Star Wars: Squadrons is coming to PC, consoles, and VR headsets on October 2nd. And while we got our first look at gameplay of the upcoming dogfighter in a special premier last night, it’s still not entirely clear what’s at stake for VR players.

The game’s creative director Ian Frazier sat down with Gamespot in a video chat where he touched upon subjects like the game’s progression system, the choice to nix microtransactions, and what sort of difficulty levels there will be across both the single and multiplayer modes. Because the game can be played entirely in VR though, Frazier dedicated some time to talking about the game’s VR implementation.

“I personally prefer VR because of the immersion factor, but playing in VR is more like being a real pilot, and being a real pilot is hard,” Frazier told Gamespot.

Image courtesy Motive

Frazier explained that some of the game’s ships—notably the very open X-wing and the comparatively closed TIE Fighter—create some natural bottlenecks for players. The X-wing offers a much more open canopy, which in turn gives the player more things to focus on, and viceversa.

“Being aware of all your instrumentation, physical space—it’s very challenging for many players, so we found that 2D, and/or being in an Imperial ship, [those things] kind of counterbalance what you’re losing and what you’re gaining in terms of focus,” Frazier continued.

Image courtesy Motive

Still, it’s clear VR players will have some material advantage over players on traditional monitors. The deadly combination of a VR headset and HOTAS setup in capable hands may be a boon for players with the stomach for twisty-turny action, best exemplified by what Frazier calls ‘drifting’, or using the ship’s airbrake to make a tight, sudden maneuver.

The lack of VR motion controllers would be a blow to in-cockpit immersion though, however Frazier says that players will be able to turn off HUD elements and rely on the ship’s interior instrumentation—a VR-native design choice if there ever was one.

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While we’re still waiting to see the VR mode action from inside a headset, it’s heartening to hear that VR seems to have always been a part of the game plan with Squadrons.

EA’s Montreal-based Motive Studio says they specifically took learnings from Starfighter Assault and the Rogue One: VR Mission at the beginning of the game’s development. Frazier calls his team’s work like “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as Criterion were the first to implement VR in EA’s Frosbite engine with Rogue One: VR Mission.

“If [Criterion] hadn’t done that, this would have been a whole lot harder for us to build. The whole ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ thing, it’s very much a big part of the outstanding work that team did to make this game possible.”

Star Wars: Squadrons is slated to launch on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 2nd, priced at $40. You can check out the gameplay trailer below.

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  • gothicvillas

    done right EA may redeem themselves (partly)

    • brubble

      EA isnt the developer. If the game is great and isnt a corporate sh*t-show its hardly worth the soapbox.

      • Raphael

        EA is the publisher and I believe this is the first VR under their logo so it’s still significant. Battlefield is made by Dice… published via EA.

        • brubble

          My utmost apologies for having much higher standards than yourself and for not being utterly ecstatic with current (mediocre) HMD tech Mr. 2006, also I beg your forgiveness for insulting your virtual anime wife. You go ahead and hop on to that next soapbox and write that book explaining why others are just so very wrong. Jackass.

        • Caven

          EA owns Motive Studios and DICE, so in effect EA is the developer of those games as well.

  • namekuseijin

    > turn off HUD elements and rely on the ship’s interior instrumentation

    that’s good because the ship’s interior instrumentation *IS* real life HUD

    NMS got that right in the VR implementation

    anyway, this mind-blowing release is a day one buy

    • Adrian Meredith

      Considering the pilots (at least tie fighters) wear helmets its not unreasonable to have huds inplanted into them

      • Martin D

        The MiG-29 had a HMD in 1985. Took the USA more than 30 years to catch up AFAIK (with a much more advanced system of course).

    • Orogogus

      Real life pilots have HUDs and HMDs, though.

  • brubble

    Neat-o! This might be the game that makes me buy a HMD.

    • dmbfk

      neat-o? how is life in 1958? swell!

      • bud01

        The Amazing Cars back then and simpler way of life.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFBCHQJBkB8

        What an amazing women!
        Neat-o! :-)

        • Sean

          You know most people would think it was a lot safer in the US back in 1958. However, the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people is as low these last couple years as it was in the late 50’s. I always remind my parents of that when they talk about much safer it was when they were children.

          • MosBen

            And, you know, the whole Jim Crow era thing, plus the Cold War.

      • brubble

        HAHA See you at the malt shop!

    • Raphael

      If you didn’t buy one for the wealth of content VR already has then you ain’t buying one for this game.

      • brubble

        Wealth of content? I can count how many games I find worthwhile on one hand.

