Star Wars Outlaws being sandwiched between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is a stronger pull than the Force

Star Wars Outlaws
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

If I had to decide what side of the Star Wars universe I'd want to be a part of, I'm firmly in the scoundrels, bounty hunters, and roguish-types camp. Don't get me wrong, the Force has its own appeal, but I've always wanted to delve into the world of scum and villainy in a galaxy far, far away. I've always yearned to experience the events of the original trilogy from the perspective of someone who doesn't have power, that's not a hero; someone on the outskirts of society. Rather than the more defined sides of right and wrong with the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, give me the morally gray smugglers and crime syndicates that are out for their own. 

Following the release of a new Star Wars Outlaws trailer last week, I can't stop thinking about how it promises to bring this fantasy of mine to life. Not only does it once again signal that I'll be able to live out my very own scoundrel-shaped adventure, but it also highlights what I've personally concluded to be one of the biggest draws of the upcoming Ubisoft game: where it sits in the Star Wars timeline

A piece of the galaxy

Star Wars Outlaws

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Last year we got confirmation that Star Wars Outlaws is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, meaning it's sandwiched right between two of my favorite movies. And with every new reveal and update on the game, I just get more and more excited about the chance to explore this point in time. I mean, we're going to explore this particular era from an entirely new perspective that dials into a side of the Star Wars universe I've been dying to jump into? Yes please.

At this point, the Empire is said to be at the height of its power, and while that's bad news for the Rebel Alliance, it spells opportunity for others - and that opportunity is what we're about to try and seize as protagonist Kay Vess. In fact, syndicate boss Sliro describes this period as a "golden age for the underworld", and I can't wait to help Kay and her trusty companion make the most of it in order to "live free".

I've said in the past that I'm ready to not be a Jedi in Star Wars Outlaws, and if anything, the latest story trailer just reinforces my opinion. With another glimpse at some of the major criminal organizations of the underworld, it's established that Kay is vying for freedom after upsetting one of the major players in the Outer Rim. With a big job to pull off, the importance of reputation – which is set to be a core part of the open-world action-adventure – is once again highlighted. But it's the when and the where that really makes my sense of anticipation skyrocket, and that's all down to the visual signifiers. 

Star Wars Outlaws

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

The sight of Han Solo in carbonite, for example, sends my Star Wars-loving heart soaring, and yet another appearance of Jabba the Hutt – a figure I was strangely a huge fan of as a kid – is really making it sink in that we're about step slap-bang in middle of the events after Empire Strikes Back, before Return of the Jedi's Endor shenanigans kick off. "The Empire controls every corner of the galaxy", Sliro declares, "but it's distracted by a rebellion that won't quit". In the midst of a galactic civil war, it's the criminal opportunist's time to shine, and I can't wait to see how we can use that to our own advantage in the shoes of Kay. 

After all, the game's appeal doesn't just lie with the fact that Outlaws will pull me into an era and setting I adore in the world of Star Wars. It's also crucially about the manner in which it promises to do that. Instead of treading old ground and throwing us into scenarios we're familiar with, we're going to be able to dive head-first into an entirely different side of the universe as an up-and-coming thief fresh on the scoundrel scene. Happily, Kay won't have to go alone thanks to her sidekick and dual protagonist Nyx, and there's also mention of a crew, which immediately speaks my language. When you're trying to pull off a heist in a dangerous place like the Outer Rim, having help is surely integral to your survival. 

There's something so refreshing and equally exciting about the prospect of playing as someone in the Star Wars universe who's trying to find their feet. As associate narrative John Björling said in an interview with Game Informer, Outlaws presented the chance to bring to life a "relatable character, a rookie kind of taking their first steps into the galaxy, exploring the world, and really getting involved with the people and factions that make up the fabric of the galaxy." I can't wait to immerse myself in the setting in a new context and hopefully form a connection with Kay as a character throughout her personal journey. 

Star Wars Outlaws shows a lot of potential, and the more I see of it, the more hopeful I am that it will help me realize my roguish scoundrel fantasy in a universe I love. And the chance to do it while Han Solo is in carbonite and the fate of the Jedi hangs in the balance? Well, sign me up right now. 

Star Wars Outlaws isn't the only new adventure that will take us to a galaxy far, far away. See what else awaits us with our roundup of upcoming Star Wars games

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.