Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter are two of the most celebrated Star Wars games of all time. Putting the player in the cockpit of the titular spacecraft, they were fantastic space sims for the era, and still hold up decently well today. What I'm saying is that EA's set itself a high bar with Star Wars: Squadrons. Creating a spiritual successor to X-Wing and TIE Fighter is tough.
Initial details are promising though. EA's promising a full singleplayer story, seemingly spanning both the New Republic and Empire. There's also a 5-on-5 multiplayer mode, which is only slightly disappointing because Battlefront II allowed for 12-on-12 dogfighting. I'll hold judgment though until we've tried it. Maybe the lower player count doesn't matter.
Actually, the ill-fated EVE: Valkyrie was 5-on-5 also, and I have to admit that Squadrons looks a lot like Valkyrie with the Star Wars license. There's something about the pace of the action in this trailer, dodging through asteroid belts and between the struts on ships, that reminds me of Valkyrie's glory days.
And like Valkyrie, Star Wars: Squadrons is coming to virtual reality in addition to standard monitors. I have to imagine VR will be the best way to play, but there's even more reason to celebrate. Squadrons is the first major tentpole game from a publisher this size to come to VR—at least on PC. You could make an argument for Resident Evil VII I guess, but Square never ported that over.
Anyway, it looks cool. October 2 is the planned release date, but we'll see more of Squadrons before then. EA's contribution to Fake E3, EA Play Live, is set to run on June 18 at 4 p.m. Pacific, and EA is promising the premier of actual in-game footage during that event. I'm curious to see whether Squadrons is as complex as X-Wing and TIE Fighter, which were full-on space sims, or if they've gone the arcade dogfighting route. My gut tells me the latter, but hey, I'm trying to stay optimistic here.
Stay tuned for the answer (and more EA games) later this week.