        • Raphael

          Yeah, and that seems a perfectly rational sentence to you, right? I’ve been using VR since 2006 and I’ve had discussions with hundreds of people on the subject. I can only count a few occassions where someone claimed “VR had no good games”.

          You and VR are a divorce waiting to happen. I’d save yourself the trouble and stay away from it. In fact… what are you even doing wasting time on road to VR?

          I mean… here you are on the best VR website that provides a great insight into whats available… and you dismiss almost everything as not worthwhile.

          I can tell you that IF you did buy VR… you’d be one of those ranting and complaining about a whole lot of “issues” and then after a month or so you’d start bragging to people how your VR is “gathering dust”. I really could write a book on the various personality types who are never happy and how everything is a disappointment.

          • brubble

            Boy I really struck a nerve there didnt I? My utmost apologies for having much higher standards than yourself and for not being utterly ecstatic with current (mediocre) HMD tech Mr. 2006, also I beg your forgiveness for insulting your virtual anime wife.
            But by all means you go ahead and hop on to that next soapbox and write that book explaining why others are just so very wrong. F’n Jackass.

          • Raphael

            Don’t apologise. It’s clear you have mental health issues and that’s not something you have any real control over.

            As someone who has used VR since 2006… you have no idea what mediocre VR hardware is. Back then I had a $900 IO-Systems PC3d, 800×600 with almost no contrast and colors that changed randomly when the unit heated up. No head-tracking. No VR controllers. No VR games. No life-size 3d imagery. The image looked like I was sitting at the back of a small movie theater.

            I know you have mental health issues because you’re hanging out on a VR game website complaining there are no good VR games. You’re hoping Star Wars will be the FIRST good VR game. You’re complaining about current gen 1.5 VR hardware which is vastly superior to the hardware I used in 2006.

            If Vive Pro, Pimax, Index fail to meet your attention-seeking high standards then you won’t be playing star wars. And if you did play star wars… you’d be complaining about that too.

            So… why are you hanging around on a VR website?

          • brubble

            Great gatekeeping btw Mr.2006. Please tell me all about VR, as theres no possible way I couldve tried any of these devices. /s

            I can tell Im sure dealing with a rapier like wit here, case in point if you need to ask why I frequent a site that provides…wait for it…. INFORMATION, then well, youre on your own. Previous comment still stands now more than ever, dumbass. Keep grasping though.

          • Raphael

            You’re one of those people locked into your own super-massive ego. It doesn’t even occur to you for one second that just perhaps… the issue isn’t that there aren’t any good VR games.. and that all the VR HMDs are mediocre… just perhaps… the issue is with you? And that your “high standards” are really just another symptom of your self-delusion? Your need for attention. By coming to a VR website (actually the best VR website where there is no valid excuse for you to be so ignorant about content) and declaring less than 6 good VR games exist (an outrageously stupid troll statement), you gain the attention you crave. For some people even negative attention means they aren’t being ignored.

            “brubble Raphael • 3 days ago
            Wealth of content? I can count how many games I find worthwhile on one hand.” << Just out of interest… what are the one-handed worthwhile VR games?

          • patfish

            I have a VFX1 from 1995 beside my desk … It still looks like tech from the future but it was terrible at its time :D … And VR is still very bad! The devices have to get lighter, wireless, 4K and we need very minimalistic interactive glows, rings or perfect hand tracking for games like SW: Squadrons where you want to use a Joystick and interact with your cockpit as well.

            Bust most important we need real VR games like HL Aylex …we have already enough short experiences made by students and some privat tech-freaks.

          • Raphael

            VR in 1995 was the best it could be in 95. You’re a glass completely empty person right? You know… everything is “terrible”, “very bad”. Why are you complaining the tech needs to get better as if you believe it’s not going to continue evolving? If you have a VFX1 from 95 then you really should have a much greater insight. You would have seen how the tech has improved. But it seems you really can’t appreciate anything.

            Yes VR WILL get lighter. Yes it will have retina res, wireless etc etc etc etc. Inevitable. That doesn’t mean current VR is “bad”, “terrible”. That’s like saying current GPUs are shit because they need more compute units, better raytracing performance etc.

            It’s a very childish and wholly negative view. HL Alyx is impressive yes. We don’t just need that one type of game. And where have u been that you think VR games are still short experiences? We’ve been heading away from the 1 hour or less gameplay for quite some time.

