How Star Wars Outlaws could break Ubisoft’s AAA curse

How Star Wars Outlaws could break Ubisoft’s AAA curse
Images via Ubisoft

Written by 

Joseph Kime


10th Apr 2024 17:30

Faith in Ubisoft is low. Like, really low. We've been lucky to glimpse into a promising future with the release of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, a remarkable Metroidvania title that clutches charm from the jaws of low sales in what many are considering the game of the year (so far).

Sadly, it hasn't done much to shake Ubisoft's reputation in the AAA department. The entire quadruple-A game fiasco with Skull & Bones only accentuated its issues, and as players expressed a collective apathy for Far Cry 6 and the achingly similar gameplay of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, it's led to palpable frustration.

Ubisoft has had a hard time proving it's worthy of players' trust with some mighty properties, and as it takes on one of the planet's biggest IPs, it seems that its time is running out to make the case. Can Ubisoft pull trust back into the public consciousness, or is its step into the galaxy far, far away too little, too late?

Star Wars Outlaws has Ubisoft to contend with

The story trailer for Star Wars Outlaws debuted on April 9, along with the announcement of the game’s release date. The reaction has been lukewarm so far, with players excited to see an open-world adventure game set in the seemingly endless universe of Star Wars. The game's key problem is, unfortunately, the Ubisoft of it all.

The company's recent track record with AAA titles has been disappointing, jumping to the highest cost bracket as soon as feasibly possible with Skull & Bones while doubling down on the chance to sell players extra in-game currencies. Even when moving away from the live service the company so loves, games like Far Cry 6 have underdelivered and overcharged, with DLCs coming out the wazoo to "complete" the game’s content.

With Star Wars Outlaws' two upcoming DLCs revealed before it's even released, it seems that the approach to the game’s content has prepared to charge more than is typical on entry from the start.

The cards seem stacked against Outlaws, but the fascinating thing about this is that there are two beasts waging war to determine the outcome of the game itself - the Ubisoft of it all and the Star Wars of it all. And though it might seem silly to say, it's the latter that could bring the game itself around.

Star Wars Outlaws' story could dig the game out of a hole

Kay Vess fires her blaster at a probe droid in Star Wars Outlaws.
Click to enlarge

There are few IPs with the limitlessness of narratives that Star Wars has. We've recently seen that the series is willing to take steps into uncharted waters with Disney+'s Andor practically serving as a political thriller.

Jedi: Survivor and the upcoming The Acolyte series have also gradually lowered us into the High Republic era. It's clear that even though the mainline films have so far remained dedicated to the lives of a select few Jedi and rogues, the galaxy is widening by the day.

Star Wars Outlaws appears to zero in on the galaxy's criminal underworld, like early instances of The Mandalorian. On that basis alone, we could find ourselves in an entirely new ballpark of storytelling for Ubisoft.

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Connections to the core trilogy are here in the shape of Han Solo baked in carbonite and Jabba the Hutt, but for the most part, this seems like a free and unshackled story told during the reign of the Empire. That gets even better when you realise it's from the perspective of a petty criminal.

If we presume that the Star Wars Outlaws gameplay and experience remains the same as its predecessors in Ubisoft's arsenal, then at least there's something waiting for us - a brand-new Star Wars story brought to life in the interactive medium, which many fans will take any day of the week.

To explore the criminal underbelly of Star Wars Outlaws is its biggest draw, and though it may not be perfect in the process, it'll hopefully help us forget about Ubisoft's now-signature quadruple-A price point too.

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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