'Star Wars: Squadrons' Is Here!

Image Credit: EA, Lucasfilm

The Star Wars: Squadrons game has finally taken flight! The game is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and fully playable in virtual reality. This is the first Star Wars flight simulator game released in several years.

Other merchandise, including T-Shirts and swag, have also been released alongside the game. These shirts feature designs by the J!NX Creative Team in cooperation with Lucasfilm. You can check out the full line on Jinx.com. There are also a few exclusive shirts available at Hot Topic. The soundtrack with award-winning composer Gordy Haab's 26 original musical cues was also released on Friday.

As previously reported on Culture Slate, EA's Motive Studios developed the game and original story. It takes place just after the events of the movie Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Players take part in missions during the dying days of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the New Republic.

A player can create a pilot character who flies for either the Empire or the New Republic. They can take part in first-person, 5v5 multiplayer skirmishes, and fleet engagements. Pilots may choose a ship from fighter, interceptor, bomber, or support classes from either side.

The game came about while the EA team was working on another Star Wars game. Ian Frazier, creative director at Motive Studios, had this to say in a June interview with StarWars.com:

"Back when the team was working on the single-player campaign for Star Wars Battlefront II, they were having a great time with the space missions in particular, and it sparked an idea. Three of the devs — James Clement, Pat Lalonde, and Steve Masters — waxed nostalgic about the fun times they had in the late '90s playing other flight combat games, and formed an early pitch that essentially asked the question, 'What would a modern-day Star Wars game focused entirely on the pilot experience look like?' As a huge fan of the classic Star Wars flight games myself, I was very excited to help answer that question."

The team then prototyped a 5v5 dogfight. With it, the creative team won the full support of Lucasfilm's Games division to bring the project to life. Games like Rogue Squadron, X-Wing, and TIE Fighter are some of the most loved amongst fans. The team wanted to capture the spirit of the flight games of the 1990s.

Orion Kellogg, the senior producer at Lucasfilm Games, knows us Star Wars fans well. We dreamt of being Star Wars pilots. To that end, we spent countless hours perfecting our skills on those older games. Kellogg commented:

"So many millions of Star Wars fans have dreamt of being the hotshot pilot that gets to take the one-in-a-million shot. But that shot only lands with careful planning, great skill, and an experienced team by your side. In Motive, we have all of those ingredients. It was easy to rally behind the dream of fine-tuned Star Wars dogfighting, and it has been thrilling to see the dream become reality."

Kellogg acknowledges the heritage and inspiration that the older games provided for the creative direction of this latest incarnation. "We're so inspired by all of the Star Wars stories and, naturally, the games that have come before us. They've led to us taking this shot, and we'll give it everything we've got." The goal was to create a fresh take on those '90s games with all of the advantages modern technologies provide. Do they deliver? 


Instead of playing it myself, I watched a colleague play Squadrons for a few hours via Culture Slate's Twitch stream on Friday. There were a few things we did not like about it, but there was a lot to like about it. The look of the game could be improved. Overall, the missions seemed fun. The battles were intense, even from the sidelines!

I instantly wondered what the game would feel like in virtual reality. The gameplay reminded me of more fun versions, earlier VR space flight simulators I played on Oculus. EA does give some guidance for VR. They recommend PlayStation VR or Oculus Rift S for the best virtual reality experience.

I do recommend giving this game a try if you are able to play. I do not get to do so as much as I would like these days. Decades of playing musical instruments, arcade and console games, and IT development work have left me with some pretty messed up wrists and hands. Whatever your platform choice, do let us know how it goes. Good luck, pilots. Your Empire or New Republic needs you.

Image Credit: Lucasfilm, EA


Source(s): starwars.com