          • patfish

            What I tried to say is VR/AR is great but still not ready for the masses.
            1995 the VFX1 was a masterpiece showed us how our future could look like but the technology was not ready for VR. 25 years later technology is there but it will need another 5-7 years until this performance fits in mobile devices to power smart AR glass who look like normal Ray-Bans and are useful in daily business like our smartphones today. This will be the moment when VR/AR is ready for the masses. Until then, it will be technology for the industry, research and private tech-freaks/gamers.

            3D Stereo Cinema was invented 1915, got a revival 1950,1990, 2003 and 2009 … but its still not really there …maybe 2025-30 will be together with VR/AR the right moment to stay for ever :-)

          • Raphael

            Yes! I agree. The price has been falling steadily over the decades, spec rising but it’s still a long way from mass adoption. Most people don’t want to pay $1000+ for an Index. Even the Reverb is priced beyond mainstream adoption.

            Prices will continue to fall, form-factor shrink and specs increase. 5-7 years is a realistic time-frame. :)

  • A VR Enthusiast

    Cannot wait!

  • mfx

    Nice but bit low end graphics.

    Cockpit could have more details at least.

    • sfmike

      Star Wars displays have always been low end 80’s style graphics. It’s traditional.

      • mfx

        I was more talking about the details of the hardware part of the cockpit, no the screens. I would like DCS F18 level of detail minimum basically.
        Since it’s an element that is always on front of the player, it’s important to have it made really really well.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But looking at the trailer, nothing really looks ultrarealistic, so in that regard it’s a decent cockpit (but we’ll have to see some real action and long shots of that).. Looking at the DCS F18 it looks really cool, but in honesty I still think, in a modern/’futuristic’ vehicle you don’t need so much controls.

          • Raphael

            True… take a look at how the next gen mil aircraft are going… F35, F22 and even more so with the British Tempest… the cockpit of the Tempest is very bare. Just a large display and most information displayed in AR.

  • Trip

    I’m super excited about this. Quick point, not implementing VR controllers will not hamper immersion if you can do everything with HOTAS buttons and HATs. Elite Dangerous nailed that bit, there is no breaking of immersion whatsoever when using a decent HOTAS (or in my case a variation of a HOSAS+Pedals).

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But in the near future this would be really good if complemented with handtracking.

      • Trip

        Agree, not just for this but for all sims I want to actually be able to see my hands and arms moving when I move them irl.

  • It’s like EVE Valkyrie, but not a dead Oculus game! Ready for the Hype Train on this one! :D

  • Warscent

    But will it be woke enough?

  • Warscent

    Yes it will! That trailer checks all the woke boxes ! Count me in!

  • I would love to get a copy to test the ‘Index Stick’ mount for the Valve Index Controller that I have been working on for my own projects “Ascent: Eagle Has Left the Moon” and “Lunar Wars.” I created it because I wanted the best of both worlds. To interactively be able to manipulate the vast array of switches and DSKY in the Lunar Module, but quickly go into a “joystick” mode. From this came the idea of using what I think is the best controller for interactivity in VR — the Valve Index Controller and heavily spring loaded magnetic mount to allow for a joystick like experience that can be removed rapidly with a quick pull and allow you to use it for interacting with other VR controls. Of course two of these could be used for left/right joystick like controls.

    Waiting for my latest prototype to come with a PTFE coated ball & socket for smooth operation. The neodymium magnets are embedded in a very thin strip of plastic with 3M VHB bonding tape attached to the bottom that you apply to the location where the USB-C receptacle is located on the Index Controller. It will have the a cutout for the single infrared sensor it blocks preventing any occlusion to the lighthouse laser emission. A version could be made to allow for charging as well.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a40921f546662d46d6a2cd1dbf2123585797b54e7abb6b3cbabc0419dec44d79.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f96a8f699084baba41be568cda051a7fab467fb2b4ba5a3d8b680606174344f8.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1a1f9ff2f51c2968da872536b6e7ba227073790c486509c447560a5a8a72614.png

  • Taurus

    Noob question but would a title like this be available on the Quest ?

    • MosBen

      Probably not, no, though you could use a Quest if it were hooked up to a gaming PC.

  • This game looks amazing!

  • PJ

    I’m more hyped for the fact EA are entering the VR market than the game..

  • Anonymous

    Wait so this isn’t a dedicated VR game?

    I wonder what the controls wil be like for those don’t have flight sticks.

    If it is anything like War Thunder with ridiculous Mouse Assist then I say it is pretty much dead as a flight-sim, as mouse players get unfair stability and aim advantage over any other control schemes.

  • Kimberle McDonald

    any good VR flight sim of any kind should support a HOTAS rig as a controller. And also illustrate one in VR in case you look down of course.