You might shudder at the thought of one Star Wars: Outlaws planet being about the size of two Assassin’s Creed Odyssey zones, but you don’t have to worry about it being some bloated RPG you’ll never finish, the devs told IGN.
In a July 25 IGN interview conducted during San Diego Comic-Con, Outlaws creative director Julian Gerighty and narrative director Navid Khavari were asked about Ubisoft’s penchant for building gigantic open-world games. The question stemmed from a July Edge Magazine interview in which developer Massive Entertainment said the upcoming third-person action-adventure game featured planets that “might be [equivalent to] two of the zones in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.” We don’t yet know just how many planets the game will include, but there’s little doubt that Outlaws’ galaxy will be vast indeed.
Of course, that kind of scale isn’t inherently good or bad, and games can use vastness for all kinds of purposes, thematic and otherwise. But plenty of players have started growing exhausted with games whose huge maps are cluttered with icons, each indicating a different activity for you to complete or yet another enemy stronghold to conquer. Our own Zack Zwiezen, upon learning that Outlaws’ planets would be as big as entire Ubisoft games, wrote:
I already feel tired when trying to visualize these massive, Assassin’s-Creed-sized worlds. I really, really hope they aren’t covered in thousands of icons and symbols. I’d prefer some empty space, areas where you just travel through them and don’t stop and spend four hours checking off items from a never-ending list. One can hope, right?
Thankfully, Ubisoft seems keen on avoiding the bloat and clutter. “Our objective is to really get people into a very dense, rich adventure, open world adventure that they can explore at their own rhythm,” Gerighty told IGN. “So it is absolutely not a 200 or 300 hour epic unfinishable RPG. This is a very focused action-adventure RPG that will take people on a ride and is very manageable.”
Khavari echoed Gerighty’s sentiment, saying the team is building bustling cities with cantinas and open plains. But despite the worlds being relatively large—though not as large as recent Assassin’s Creed games—the team is approaching design from “a place of character,” keeping things focused on protagonist Kay Vess’ journey and foregrounding the narrative elements that shape her story. And while huge, Star Wars: Outlaws’ map won’t be packed with icons.
“I think our job is to make sure that the player organizes their experience according to their desires,” Khavari said. “That’s one of the big pluses with an open world game is the agency of the player. So if we do our job right, it’ll be so dense and so rich with different distractions that we won’t have to rely on so many UI indications for them.”
Kotaku reached out to Ubisoft for comment.
Billed as an open-world action-adventure game, Star Wars: Outlaws follows newly established scoundrel Kay Vess (and her weirdly hot droid companion ND-5) as they attempt to pull off the greatest heist the galaxy has ever seen. It’s slated to launch on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S sometime in 2024.