In Star Wars: Squadrons, TIE Fighters Don't Have Shields and That's That, Director Says

In Star Wars: Squadrons, TIE Fighters Don't Have Shields and That's That, Director Says

EA Motive's Ian Frazier weighs in on customization, balancing lore with gameplay, and post-launch support.

Yesterday's gameplay trailer reveal for Star Wars: Squadrons certainly made the case for it looking like a worthy piloting sim, but it didn't go too deep into the nitty gritty of how the New Republic and Empire fighters are balanced or precisely when it takes place after Return of the Jedi. Thankfully, Creative Director at EA Motive Ian Frazier has shed some more light on the gameplay and lore specifics in a new interview.

Chatting with Polygon, Frazier nails down a lot of specifics for how Squadrons will play, especially as they relate to the Disney-era canon of Star Wars. Case in point: "TIE Fighters don't have shields, so we don't have shields on our TIE Fighters," Frazier says. It's an established bit of technical lore and one the game will respect, as you can't even add them as an unlockable modification. For the sake of balance, it sounds like Motive has consulted with Lucasfilm to compensate by way of fighter traits that aren't canonically established, such as the resilience of a TIE Fighter's hull.

This same sensibility applies to other bits of Star Wars tech that do and don't appear in Squadrons. That channeled beam weapon fired by a TIE Bomber in the trailer is a new, optional modification, but it's also directly inspired by a similar weapon seen on a ship in Star Wars: Rebels. Frazier points to the example of hyperspace tracking, introduced in the eighth film, as a bit of tech that won't appear in Squadrons given its place in the timeline.

Later in the interview, Frazier confirms that while DLC and live service support aren't planned for Squadrons, they're not ruled out completely. "It is a fully self-contained experience," he says. "It's not, 'Well, okay, here's part of the game and the rest of it will be out next week. [...] [W]e're not talking about live service or DLC or anything else. Not saying it's impossible, but that's really not that we're going for."

Frazier also provides a bit more context for where Squadrons' story really fits into the final days of the Empire, which then serves as justification for some of the exotic fighter customization options. Most of it takes place "a few months after [The Battle of] Endor," but long before the Empire's final defeat at the Battle of Jakku. The beginning of the story, however, will actually start with a prologue set right after the destruction of Alderaan, Frazier reveals.

Apart from that New Hope-adjacent bit of storytelling, Frazier says that the period of time Squadrons focuses on sees both the New Republic and Empire experimenting with fighters more due to the turn the war takes once the Emperor and the second Death Star are out of the picture: "Because it's a little bit later they started messing with different things. But the baseline, what you see by default, is still straight up what you would see in Return of the Jedi."

So long as the gameplay is top-notch, it'll be hard to get too riled up over any bends or breaks Squadrons introduces to the Star Wars canon. Star Wars: Squadrons will launch for PC, PS4, and Xbox One with cross-play support on October 2.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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