Star Wars: Squadrons just got more/less exciting, depending on who’s reading this.
Star Wars: Squadrons developer Motive made some very specific decisions when designing the game. The biggest one is the perspective, which, as some players predicted, is always locked to first-person.
Outside of the spectator mode, players have no way of playing in third-person/chase cam. Creative director Ian Frazier confirmed this crucial detail in an interview with Gamespot, and explained why third-person is a no-go.
There’s obviously the balance side of the argument, as third-person offers far clearer information at a much lower risk compared to first-person. But there’s also the fact the interior of every starship is designed to be readable even without the need of fancy UI.
“The whole game is designed from the ground up to be first-person all the way through,” Frazier explained. “You are the pilot. All the diegetic information is built into the hud, so you could turn off all the game layer UI if you want and rely entirely on your instruments. We want that to be the core experience.”
The gameplay trailer shown at EA Play demonstrates that pretty well, highlighting how players will be able to track their ship’s status, power, shields and so on by just glancing at the in-cockpit gauges and screens.
That said, because the Rebellion and Empire ships are asymmetrical, locking everyone to first-person represents a different, major challenge.
X-Wings, for instance, have access to shields, and their cockpits have a wide field of view. By comparison, TIE Fighters don’t have shields, and their pilots can see much less from inside their cockpit.
“The answer then, in 1997 [X-Wing/TIE Fighter games], was you have a lot less stuff to deal with in an Imperial ship. And that is, in a sense, an advantage,” he pointed out.
“I’ve actually found that to be shockingly true in our game. The TIE Fighter doesn’t have shields – which, you don’t have shields, which is a downside, right? But that also means you don’t have to manage shields. It’s one less thing to manage, so there’s less head-space required for that… The counterbalance of what you’re losing is what you’re gaining in focus.”
Frazier also touched on the fact team and player loadouts will make a difference in each fight, so it won’t always necessarily come down to each starfighter’s inherent shortcomings or advantages.
This focus on semi-realistic gameplay explains why Motive was keen to support HOTAS and joysticks on PC.
EA has not announced any pre-release beta for Squadrons, so we’ll have to wait until October to see how it all shakes out. The game is out October 2 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.