Star Wars Outlaws’ maps won’t initially be blanketed in Ubisoft’s infamous map icons because your character Kay ‘hasn’t seen the galaxy’ and ‘doesn’t know everything’ yet

When we got our hands on Star Wars Outlaws last month, our first impression was that it’s playing things too safe. We didn’t get to see its open world, but we did notice a lot of mechanics borrowed from other Ubisoft games, from Watch Dogs to Assassin’s Creed. Now in an interview with IGN, Outlaws’ developer Massive Entertainment has gone into more detail about how it’s approaching open world Star Wars—with at least one encouraging change from the well-worn Ubisoft playbook.

The much-memed-on icon spam of Ubisoft maps, showing collectibles and side activities galore, won’t be there when you first start the game, crash landing on the inhabited moon of Toshara.

“Kay hasn’t seen the galaxy, she doesn’t know everything,” director Mathias Karlson told IGN. “The first time you come to Toshara you’ll have a map where you can see mountains over there and stuff, but discovery is what gives you more information.”

The map will be covered in a fog of war that you can clear by exploring, but also by hunting around for information, like eavesdropping on conversations at the local cantina. It seems inevitable that the maps of Outlaws’ planets will end up covered in points of interest as you progress, but that’s not inherently a bad thing—Ubisoft’s maps only became a punching bag after they reused the approach in too many games. The icon-heavy maps conveyed a lack of confidence in players being able to discover interesting things in the world by themselves and created a feeling of sameyness between games that was hard to shake.

It’s hard to say if Outlaws will end up falling into that same trap, but I at least like the sound of how Massive is approaching scale. “One of our intentions for the beginning of the game was to make it feel very small and then bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger… You start off in one room and it’s claustrophobic and it’s meant to make you feel a little bit trapped,” creative director Julian Gerighty told IGN. “You open up and it’s city streets, but it’s contained. And then you get into some narrative stuff and you steal a ship and you explode into the galaxy and all of a sudden you crash land on this planet, which is a wide open world.”

The end-goal of that progression is the give players the “sense of everything growing for you and not just the scale of the galaxy, but the scale of the possibilities for you as a character.” I just hope that feels like a proper game-long progression and not a glorified tutorial; as a nobody outlaw, it feels like it should take Kay quite a while to work up to the gear and knowledge necessary to know where every bantha herd is on Tatooine or where to find rancor droppings or whatever crafting materials we inevitably end up on the hunt for. Check out IGN’s full interview for more. 

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