EA’s Motive Studios have released new details in a detailed overview of the Star Wars Squadrons’ Star Fighters, the systems on which they are based and the efforts of the development team to create a comprehensive pilot experience.
Aspiring pilots can look forward to commanding no fewer than eight ships, each with unique abilities, handling and functions. Here are the eight Star Wars that are available in Star Wars Squadrons:
- T-65B X-Wing Starfighter
- BTL-A4 Y-Wing Assault Starfighter / Bomber
- RZ-1 A-wing interceptor
- UT-60D U-Wing Starfighter / support boat
- TIE / ln Starfighter (“TIE Fighter”)
- TIE / sa Bomber (“TIE Bomber”)
- TIE / in Interceptor (“TIE Interceptor”)
- TIE / RP Reaper Attack Landers (“TIE Reaper”)
These eight ships fall into one of four starfighter classes: fighters, bombers, interceptors and support ships.
Fighters are relatively agile, rounded and adaptable dog fighting ships. They are an all-rounder variant, although they don’t shine in any particular area. As the name suggests, bombers are ideal for bombing raids, and although slow, they can do enormous amounts of damage and withstand them well. They are ideal for destabilizing large ships, but can also assert themselves in air combat if necessary. The ships of the Interceptor class are by definition dog fighting ships. Quick and deadly, but fragile, these “glass cannons” can do enormous damage, but are also very susceptible to enemy fire. Finally, support-class ships play a supporting role by restoring and repairing the other starfighter classes. An arsenal of tractor beams, mines and deployable towers also makes the support class ships crucial to turning the tide in battle.
Although each of the ships plays differently, they have some core similarities that should make jumping from one to the other relatively easy. They all have primary weapons, countermeasures, hull equipment, engines, two auxiliary abilities and share the same basic controls.
Star Wars Squadrons is based on the classic X-Wing and TIE Fighter games of the 90s and has an energy management system with which the player can redirect the force to certain subsystems to increase efficiency and special abilities such as speed increases, additional damage and more durable shields.
For example, redirecting power to the motor enables a higher top speed, while redirecting to lasers means that they charge faster and can cause additional damage if overloaded. The same applies to shields, in addition to being able to concentrate them either on the front or back of a hunter, ideal for defeating a powerful enemy ship head-on. For ships that don’t have shields, the energy can be quickly diverted from one system to another to get out of a difficult situation. The prioritization of one system over the other naturally also has disadvantages. Maximum lasers and the ship moves slower and vice versa.
It remains to be seen how the power management system behaves in the heat of a dogfight, but it certainly adds a new dimension that purists will surely like.
Motive spoke of delightful fans and also explained that it made the star fighters. In a “love work”, the studio recreated cockpits based on the original trilogy, taking a similar approach to Industrial Light and Magic, the company that is responsible for the implementation of the props in the films.
As Creative Director, Ian Frazier explains:
“This means that if we want to communicate the state of charge of your lasers in an X-Wing, we design the cockpit instruments as if we were Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) that built the prop in the 1970s. We don’t say “put a red light there”, but “If you had to physically build this with the parts of ILM, how would it be built?” Is that a light bulb? An LED? How would it be integrated into the dashboard and how would its light interact with everything around it? We make sure that the screens are CRTs with appropriately curved monitors, etc.
We also try to look at it from a purely fictional point of view by pretending to be an Incom or Sienar Fleet Systems employee, and then we ask, “How would we build it?”
It was a lot of fun because it meant working with the Lucasfilm team, animators, and mocap actors to find an approach that fits what we saw in the films, but is believable like a real one Pilot that would have to operate controls to perform complex maneuvers. (Editor’s note: We actually built cockpits for our actors when we did motion capture!) “
For players looking for a little more immersion, Squadrons offers an “Instrument Only” that clears the HUD and the In-World UI element from the screen. The player must then rely on the cockpit instruments to control his star warriors.
For more details on the above points, the full breakdown is worth reading. You can check it out here.