore.
  • With multiple different projects that seem to be fixing Ubisoft’s approach, it seems the company is finally gearing up for redemption.

Star Wars Outlaws is the next entry to the list of Star Wars games, developed by Ubisoft-owned Massive Entertainment. We were aware of a Star Wars game in development at the studio, and the recent Xbox showcase became the stage for its unveiling. Even among many exciting announcements, the idea of a complete open-world Star Wars game effectively stood out.

I admit an open-world Star Wars game from Ubisoft does raise considerable concerns, considering its history with the particular formula. And an iteration of those mistakes is the last thing anyone wants. However, from what’s been shown so far, it seems the game is indeed quite different in a good way and could even repair Ubisoft’s image of weak worlds.

Ubisoft’s Open Worlds Feel Robotic 

Ubisoft is a prominent name in the gaming industry, as the developers behind the massive RPGs Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry and epic platformers like Rayman. Ubisoft’s approach to games, however, is filled with striking problems that hamper the experience, specifically their open-world design microtransactions. At this point, the company is infamous for bland open worlds. It’s good to see Star Wars Outlaws take a good direction.

We have some very recent examples to reinforce this point. With Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft completely re-invented the franchise as a massive open-world RPG. Although an excellent game, it had nothing to do with the Assassins concept anymore. However, soon the new idea suffered the consequences of Ubisoft’s poor implementation of open worlds, to the point where now it will take a lot to bring back the magic.

I am not enjoying assassins creed anymore…
by u/Antique_Success in assassinscreed

Subsequent Odyssey and Valhalla both contained vast but soul-less open worlds, filled with nothing but repetitive tasks and checklists to complete. Not to mention an overly forced RPG style progression and grind was associated that made sure you traverse the bland world. Despite possessing a huge and visually charming open world, its actual implementation wrung out all the fun.

A similar case can be made for the latest Far Cry game. Far Cry 6 sports a fascinating setting with attractive visuals, good gunplay mechanics, and several interesting quests. Regrettably, a bland and repetitive open world makes a return, with tedious quests, the same old liberating checkposts, and completing objectives approach that’s been overused for a long time now. 

Farcry 6 sucks (Rant)
by u/Extremely_Volatile in farcry

The major flaw of Ubisoft’s open-world design is its overly formulaic approach. It seems like the company has created a single script against which all the open worlds are designed. Repetitive and tedious tasks spread out all across the map and an overly complicated UI showing markers and checklists to create a sensation of progress when achieving said objectives.

At this point, it all feels so robotic and practically every Ubisoft open world feels the same. When you’re playing through a game, you’re continuously greeted by an unnecessary amount of different icons to mark progress in the form of a checklist. As you proceed through the list and complete the tasks, you can’t shake the feeling of “I’ve done this before.” It’s good to see Star Wars Outlaws bringing apparent and much-needed change.

This approach birthed a significant amount of monotony and created soul-less worlds to dive into. Ubisoft’s open-world formula has been a target of considerable criticism for quite some time now, and it’s high time for it to be put to rest. On top of the weak world design, its games also started to contain predatory microtransactions, something that should never exist in a single-player adventure.

Predatory Microtransactions completely ruin a single-player game
Predatory Microtransactions completely ruin a single-player game

Fans have continued to reprimand the company for these ill practices, and its reputation has taken a solid hit lately. It’s no wonder a lot of skepticism surrounded the announcement of Star Wars Outlaws as an open-world game by Ubisoft. Things seem better from what we know so far, and I sincerely hope none of these problems find their way into the final product.

Star Wars Outlaws Looks Highly Promising 

It hasn’t been long since we got Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, the epic sequel to Respawn’s Jedi Fallen Order, surpassing it in every way. The game featured iconic locations, intense combat scenarios, and another meaningful chapter in Cal’s story. The game indeed set a high bar for Star Wars games, but it seems Star Wars Outlaws is not the one to back down, as the game brings an excellent idea with seemingly a strong execution.

An open-world game that gives you the freedom to roam around in the vast galaxy, meet and interact with iconic characters of the franchise and bring a complete sandbox of unique planets and the voids of space to explore. It is something every Star Wars fan has desired at some point, and it seems we’re finally getting that true Star Wars open-world.

