After confirming that a leak on the Xbox website was legitimate last week, Electronic Arts has officially announced Star Wars: Squadrons. Described as an “immersive, first-person space dogfighting experience,” Squadrons is scheduled to release on October 2 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC for $40. The game will also be playable in virtual reality on PS4 and PC, though EA did not specify which headsets will be supported beyond PSVR, nor did it say if it will come to PS5 and Xbox Series X.
While EA is officially announcing the game today, the company is holding back the first gameplay footage until EA Play 2020 on June 18. Squadrons is developed by Motive Studios in association with Lucasfilm, and it will feature a dedicated single-player mode, and multiple multiplayer modes with no microtransactions.
“We created this game for every Star Wars fan who has ever dreamt about soaring across the galaxy in their favorite starfighter,” Motive Studios creative director Ian Frazier said in a statement.
In multiplayer, you play as a starfighter pilot who will control a number of the “iconic” New Republic and Imperial ships. Together with four others in your squad, you’ll take part in “strategic” multiplayer space battles. The end goal in the Fleet Battles mode is to take out the other team’s flagship. Another mode, Dogfights, challenges players to work together to take down as many enemy ships as possible.
Squadrons will feature “rich” cosmetic and game-affecting customization options. Players will earn these cosmetics through gameplay exclusively, EA said. That’s an important distinction to make, in part because Star Wars: Battlefront II was heavily criticised for its microtransactions.
Players will unlock new weapons, hulls, engines, and shields as they rank up. The cosmetic items, meanwhile, can be applied to your cockpit and ship exterior, while you can also change the look of your fighter pilot. Squadrons will take players to “never-before-seen” parts of the Star Wars galaxy, including Yavin Prime and Galitan.
Squadrons features cross-play between PS4, Xbox One, PC, and VR, so you can play with friends no matter what platform they are on. It marks another cross-play game for EA, following the recent addition of the feature to Need for Speed Heat.
In terms of the single-player story, it’s set after the events of Return of the Jedi, during the final days of the Empire and the beginning of the New Republic. The game tells an “original” story, but the press release announcing the game did not say if it is officially canon.
More specifically, Squadrons takes place after the Battle of Endor when the Rebels destroyed the Death Star II. The story is told from multiple perspectives. In some missions, you’ll play as a pilot who flies in the New Republic’s Vanguard squadron; the other is a pilot for the Empire’s Titan squadron. Both are customizable.
In total, EA is promising an “authentic story” that features a “diverse cast of original characters.” There will also be cameo appearances from “familiar faces,” and based on the trailer, those include Wedge Antilles and Hera Syndulla.
Pre-orders for Star Wars: Squadrons are available now. Squadrons is not a full-price game; it will cost $40 USD. EA and Origin Access subscribers can play the game for 10 hours at launch for free, after which they can buy the full game for 10 percent off. Origin Access Premiere subscribers, meanwhile, will get the full Squadrons game at no extra cost. You can also pre-order on the Xbox and PlayStation digital storefronts, Steam, the Epic Games Store, and major retailers starting today.
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