We just got our first good look at the gameplay of Star Wars: Squadrons thanks to a new trailer at EA Play Live, and with it, a much better idea of how the single-player will work. Players will take on the role of two different pilots, one for the New Republic and one for the Empire, and it seems like the star squadrons are in direct, close conflict with each other.
With EA's official reveal of Squadrons earlier this week, we learned the basics about the single-player story, but the new gameplay trailer fills in lots of details. In the Empire storyline, players will be a member of the Titan squadron. Near the beginning of the trailer, we see an Imperial officer address the Titans before a battle, telling the pilots to "finish those Vanguard scum." The Vanguard are the New Republic's crew of pilots that players will also join, meaning Squadrons will not only tell two sides of a post-Return of the Jedi story, but is gearing up to pit its two leading groups of pilots against each other.
USG's Editor-In-Chief Kat Bailey points out that this is similar to the set-up for the Balance of Power expansion to 1997's Star Wars: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, the third entry in the X-Wing series from LucasArts and Totally Games. Like Squadrons, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter was primarily a multiplayer-focused release, but Balance of Power did add a single-player storyline. In it, players experienced both the Rebel and Empire sides of a power struggle in a single sector of the galaxy.
Now that Star Wars is owned by Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group is trying to keep all the new games, novels, comics, and TV shows within canon, it'll be interesting to see if the Squadons storyline ends with the Vanguard triumphing over the Titans, or vice versa. The two different endings of the Balance of Power campaign made it a bit of a canon headache back then, but with established characters like Wedge Antilles and Hera Syndulla in the mix, Star Wars: Squadrons presumably has to leave certain pilots unharmed... but perhaps not the player characters?
We'll find out exactly how this fits into the early days of the New Republic and the fall of the Empire when Star Wars: Squadrons releases for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 2. The $39.99 title will feature cross-platform multiplayer, is set to support some joysticks and HOTAS controls, and will be fully playable in virtual reality on PC and with PlayStation VR.