Star Wars: Squadrons creators reveal how they selected the game’s time period

Gameplay screenshot from Star Wars: Squadrons (2020). Photo courtesy of Motive Studios, Lucasfilm/Electronic Arts.
Gameplay screenshot from Star Wars: Squadrons (2020). Photo courtesy of Motive Studios, Lucasfilm/Electronic Arts. /

Here’s why the creators of Star Wars: Squadrons say the time period of the game is so pivotal to the action.

A new Star Wars game is on the horizon, Star Wars: Squadrons, which is set to come out on Oct. 2. And like anything in the Star Wars canon, you know that the time period is of the utmost importance. Are we talking Empire days? First Order? Even the High Republic era?

All that is so important when telling your Star Wars story. And for the movies, that’s typically a no-brainer. “I want to tell the story of how the First Order was brought down.” “I want to tell the story of how the plans for the Death Star were stolen.” With anyone of those stories, the ability to pinpoint a time period is just a given. But with storytelling in Star Wars: Squadrons, that’s not so much the case.

The creators for this video game started with an idea: they wanted it to be all about pilots in Star Wars with an emphasis on the cool level of gameplay that comes with flying ships. Well, that can be done in virtually any period stretching from the prequels to after the sequels. But what did it take to get it just right? The creators for Star Wars: Squadrons revealed their thinking in an interview with The Washington Post that was published today.

According to Steve Blank, director of franchise content and strategy at Lucasfilm, it was fun to play around with the idea of finding the right timeline. He said in the interview:

"We know what our bounding boxes are specifically when it comes to what the gameplay needs to be. Now how do we craft a story? How do we find that point in the timeline, and how do we build characters that feel emotionally compelling? It’s a lot of fun back and forth, at least back when we all used to be able to travel."

Eventually, as we know now, they chose to focus on the period just after the fall of the Empire. And more so, how the Empire continued to have a silent (and sometimes not-so-silent) presence in the galaxy without the rule of the Emperor to guide them. We’ve seen this, for example, in The Mandalorian, in which stormtroopers still roam and guard certain areas — showing just how hard it is to completely dismantle a galaxy-wide regime.

Speaking on that idea, creative director Ian Frazier revealed in the interview:

"We pretty quickly identified that we could get some really interesting dynamics between what’s left of the Empire and the burgeoning New Republic. But we were also looking into a period where we have a very wide selection of the ships everyone loves. In a game about ships, that was a great setting."

So, this should certainly make for an interesting game — especially since we get to explore both sides of the fight. Yes, they could have gone the “Resistance vs. First Order” way. But nothing really beats the original trilogy’s setup with the Rebels vs. the Empire. The ships are so iconic on both sides (the outfits and uniforms too) — and, after all, it’s what spawned most fans’ love of wanting to be a galactic space pilot, speeding through the stars and trying their luck at in-space combat.

Squadrons also offers a VR mode. So just like Vader Immortal, you’ll really have the chance to be living the Star Wars dream (in a virtual way).

light. Related Story. Squadrons leak shows a familiar Imperial character

Star Wars: Squadrons will be out on most major gaming platforms on Oct. 2.