We all sort of figured EA and Star Wars was a tattered relationship, a done deal that was hanging on by its final threads. But the dumpster fire has slowly been dying down, and out of those smelly ashes, positivity began to emerge. From Jedi: Fallen Order to the current state of Battlefront II, Star Wars fans have slowly been coming to enjoy EA Star Wars games. Now a new one has been revealed, Star Wars Squadrons. It’s a new take on a classic concept, and the best part is that Squadrons is just Squadrons. It isn’t a live service game, it has a campaign, and it’s even being offered at a budget price.
Star Wars Squadrons will be released for a cool 40 bucks, which is just wild considering this is a big, AAA EA-published Star Wars game. The messaging out of the gate has been the game, despite all its unlockable customization options, will have zero microtransactions. This is a video game in the most traditional sense, in that everything is unlockable through gameplay, and only through gameplay. The grind for new stuff will be based on the game’s internal balance, not dictated by the need to tempt players to reopen their wallets.
The genre here is also classic Star Wars fare, and something the fans have been wanting since the Nintendo Gamecube. As much as Star Wars games are popular because of things like laser guns and lightsabers, the ships and space battles also have a strong history in video game adaptations. Games like X-Wing and Tie Fighter were old PC classics, and of course the Rogue Squadron series was known as a Nintendo Gamecube must-have series. Star Wars Squadrons is channeling that energy, something we’ve only really dipped into with the space combat portions of Battlefield.
This is also a notable game because like the Battlefront II campaign before it, EA Motive’s team of writers is once again adding to Star Wars lore. This time, the Star Wars Squadron campaign will feature two characters, each on either side of the post-Return of the Jedi battlefield. Motive has had a strong stable of writing talent since it debuted, and really only got to take a small swing with Battlefield II. It suffered from its constraints, but you could tell the juice was there. Now this project, which seems much more focused on being a complete and appealing package, will give Motive’s team another big shot.
It’s weird to praise EA for promising a “normal” video game. That’s easy enough to admit, especially after nearly a decade of Star Wars video game drama. It’s also weird that “traditional” can roughly be translated to “not full of controversial features and microtransactions. That’s where we are right now. But we’re also in a transitional period in games, in which the real estate for service games has reached its limit, and only some games can really hang. EA got the brunt of that lesson, and Star Wars Squadrons appears to be a new experiment to see what works in the other direction. If the news stays good and the fans stay happy, and Squadrons is a good game of course, this could be a great moment for everyone involved.