Star Wars Outlaws introduces a new protagonist, Kay Vess. Kay is sort of an outlaw for hire, quite similar to Han Solo, and conducts odd jobs in the criminal underworld of the Star Wars verse. There was also a considerable backlash for employing a female lead, but it all seems needless hate. In terms of the timeline, the game takes place in the period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Kay is not alone on this journey, as she is accompanied by both adorable and highly productive sidekick Nix, bringing strong competition to Cal’s BD-1. The announcement trailer showed a glimpse of the expansive open world to expect and the gameplay mechanics of running away from Imperial soldiers – all part of being an outlaw. The Ubisoft Forward displayed a deep dive into the game’s unique gameplay and the creative world.

Right from the get-go, Star Wars Outlaws quickly announces its intention of not following the usual Ubisoft formula. Despite being expansive, the open world stays meaningful and delivers considerable variety in all the explorable planets. Not just individual planets, the game enables a seamless transition to space traversal when moving between planets and promises a lot to be found in the seemingly empty voids.

The first thing to note is the much cleaner UI with no excessive flush of markers and checklists. The simple design carries a lot of impacts, as the progression becomes much more meaningful when not continuously dictated by checklists to complete. The best addition is the effect of players’ actions directly influencing the outcome of a particular scenario. Thus, the sense of progression is rooted in what sorts of decisions you make.

As the showcase depicts, the confrontation with the Imperial soldier is followed by a choice, and the result seems to be dictating the outcome. In this case, Kay gets pursued by the soldiers and becomes “wanted”, but the presence of choice suggests this could also play out differently. The weight of your actions governing progress is a welcome change from Ubisoft’s monotony

Star Wars Outlaws is a third-person shooter in gameplay, but the many different mechanics masterfully spice things up. The game has a strong focus on stealth. You’re free to approach a situation in your preferred style, but the stealth approach gives considerable advantage and the thrill of gameplay. The GTA-style wanted system keeps you on edge and conscious of your actions.

The companion Nix is not just for show either, as the player can issue it commands to get help in gameplay. What’s more, the involvement of space traversal also means intense dogfights to fuel the thrill. All in all, Star Wars Outlaws is shaping up to be an excellent adventure, bringing the iconic Star Wars world to life and the freedom to freely traverse this dream-like setting.

Kay's companion Nix in Star Wars Outlaws is both adorable and resourceful
Kay’s companion Nix in Star Wars Outlaws is both adorable and resourceful

Ubisoft Seems Ready To Clear Its Name

Ubisoft’s repetitive open-world formula has now become completely associated with its name and a target of fans’ animosity. After the continuous criticism of Ubisoft’s various practices in its games, it seems the company is finally gearing up to improve its image. And it’s not only due to Star Wars Outlaws as more of its upcoming projects also look ready to repair that tarnished image.

Assassin’s Creed’s new direction was riddled with flaws. The omission of stealth, the introduction of excessive RPG grind, broken level scaling, bland world design, and unacceptable microtransactions are some examples. The games no longer felt Assassin’s Creed, but now it seems Ubisoft has finally listened to fans’ demands by taking the series back to its roots.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage returns to the parkour and stealth-focused action game, instead of a vast open world with RPG progression. The return of the classic concept with no excessive bloat is precisely what the series should go for. All we want is to roam around the world in the signature Assassin’s Creed parkour and take out unaware enemies with well-placed assassinations, and I’m happy to see we’re finally getting it.

Assassin's Creed Mirage finally revives the series' parkour and stealth focus
Assassin’s Creed Mirage finally revives the series’ parkour and stealth focus

Another important thing to mention is the upcoming Avatar game being developed by Ubisoft Massive. A similar case of a beloved franchise as Star Wars, coincidentally both Disney owned. The game is also an open-world adventure, and the initial looks are painting a vivid and fascinating picture. The gameplay elements also look stunning and even introduce a co-op feature.

Assassin’s Creed is back to how it started and what it should have been. An interesting Avatar game is finally in the works and with the sequel to the enormously successful movie still quite recent, it’s the golden opportunity for a game to shine. Star Wars already has a new game and from the look of things it is a massive and creative sandbox aiming to deliver the thrill of freely traversing the highly iconic verse.

With all these excellent upcoming projects, it’s the perfect chance for Ubisoft to rise again and clear its tarnished reputation. All we need is an implementation of creative and fresh ideas and a sense of identity to breathe life into the open worlds, and just throw away any sort of microtransactions to focus on a complete and fun single-player experience. I eagerly look forward to this new formula in practice.

Star Wars Outlaws arrives for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2024.

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