Star Wars Outlaws Could Finally Deliver on a Canceled Game's Vision
A wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Star Wars has always been uniquely suited to video game adaptions, and dozens of titles have effortlessly embraced the core ideas of the franchise, including 2023’s Jedi Survivor. Yet, they all tend to focus on the good side of the galaxy with countless Jedi and hero-centric stories. That’s left some huge opportunities to explore Star Wars’ seedy criminal underbelly on the table. Star Wars Outlaws might finally deliver on that vision, which is something fans have been clamoring for since the cancellation of the promising Star Wars 1313.
At Gamescom 2012, Lucasarts revealed Star Wars 1313, a surprisingly gritty-looking take on the franchise. The game was supposed to follow a young Boba Fett as he navigated the criminal underworld of Coruscant. Even with just one trailer, it was a concept that gained immediate interest from flocks of fans. Unfortunately, 1313 would never progress any further than that first trailer as, less than a year later, Lucasarts announced its cancellation.
Outside the setup, not much else was ever revealed about 1313. Gameplay seemed Uncharted-esque with a big emphasis on Boba’s physicality, as well as various Bounty Hunter tools and gadgets. In many ways, it seemed like a more advanced version of the 2002 title Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, which focused on Jango Fett.
Roughly a decade after the reveal of 1313, Ubisoft announced Star Wars Outlaws, a title that certainly looks much broader in scope but still holds many of the same themes as the scrapped title. While Ubisoft seems heavily focused on open-world elements, a new interview with Kotaku also indicates the studio is committed to the idea of role-playing as an intergalactic criminal.
Outlaws stars Kay Vess, a scoundrel trying to pull off the biggest heist the Outer Rim has ever seen.
“This is a character who is just trying to get by — stealing, outwitting, and conning folks,” narrative director Navid Khavari tells Kotaku “I would love for folks playing the game to really get a sense of what it might feel like to step into the underworld.”
The criminal underworld remains a surprisingly unexplored aspect of the Star Wars universe. Comics like Doctor Aphra and shows like Andor give us a small glimpse, but Outlaws dives headfirst into the idea. It seems Ubisoft is mixing its traditional open-world style, with a kind of factions system, similar to something you might find in a Bethesda game.
According to Kotaku’s interview, “players can use quests with each of the syndicates to manage Kay’s reputation, which will impact the jobs they offer and the impact they’ll have on throughout the story. Each player will have a different profile with each of the syndicates based on how they’ve interacted with them over the course of her journey.”
This idea might, hopefully, help make the underworld feel more fleshed out and galaxy-spanning, rather than focused on individual planets. That’s the core distinction between Outlaws and 1313. From what we know of 1313’s development, the game was meant to be laser-focused on Coruscant. But Outlaws looks like it wants to give players a vast universe, which is where Star Wars has always shined. The series has a rich tapestry of weirdo planets and aliens, and using those almost always pays off. Just look at the popularity of Jedi Survivor’s weird little guys, like Turgal and Skoova Stev.
In that way, Outlaws might finally be the game to deliver on the vision of 1313, and maybe we needed the technological advances of the last 10 years to really do that. 1313 would have landed in a time when dark and gritty stories were the rage, but Outlaws realizes what makes a good piece of Star Wars media tick.
That’s what makes Outlaws such an exciting prospect, it takes two criminally overlooked elements of Star Wars and fuses them. There’s gritty underworld storytelling mixed with a vibrant art style that leans into all the weird and wonderful that makes Star Wars pop. If Outlaws can successfully blend those two elements, it might end up being an all-timer and unlike anything else Star Wars has seen.