Star Wars Outlaws won't always allow for free-flying despite being open world, but that isn't a bad thing

Star Wars Outlaws: City scene.
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

What you need to know

  • Star Wars Outlaws is an upcoming single-player, open world game for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC.
  • Creative director Julian Gerighty has explained that the game focuses on full freedom of approach.
  • Despite this, we recently learned that this action-adventure doesn't allow for free-flying in space. 

Star Wars Outlaws was first revealed earlier this year during Ubisoft Forward 2023, but since then we've learned quite a bit about this upcoming action-adventure shooter set in a galaxy far far away. Despite being an open-world adventure focused on freedom of exploration, the game does have limits when it comes to flying above planets in space. But this is a good thing.

During an interview with Edge Magazine, the game's creative director, Julian Gerighty, explained that a big focus for the developers was making exploration feel under your control by "really focusing on what 'open world' means to the player, which is full freedom of approach" (thanks, GamesRadar). This is a big feat considering that Gerighty has previously explained that each explorable planet in Outlaws will be rather large.

Gerighty explained how the planet maps in Outlaws dwarf the size of the maps in Assassin's Creed Syndicate or Unity. Of course, the latest Assassin's Creed games like Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla have much larger maps than those two previously named games (thanks Kotaku). But that's still a lot of room to explore in.

“It’s a crude analogy, but the size of one planet might be [equivalent to] two of the zones in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. It could be two to three zones. But it’s not this sort of epic ‘the whole of England recreated’ approach.”

Despite all of the focus on exploration and freedom, Gerighty also explained in the interview that "flight controls will be restricted." Namely by the fact that players must choose a preset landing area on a planet rather than landing anywhere they want. Additionally, "flying (freely) above the planet was something [the studio] chose not to do, because it was going to take [the developers] a huge amount of effort for very little payoff" (thanks, GamesRadar). The focus on a "handcrafted" and "manageable" approach could give us the refined Star Wars game we've been hoping for. 

Windows Central's take

Star Wars Outlaws: Spaceship flying near moon.  (Image credit: Ubisoft)

It's easy to get affronted by the lack of free flying available in Star Wars Outlaws, especially considering that these are mechanics obviously available in other space exploration games like the popular No Man's Sky and the highly-anticipated Starfield. However, Outlaws is aiming to be a very different type of game from those procedurally generated ones and as such this kind of limited control is actually a good thing. 

While I'm very excited to get my hands on Starfield, its vastness feels daunting. I'm not sure if I will feel happy to lose myself in its depths or if I will just feel like I'm drowning with too many side quests and possibilities flowing in on all sides. I've been hit with open world fatigue on more than one occasion, so I prefer it when a game is decently long to keep me engaged, but not overly long as to wear me out.

Being more plot focused, Outlaws' intent is to allows players to experience the Star Wars scoundrel role while riding along in a story-driven vehicle. Providing too many options and freedoms can change the experience from one of controlled fun to an endless slog. I'd much rather explore a world filled with focused quests and important characters rather than an endless checklist of busywork, which unfortunately is what Ubisoft is known for. 

By having more controlled locations to visit and streamlined flying controls the game will feel slightly limited, but no more than Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which is also incredibly story focused and doesn't allow for any free flying at all. Creativity loves constraint and so I feel like I will be more happy to explore a fine-tuned world with some limits rather than a far too open world with dozens of insignificant discoveries.

Star Wars Outlaws is currently expected to launch sometime in 2024. It's coming to Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC via Ubisoft Connect. 

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).