From what we’ve seen so far, Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft’s Star Wars Outlaws is shaping up to be a true delight for fans of A Galaxy Far, Far Away and an exciting open-world adventure for PS5 and Xbox players. It’s without a doubt my most-anticipated game of 2024, should it stick to that release window, of course. However, if there’s one thing I want to see, it’s a certain feature from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series that I think is the perfect fit for the story Outlaws is trying to tell.
Even if you’re a fan of the films, Star Wars Outlaws really could end up being quite a confusing experience – especially when it comes to working out where protagonist Kay Vess sits in the hierarchy of power. There are a lot of major players operating in the Outer Rim during this period of Star Wars’ rich history and only a fraction of them actually feature in the franchise’s often Skywalker-focused live-action media. Thankfully, though, Ubisoft is already sitting on the perfect way of making sure everyone playing Outlaws knows exactly how far Kay Vess has come, and how far she has to go, in this ruthless massiff-eat-massiff world: Assassin’s Creed’s Mercenary System.
An adventure spread across the Outer Rim and nestled quite nicely between the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Outlaws follows Kay Vess – a down-on-her-luck scoundrel with the noble aspiration of leaving her life of crime behind. It’s a task that’s easier said than done, that’s for sure. How, though, is she going to actually achieve this seemingly impossible task? Well, by pulling off one of the biggest heists in the Outer Rim and buying her way out, of course. Money (well, credits in this case) talks. If there’s any way of escaping the criminal underworld running rampant in this near-lawless region of space post-Death Star, it really is this – even though it’s a plan fraught with obstacles, danger, and low odds of success.
If that prospect doesn’t make this one of the most exciting new PS5 games and new Xbox games on the way, we don’t know what will. From what we’ve seen of Kay Vess so far, though, she’s far from the villainous type – and certainly not nearly as nefarious as someone like Doctor Aphra. However, with buckets of charisma and a blaster strapped to her hip, she’s clearly someone who’s willing to do what it takes to get herself – and cute companion Nix – a better life. That includes sneaking and stealing, conning and killing, and gaming the systems in play until she wins.
Keeping this ‘main objective’ in mind and her apparent willingness to navigate several systems run by dangerous criminal organizations, it’s clear that there’s going to be some sort of ‘criminal ladder’ she’s going to have to clamber up before she tackles this huge heist we’ve already been promised. The Hutt Cartel and the Pyke Syndicate are just two of the Star Wars Outlaws factions you’ll come across when the Star Wars Outlaws release date rolls around, and there’s no doubt more than that. While this could be a complicated feature to manage, it strikes us as the perfect opportunity for Massive Entertainment to lean on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series to present that to players.
In Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, you find yourself tasked with working your way through a single-track Mercenary System alongside your ultimate objective of eliminating the Order of the Ancients. It’s a basic iteration of Warner Bros’ patented Nemesis System where your progression is entirely based on whether you have defeated the enemy ahead of you in the Mercenary System – no matter what level you are or how far through the story you have progressed. However, it is a useful way of gauging how powerful you actually are and – if you happen across a particularly unique enemy – it can be a very good way of avoiding a swift death at the hands of an enemy you’re grossly under-leveled for.
As you can see in the above, Kassandra the Eagle Bearer finds herself in the S1 tier of the Mercenary System in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, with Thymotes the Renegade two tiers above her and Kyberniskos the Bronze Statue just below her – despite the fact that she’s level 64 and they’re both level 62. So, in theory, she should be above Thymotes in the Mercenary System.
However, in this specific case, she should actually be alongside the level 65 mercenary Eutychea the Professional in the S2 tier – as the following four mercenaries are all level 62. It’s safe to say that we (we being me, the author) need to do a little more killing in the late-game. While this level is a good indication of how hard you’re going to find a fight, if you can persevere against tougher opponents, you can find yourself a lot higher in this system than you really should be. This tends to come with more drawbacks than it does benefits, but it does often bring you a few steps closer to killing who you need to kill – which is far from a bad thing in a game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
With Kay Vess seemingly needing to attempt a similar climb up the hierarchy of power before she’s in a solid enough position to even attempt such an impressive-sounding heist, and currently no information on any sort of leveling system, Massive Entertainment should adopt a similar mechanic to the aforementioned Mercenary System in Star Wars Outlaws. Not only would this give players a way of keeping track of where Kay Vess finds herself in this complex hierarchy of power, it could also be a fantastic way of letting players know who they need to keep an eye out for – and, of course, who they need to avoid.
There are also ways Massive Entertainment could expand upon what we’ve seen in Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla to refine this experience even further. For example, the introduction of numerical bounties really does seem like a no-brainer for Star Wars Outlaws – and, you could then organize a Mercenary System on this value over a ‘power level’. Tie this into the notoriety system in play and you’re sitting on a fully-fledged criminal underworld ecosystem where every player – including Kay Vess – is valued by how much people would pay to see them in Carbonite and that dictates just how ‘wanted’ they are.
Of course, though, Star Wars Outlaws is poised to be a little more complex than that – with each faction having its own reputation system, which dictates just how much you can get away with in their territories and while disrupting their operations. However, the Bounty Hunter’s Guild is an independent entity in The Galaxy and the numerical value of any one person’s bounty is a constant – whether, for example, you’re in Jabba the Hutt’s favor or otherwise. In fact, if the price on your head is high enough, there’s really no telling who’s going to come after you – friend or foe.
The potential to expand upon the Assassin’s Creed series’ Mercenary System in Star Wars Outlaws is clear and it’s exciting to think about how Massive Entertainment is going to integrate all the systems promised. If done correctly, and in keeping with Star Wars’ lore, this could be more than just one of the best Star Wars games out there when it drops; it could be one of the best open world games we’ve seen so far.
But, ultimately, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out. For now, here are seven characters we need to see Kay Vess work with in Star Wars Outlaws and why that very same Kay Vess is going to be the slickest scoundrel in Star Wars when she finally graces the small screen.