EA has unveiled that first gameplay footage of Star Wars Squadrons and it looks like the in-depth space combat sim fans have been asking for.
We were cautiously optimistic when Star Wars Squadrons was first announced, but with every new Star Wars starfighter game that’s released they seem to get more and more simplistic. And yet everything in Star Wars Squadrons suggests it’s not just a simple arcade shooter.
The gameplay trailer shown during the EA Play event demonstrates a cockpit based very much on the old LucasArts space combat simulators, including what seems to be a variation on that series’ power management system.
Since those games used every button on a PC keyboard the game’s never going to be that complex but the fact that it supports HOTAS joysticks and throttles shows EA are going surprisingly hardcore.
Squadrons is being developed by EA Motive, who did the surprisingly good story campaign for Star Wars: Battlefront 2, but oddly Criterion, who made the Starfighter Assault mode, are not involved.
That’s despite the fact that the whole of Star Wars Squadrons can be played in VR, which represents EA’s biggest commitment to VR since… the Battlefront X-wing VR mission.
The graphics look fantastic and there seems to be a wide variety of customisation options for your character, regardless of whether they’re human or not.
You can also modify your ship with earned components, including jamming systems, tractors beams, and… an ewok bobblehead? EA has already been quick to emphasise though that there will be no microtransactions, so seemingly they’ve learnt their lesson from Battlefront 2.
It’s not clear how long the single-player mode is, because the game itself is only £34.99, but the multiplayer sounds very promising too.
There’s a simple 5v5 dogfight mode but also Fleet Battles mode where you have to take down capital ships to win a lengthier and more structured battle.
This is where team play becomes important, with four different classes of ships in fighters (X-wing and TIE Fighter), interceptors (A-wing and TIE Interceptor), bombers (Y-wing and TIE Bomber), and support craft (U-wing and TIE Reaper).
So, as usual, the B-wing doesn’t get to go to the party, but hopefully there’s always the chance of DLC.
Star Wars Squadrons will be released on 2 October for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Unusually for an EA game it supports cross-play from the start.
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