Star Wars Outlaws is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and the developers are going all out to make sure the game fits not just the fictional era, but the actual age in which those movies are made - and it sounds like they're taking the same approach that BioWare did with the original Mass Effect.
"Our game is set between Empire and Jedi, so we wanted to emulate that feel," creative director Julian Gerighty said in the latest issue of Edge Magazine. Gerighty said the team at Massive has been building tech that "emulates some of the lenses of the '70s. So you have the vignetting, film grain, lens breathing, the curvature of a thicker lens, the slight lens flares - all of these things that are very subtle, but come together to give you a more cinematic experience."
If you want an example of how that might look in practice, just take a look at Mass Effect. While BioWare's sci-fi RPG wasn't directly based on on an existing film franchise, the studio did try to replicate the look and feel of old-school science fiction with some intense film grain and other effects. I was always a huge fan of these effects, since it gave Mass Effect a much more coherent visual identity than many other games of its era.
Of course, stuff like film grain and vignetting has always been controversial among gamers, and the eventual disappearance of these features in later Mass Effect games was probably inevitable. It's safe to expect that Star Wars Outlaws will be a bit more subtle with these effects, and I'd be shocked if they're not optional. But I'm very glad that they'll be there for sickos like me who revel in lo-fi aesthetics.
Gerighty also suggested that Outlaws' adorable animal companion Nix is influenced by the puppeteered critters of old-school Star Wars, saying that "there are so many practical effects in those movies that are phenomenal."