Why is Star Wars Outlaws the first true open-world Star Wars game? Lucasfilm says "there are only so many studios in the world who build games of this scale"

Star Wars Outlaws gameplay screenshot
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft has been calling Star Wars Outlaws the very first open-world Star Wars game since its reveal, and it's true that no previous game in the franchise has quite scratched that open-world itch. According to Lucasfilm, that's in part due to the fact that there's only a small number of studios capable of making it happen.

"I think it's taken this long to get an open-world Star Wars game because of how, excuse the pun, massive it is to build a game like this," Lucasfilm's director of franchise content and strategy, Steve Blank, tells IGN. "There are only so many studios in the world who build games of this scale. The door is then open for Massive to come to us and say, this is what we're interested in doing, this is the type of game design and gameplay we want. This is what we're thinking about in terms of an archetype."

As creative director Julian Gerighty explains, Massive initially pitched "two main pillars for the game" - an outlaw fantasy in an open world. "Why open world? Because the outlaw fantasy really needs that to live and breathe." Gerighty also says that "in general, making games is really tough. Making open-world games is really, really tough. And making Star Wars open-world games is the next level of difficulty."

Of course, maybe it's more appropriate to call Star Wars Outlaws an 'open worlds' game, since it takes place across multiple planets. You can zip across many of them on a speeder in about "4 or 5 minutes," comparable to three Assassin's Creed Odyssey zones stitched together. You also don't level up in Outlaws like most Ubisoft RPGs, instead unlocking skills and gear upgrades by meeting characters and completing quests.

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Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.