While EA's track record with Star Wars games is spotty given the use of microtransactions in Battlefront II, its next Star Wars game looks promising for fans of starfighters. EA Motive, the studio behind the excellent Star Wars: Battlefront II story campaign, revealed Star Wars: Squadrons for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on Monday, and it looks like it might be the best dogfighting simulator to ever focus on the Star Wars galaxy.
Monday's reveal trailer also confirms when the game will be set, and based on what we know, it could lead to some crossover with Battlefront II and, even better, The Mandalorian.
The cinematic reveal trailer released by EA released on June 15 doesn't feature any gameplay, instead focusing on some of the characters, ships, and conflicts that helped shape this period of galactic history. Star Wars: Squadrons is a return to the space dogfighting combat that made games like Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and the Starfighter Assault modes in the Battlefront games so appealing. The Star Wars: Squadrons story is a personal one that follows an Imperial and New Republic crew during the conclusion of the Galactic Civil War.
For those itching to see more, EA promised a more extended look at gameplay during EA Play, which begins at 7 p.m. Eastern on June 18, 2020. But for now, there's already plenty we can glean about the game.
Star Wars: Squadrons will only cost $39.99 at launch and it will have VR support on PC and PS4. It will also feature crossplay between all platforms.
The reveal trailer description confirms several aspects of gameplay even if gameplay wasn't shown at all. It'll include "strategic first-person 5v5 multiplayer dogfights" with various recognizable starfighters from the franchise like X-wings, A-wings, Y-wings, and TIE Fighters. In the middle of battles, players will have the ability to do things like divert power to different ship systems to optimize performance, so it already sounds more involved than any Star Wars flight simulator that's come before it — and more in-line with how the movies present dogfights.
"Star Wars: Squadrons is a fully self-contained experience from day one, where you earn rewards through play," EA also promised, which makes it sound that the company doesn't want to repeat the backlash that came in response to Star Wars: Battlefront II's microtransactions. "Climb the ranks and unlock new components like weapons, hulls, engines, shields, and cosmetic items in a clear path for progression that keeps gameplay fresh and engaging."
One thing that the trailer made very clear is the time period in the Star Wars universe in which it takes place.
When exactly does Star Wars: Squadrons take place?
If the uniforms of the main character in the logo didn't tip you off, this game takes place close to the events of the original trilogy. Specifically, Star Wars: Squadrons' campaign takes place after Return of the Jedi when the Empire has begun to fall apart and the New Republic is still forming. In the unofficial Star Wars calendar, that means these events should happen between 4 and 5 years After the Battle of Yavin (or 4-5 ABY).
"Star Wars: Squadrons will also feature a single-player story that brings to life events following the Battle of Endor when the Rebel Alliance has successfully destroyed the Death Star II," the press release for the game reveals. Both Star Wars: Battlefront II's campaign and The Mandalorian explore this exact time period in between the original and new trilogies, and this specific premise offers an intriguing look at both sides of the ongoing war.
"Through the story, players will learn what it means to be a pilot as they battle from the alternating perspectives of two customizable pilots, one serving in the New Republic’s heroic Vanguard Squadron, while the other fights for the Galactic Empire’s fearsome Titan Squadron," the press release reads. "The authentic story features a diverse cast of original characters, as well as some cameos from familiar faces in the Star Wars galaxy."
Rebel Pilot Wedge Antilles appears briefly in the trailer, as does pilot Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels, so it's clear that the game won't shy away from cameos and Easter eggs connecting Squadrons to the rest of the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Squadrons will be released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 2, 2020.