There's been a lot of excitement in the wake of Star Wars: Squadrons' gameplay demo, as well as unanswered questions, so EA now posted a deep dive into starfighters, mechanics and other details.
All of Star Wars: Squadrons starfighters bring their own flavours of handling, hull armour, engines, and so on, but most of the base controls are shared. In other words, learn to fly one starfighter, and you've learned them all more or less.
Players get to control eight starfighters:
- T-65B X-wing starfighter
- BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber
- RZ-1 A-wing interceptor
- UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft
- TIE/ln starfighter (“TIE fighter”)
- TIE/sa bomber (“TIE bomber”)
- TIE/in interceptor (“TIE interceptor”)
- TIE/rp reaper attack lander (“TIE reaper”)
Power management is incredibly important in Star Wars: Squadrons, and you'll get to juggle it around, diverting power to engines, lasers or shields. Balanced systems will work for most situations, but there will be times when you'll need to put all your juice into one system.
Interestingly, boosting one of the aforementioned systems to full power grants you a special ability that you don't get otherwise. By the sound of it, Star Wars: Squadrons starfighters will be easy to pick up but hard to master, which certainly bodes well for the game.
Maxing out the power in your engines not only grants you increased top speed, you get a powerful speed boost, which EA likened to Poe Dameron's in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Doing the same to shields will overcharge them to 200 per cent, whereas topping up lasers will make them far more powerful than normal.
"This also means you’ll have up to double the laser output available since you’ll first use the overcharge and then use regular laser fire. Just like the speed boost, they’ll continuously charge back up and then overcharge while not being used. This is great for attacking an enemy capital ship subsystems or one of the cruisers that try getting in your way (Creative Director’s note: “Or just melting an enemy starfighter”)", EA wrote.
Star Wars: Squadrons has some fighters that don't have shields, but they can use power converters to divert power from elsewhere, which makes for a pretty fluid system that promises to reward mastery.
Star Wars: Squadrons features Fighters, Bombers, Interceptors and Support ship classes, with the major difference being that X, Y, A, U and TIE reaper have shields, while the other three TIEs do not.
Fighters are the most balanced; Interceptors are made for dogfighting; Bomber-class starfighters are sluggish, flying fortresses of pain, while Support starfighters are there to keep their brethren in the fight.
Star Wars: Squadrons developer went to great lengths to emulate the cockpits that were featured in the movies, but they've had to completely invent others, even building life-sized replicas apparently.
We also try to come at it from a purely fictional angle, pretending we're employees of Incom or Sienar Fleet Systems and then asking "how would we build this?" This was particularly the case with the TIEs, where there was no existing canonical guide [when we started development] as to how exactly those ships are piloted, which meant we needed to figure out the way things like the control yoke actually worked in a very practical sense. This was a ton of fun because it meant working with the team at Lucasfilm, animators, and mocap actors to land on an approach that fit with what we saw in the films but is believable in terms of how a real pilot would need to operate the controls to pull off complex maneuvers. (Editor’s note: We actually built cockpits for our actors when performing motion capture!)
You can find the full pilot briefing here.