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Star Wars Outlaws Kay Vess walking
Image via Ubisoft

Star Wars Outlaws’ Biggest Mistake Could be Making Kay Vess Too OP

Star Wars Outlaws introduces a new protagonist, Kay Vess, but making her too powerful would be a mistake.

When you think of Star Wars, there’s probably a good chance you immediately think of Jedi and Lightsabers next. The two have become so closely intertwined with the popular franchise over the years that the powerful Force-users and their deadly weapons are seen as its mascots. However, Ubisoft’s Star Wars Outlaws, the first open-world game set in the Star Wars galaxy, is taking a different approach. It’s choosing to focus on Kay Vess, a non-Force-using human who must rely on only her cunning and wit to get by instead of a laser sword that can cut through steel or the ability to move objects with her mind. Rather than finding ways to compensate for this by making Kay unrealistically OP, Ubisoft should lean into these differences and provide gamers with a completely different type of Star Wars experience.

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Footage released of the game so far has shown Kay to be an extremely capable smuggler, skilled with a blaster and using a range of gadgets and abilities to help her out of tight spots. While these mechanics are necessary to a degree, ensuring players have plenty of options in combat, Kay isn’t an all-powerful Jedi who can lay waste to hordes of Stormtroopers without breaking a sweat. Her vulnerability is what will ultimately differentiate her from a protagonist such as the Jedi Cal Kestis from the Star Wars Jedi series. It’s a difficult balance but an important one for Ubisoft to strike.

Star Wars Outlaws Needs to Ensure Kay Vess Feels Vulnerable

A woman in a robot walking with a red moon in the background
Image via Massive Entertainment

Over the years, plenty of Star Wars games have put players in the shoes of the Jedi, giving you the chance to play out a power fantasy that we’ve all probably had at some point in our lives. Older games such as The Force Unleashed even let you embrace the dark side of the Force, fully taking the shackles off. Outlaws’ approach is decidedly less common, though. Vess seems to be a character built in the vein of Harrison Ford’s loveable rogue Han Solo — skillful, resourceful, and relatable, but not all that powerful, particularly when put up against the likes of Jedi and Sith.

Aside from the open-world approach, which, given Ubisoft’s track record with the genre, could make or break the game, it’s the character of Vess that will probably give the game a unique identity. Star Wars is going through something of an identity crisis at the moment, and after a slew of mediocre TV shows since Disney’s acquisition, it needs something positive for fans to celebrate. Outlaws can absolutely be this beacon of hope, and Kay Vess will play a huge part in that.

So Far, So Good for Star Wars Outlaws

Trailers and gameplay showcases so far have been promising. Vess’ suite of abilities each seems tethered to real-world skills, like lockpicking and fast-talking her way out of sticky situations. Her piloting, driving, and shooting skills aren’t beyond the realms of realism, especially in the context of a video game. Nothing indicates she’s particularly adept at hand-to-hand combat, further leaning into the idea that she’s just a human like you or I. This bodes well for the full release.

Franchises such as Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed showcase the dangers of Ubisoft’s tendency to stuff its open-world games with unnecessary bloat. Dozens of map markers and towers that remove map fog are old, uninspired tricks that simply don’t appeal to many gamers anymore, particularly those whose time is becoming more precious with the demands of busy day-to-day life.

With Outlaws, Ubisoft has a chance to rework the formula a little, focusing on unique, original content and mechanics that encourage players to explore the world, not knowing what they may find. If Ubisoft manages to stick the landing, and Kay Vess proves a hit with fans, it may go some way to repairing the damage that both itself and the Star Wars IP have sustained over the last decade.

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Image of Dan Amoroso
Dan Amoroso
Dan has been gaming since he was old enough to hold a controller. He's written hundreds of articles for publications such as Lords of Gaming and GameRant, and uses his knowledge and passion for the industry to craft engaging content that is easy to digest. Dan doesn't like to pigeonhole himself into any one particular genre, but he does classify Action RPGs as his favourites, specifically anything by FromSoftware who he considers to be his favourite Developer.