Monday, 15 June 2020

New STAR WARS dogfighting game announced

EA has announced a new Star Wars game focused on space combat, to launch this October. The new game is being touted as a spiritual successor to the X-Wing and Rogue Squadron series.

Star Wars: Squadrons is set just after the events of the original Star Wars trilogy and sees the player and up to four friends forming a special elite unit within either the Imperial Navy or the Rebel Alliance.  There is a single-player campaign, playable solo or in coop, as well as multiplayer modes built around the idea of 5v5 team dogfighting.

The X-Wing series consisted of four mainline titles: X-Wing (1993), TIE Fighter (1994), X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (1997) and X-Wing: Alliance (1999). These were predominantly single-player games (apart from the multiplayer-focused X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, although an expansion added a full campaign mode) with robust multiplayer. There is still an active modding and multiplayer scene for X-Wing: Alliance.

Predominantly released for PC, the X-Wing series prioritised a more realistic flight model and strategic player, with players able to shift power from one system to another, deal with combat damage and order AI wingmen to assist them.

The Rogue Squadron series consists of three titles: Rogue Squadron (1998), Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001) and Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (2003). The first game was released on PC and Nintendo 64, the latter two on the Nintendo GameCube. These games featured a much less sophisticated flight model and controls and were more aimed at arcade blasting, but were great fun for what they were. Rebel Strike notably added the ability to control ground units such as AT-STs.

It's unclear if Squadrons is leaning more towards the X-Wing or Rogue Squadron end of the spectrum, but at one point the damaged X-wing shunts power to its engines to evade an enemy, suggesting that mechanic will be present in the new game. The game will also please fans, featuring as it does appearances by fan-favourite characters Wedge Antilles (from the original trilogy movies) and Hera Syndulla (from Star Wars: Rebels).

Star Wars: Squadrons will launch on 2 October on PC, X-Box One and PlayStation 4. The game will not feature microtransactions and will have crossplay enabled, allowing players on all three formats to mingle. The game will also be fully compatible with all PC and PS4 virtual reality headsets.

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