Star Wars: Squadrons is exclusively a first-person game, for better immersion and one consistent player experience.
If you watched the Star Wars: Squadrons gameplay trailer from EA Play Live, you probably noticed that all the footage of actual gameplay takes place from the pilot's perspective: staring down the instruments and cockpit window of their vehicle of choice. In an interview with GameSpot, Star Wars: Squadrons' creative director Ian Frazier explained more about making that design choice.
"The whole game is designed from the ground up to be first-person all the way through," Frazier said. "Now if you're in spectator mode, you're observing, there's a third-person perspective there. 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."
This puts Star Wars: Squadrons in closer alignment with the flight-sim inspired X-Wing vs TIE Fighter series than the arcadey Rogue Squadron series, which defaulted to a third-person view. If there was a third-person option, players who picked that would immediately have an advantage in situational awareness.
Frazier said the Squadrons team also looked back to X-Wing vs TIE Fighter for guidance on how to make combat between the two types of vehicles feel evenly matched, despite their technical differences.
"The answer then, in 1997, was you have a lot less stuff to deal with in an Imperial ship. And that is, in a sense, an advantage. I've actually found that to be shockingly true in our game," Frazier said. "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."