A while back, word went around the Star Wars gaming community of an upcoming game known only as Project Maverick. Then the other day, someone at Xbox released a promotional image too early for a new game, Star Wars: Squadrons. Whether caused by this early release or not, today saw us get the first trailer for the game, as well as an announcement post on StarWars.com
Though it sounds like we’ll be getting more information in a few days at EA Play (including some in-game footage), I couldn’t wait to give my thoughts on the trailer and the information we’ve been given.
First off, the statement that I seem to say with every trailer: this looks incredible! It’s very much a cinematic teaser trailer, so we don’t learn much, but the teases are great and when we look at the information that has been released,we can start to put parts of the puzzle together. The graphics look incredible, with the shot of the Star Destroyer rising through the clouds a personal highlight, and I absolutely love the use of a variation on “The Asteroid Field” from The Empire Strikes Back in the music, it works so well in this trailer.
This appears to be teasing mainly the story mode, but looking at some of the information given abut the multiplayer modes, it sounds as if they match up relatively well with what we see in this trailer too. The appearance of a Starhawk (their first time onscreen) and the use of the term “New Republic” suggested that this would be set post-Return of the Jedi, which was later confirmed on the website’s announcement, but I think that the default appearances for the good guys being those of the Rebel Alliance means that this is probably soon after the Battle of Endor, leading to me thinking that we will see the Battle of Jakku as either the climax of a campaign against the Empire or as an early mission before we focus on any small Imperial holdouts (as suggested by the end of Lost Stars). It looks like the story will focus on a campaign between a New Republic Squadron and an elite Imperial Squadron (confirmed on the website as Vanguard Squadron and Titan Squadron respectively), while I imagine that the 2 pilots the trailer focused on will be the characters that we play as, though at this point it is unclear if the story mode will switch between the pair or if there is a separate story mode for each faction.
Now here is where I feel that I should admit my biggest issue with this story right now: it’s nothing new. This is the third canon game to be released with a story mode, and all 3 of them have been set during the time of the Empire, with 2 in the time following the Battle of Endor. Yes, I’m thrilled that it will be drawing in familiar figures – the trailer clearly shows Hera Syndulla and Wedge Antilles – but I’m at the point that I would love to see a story at some other point, such as during the Clone Wars or the Cold War. To add to this feeling even further, the battle between a New Republic squadron and an elite Imperial unit post-Endor is what we are already getting in the Alphabet Squadron Trilogy of books – Vanguard Squad was in fact one of the Squads sharing space on the Lodestar with Alphabet Squadron, so it will be interesting to see if Shadow Fall links into this at all. Granted, a lot more people will play the game than reads the books, but it just feels like the people at the top are just trying to think of the quickest and easiest story to make them money rather than thinking what will make the best experience.
It’s been revealed that each team will be able to fly 4 ships,which are all featured in the trailer: a fighter (X-wing, TIE Fighter), interceptor (A-wing, TIE Interceptor), bomber (Y-wing, TIE Bomber) and a troop carrier (U-wing, TIE Reaper). I would love for post-launch content to bring in more fighters like the B-Wing and the TIE Defender or the TIE/rb heavy starfighter, however I don’t think this will happen as the B-wing is the obvious ship for the New Republic but would be hard to do due to the body of the ship needing to be able to rotate around the cockpit. In multiplayer, it will be possible to make upgrades and cosmetic changes (the preorder bonus provides New Republic and Imperial Ace uniforms, ship paint designs and decals), though it is unclear just how much customisation will be possible in the story mode. I must admit, there is a bit of me that is very excited to be able to customise my own helmet and fighter’s appearance as a member of the New Republic.
One other thing the trailer makes sure to show us is the view inside the cockpit, which makes sense as the wording in the article heavily suggests that it will be a first-person experience, allowing PC and PS4 users the chance to take advantage of VR gameplay. Now I’m a little nervous already as when it comes to piloting, I’m more Pedrin Gaul than Luke Skywalker, so I usually prefer to be able to see my entire ship to make sure I’m not about to hit something. I’m sure though that I’ll be able to adapt to this given some time. The main focus of the game sounds like the 5v5 multiplayer, which I’ll admit does disappoint me as I would rather be able to play on my own or just my friends rather than having to play with/against a bunch of strangers, especially if they are all regular gamers and here’s me getting the odd couple of hours to play each month. But hey, that’s EA, so I shouldn’t expect anything different. I just hope the story is more than just a handful of missions as an afterthought, like with Star Wars Battlefront II, but I won’t hold out hope.
Final points of note, we have been promised no microtransactions, so don’t expect EA to care about this game for long. The one great piece of news though is the announcement of cross-play support, meaning that I will be able to play on my Xbox and join in with friends on Playstation 4. Hopefully this starts becoming the norm for games moving forward.
So how am I feeling right now? Cautiously optimistic. I’m pretty close to pre-ordering, but will just hang off to see the EA Play footage later this week, though I think it will need to be a disaster in order for me to not purchase this game. What do you guys think?
Thanks for reading. Red Five, standing by!