If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve probably been hearing a lot of chatter about EA’s upcoming Star Wars: Squadrons game. In fact, plenty of fans think it’s going to deliver authentic Star Wars excitement in a way that The Rise of Skywalker never could.
Why, though, is excitement so high for this game? Star Wars space combat is cool and all, but EA already offers plenty of it through Battlefront 2.
If you don’t understand the hype for this game, then “much to learn, you still have.” Fortunately, we stole EA’s secret plans so you could learn why Star Wars: Squadrons is the game-changer fans have been looking for.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Return of the Space Sim
For older gamers, Star Wars: Squadrons looks like something they haven’t seen in a long time. And for younger games, it may be something they have never seen. We’re talking, of course, about a genuine space sim!
There are plenty of modern games that let you fly spacecraft. These range from No Man’s Sky to EA’s own Battlefront 2. But all of these games are designed to play more like an arcade game. You can fly and you can shoot, and there’s not much to it beyond that.
However, the ’90s were full of genuine space simulations. Games like Wing Commander showed us how cool it could be to manage a complex space fighter. Later, X-Wing and TIE Fighter would elevate the space sim to an art form. Star Wars: Squadrons looks to continue that legacy.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Official Gameplay Trailer
There are a ton of Star Wars games out there. Some are good, like Knights of the Old Republic. And some are so bad we try to forget them (like the Masters of Teras Kasi fighting game on Playstation).
However, Star Wars gaming arguably never got better than 1994’s Star Wars: TIE Fighter. This was the space sim sequel to 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing, and it had a bit of everything. There were multiple story-driven campaigns that incorporated (and added to) Star Wars mythology, all wrapped in gameplay that made it feel like you were actually flying various crafts for the Empire.
While we only know so much about Star Wars: Squadrons, official gameplay trailer footage looks a lot like the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter titles. And in terms of gaming, that means Star Wars is definitely moving in the right direction.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Beyond Battlefront
As we said before, this isn’t EA’s first rodeo with Star Wars space combat. Such combat featured prominently in Battlefront 2’s Starfighter Assault mode.
However, Battlefront 2’s space combat suffered because the game was both too simplistic and too unfocused. As beautiful as it was, these space dogfights amounted to little more than “run and gun” arcade-style adventures wrapped around some iconic Star Wars settings.
On top of that, much of your time is spent gathering and using “Hero Points” that you could later redeem to take control of famous Star Wars pilots and their ships. While it’s cool to suddenly play as Darth Maul in space, it kind of detracts from the vibe that you’re a simple pilot trying to do your part for the war.
Fortunately, Star Wars: Squadrons looks to bring that vibe back in a big way.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Customize Your Ride
It doesn’t look like this game is going to feature the same Hero Points mechanic of Battlefront 2. That means no swapping points for a different ship mid-battle. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the same old ship from fight to fight!
Players will get a chance to upgrade their ride in a variety of ways. Some of these upgrades are just cosmetic and look to be the Star Wars equivalent of getting a new skin in Overwatch. Other upgrades affect the performance of things like engines, weapons, and shields.
There is usually a tradeoff with upgrades, though. For example, one set of shields may be better against missiles and another against lasers. Having to choose keeps your ship from getting overpowered while allowing you to customize things to your own play style.
Star Wars: Squadrons — A Real Campaign
Full disclosure: we don’t really know much about the campaign mode yet. However, it’s awesome that the game is giving us a campaign mode considering that the major focus is multiplayer dogfighting.
And if we’re being honest, the campaign for Battlefront 2 was one of the best parts of that game. It wasn’t a long campaign, but it had an engaging plot, some cool characters, and some really killer designs like the Inferno Squadron uniforms.
Long story short? If EA can throw us a fun campaign and awesome multiplayer at a modest price (Star Wars: Squadrons will retail for only $39.99), this looks like it will be one of this year’s biggest games.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Solid Multiplayer
Here’s a weird fact for you: we’ve had Star Wars space sims before. And we’ve had multiplayer Star Wars space combat before. But we’ve rarely had solid multiplayer and a solid space sim at the same time.
Back in 1997, the sequel to X-Wing and TIE Fighter was (what else?) Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. It promised better graphics, better audio, and online multiplayer for the first time in the history of its franchise.
However, the actual multiplayer was very buggy at launch. And the core game was multiplayer only. We didn’t get a proper campaign until the Balance of Power expansion seven months later. The result was that most players had a multiplayer-only game that didn’t play well outside of a LAN party.
The final game in the series, 1999’s X-Wing Alliance, brought us a proper mixture of complex space sim, fun campaign, and engaging multiplayer. But that game came out 21 years ago, so you can see why fans of it are hyped for Star Wars: Squadrons, which will feature 5-on-5 deathmatches as well as epic fleet battles!
Star Wars: Squadrons — No Microtransactions
EA is notorious for annoying microtransactions. In fact, the initial transaction system for Battlefront 2 was practically the “kiss of death” for that game. Eventually, EA had to overhaul the whole system so no actual gameplay features were locked in a damn loot box.
Because of that troubled history, EA has already announced that Star Wars: Squadrons will have no microtransactions. It seems that those various ship upgrades will be unlocked only through gameplay.
Star Wars: Squadrons — VR Space Combat
The final thing that has fans drooling for Star Wars: Squadrons is virtual reality. You will be able to play the entire game in VR on either PC or PlayStation VR.
You may be asking yourself whether the VR part will be any good or not. As it turns out, EA released a VR mission add-on to the original Battlefront game. Even in the relatively-limited PSVR, that mission was one of the most immersive Star Wars experiences in history.
If we’re about to get an entire game with that level of immersive VR quality, then Star Wars gaming will never be the same.
Star Wars: Squadrons — Release Date
Star Wars: Squadrons has a release date of October 2, 2020 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Are you looking forward to Star Wars: Squadrons? Tell us in the comments below!