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Star Wars Outlaws Will Be All About That Criminal Life

Massive Entertainment’s Star Wars Outlaws puts players in the boots of Kay Vess, a young crook trying to make a name for herself in the galaxy’s criminal underworld in the gap between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Doing that means pulling off some small jobs to psych youself up for the Big Job, and intersecting with plenty of shady factions—and hightailing it away from other groups who want Kay dead or captured.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, creative director Julian Gerighty dove into the studio’s efforts to make players feel like a real up-and-coming criminal in the Star Wars universe. On the narrative end, the team created Kay by looking to the “great scoundrels of cinema” for inspiration as she works her way up the chain. Like the young versions of Han and Lando we see in Solo, she’s “learning the ropes,” said Gerighty, and what swagger she does have “comes from a place of taking the risk. [Kay] isn’t a fully developed scoundrel, she’s faking it until she makes it.”

Han is going to be the most immediate comparison point for Kay, something her actor Humberly González recognized. The Ginny & Georgia star admitted to looking towards Han for inspiration, and that Kay holds him in similar regard. In a trailer from this past April, Kay comes across Han as he’s frozen in carbonite within Jabba’s palace. González likened that moment to a passing of the baton, from one thief to another: “It’s almost like destiny. […] You get to be this hero now and find peace, find your way in this world, in this war that she wants nothing to do with. She just wants to be free.”

Gameplay-wise, Outlaws intends to live up to its title with a reputation systemm covering the four factions Kay forms connections with during the story. Each city in the game will be held by either the Hutts, Pyke Cartel, Ashiga Clan (made specifically for the game), the Crimson Dawn (previously run by Darth Maul, now Qi’ra from Solo). Taking a job from one faction means you’ll eventually get faction-specific ewards (like guns or new locations) if you stick with them, but it comes at the cost of lowering your reputation with the others. Eventually, those other groups may just put a bounty on you if you fall far enough out of favor.

And if they don’t come after you, the Empire will. Like in so many open-world games (think GTA or Saints Row), the game has a six-tier wanted level that raises the more trouble you cause. “If you start being seen doing crimes, that will start getting them to chase you,” explained Gerighty. “If you take some of them out, then it gets worse and worse, where they’ll send, at the ultimate level, Death Troopers — and maybe even worse.”

Amidst all this crime, Gerighty and González said the game would maintain an adventurous tone similar to the original Star Wars movies or Indiana Jones and Flash Gordon. Like the best heist movies, the game’s intended to be fun and flightly, but no less thrilling when it’s time to do some crime. “Finding your way through the game — who you choose to make friends with, who you choose to betray — you have control,” said González. “ It’s an adventure. So lean into the adventure.”

Star Wars Outlaws releases on August 30 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. A new trailer for the game will air during the Ubisoft Forward stream on Monday, June 10. The rest of Entertainment Weekly’s interview also covers space combat, the Ashiga Clan, and Kay’s droid bud ND-5, and can be read here.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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