EA have explained more about customisation in Star Wars: Squadrons, both the meaningful loadout decisions of different weapons and equipment as well as the purely cosmetic bits for pilots and ships. Tuning a ship sounds simple but maybe satisfying. And while EA claim cosmetic bits are “authentic” and made in collaboration with the Starlords of Lucasfilm, they’re making a concession to people who just want multiplayer spacefights to look like regular ol’ Star Wars: an option to not see other people’s cosmetic ship bits. That’s nice.
Loadout-wise, yesterday’s blog post explains, players will get to customise ships in seven slots: primary weapons, countermeasures, two auxiliary components, hull, shields, and engines.
Some weapons will have different stats, while others will work in different ways, like ion cannons that maul shields but only tickle hulls. Aux components are things from repair systems and tractor beams to torpedos and mines. And countermeasures are things like chaff and sensor jammers. Then the engine, hull, and shield parts are broadly trade-offs between different stats, plus a few weird bonus options like your ship exploding more violently to damage enemies when it bursts.
On the cosmetic front, both pilots and their ships can be prettied-up. Pilot options come with different heads, flight suits, “torso apparel”, legwear, helmets, and gloves. On the outside of your ship, you’ll get paint jobs and decals (including from famous Star Wars squadrons). Inside the cockpit, you can hang knick-knacks like a wee Millenium Falcon or red crystal from Crait, put bobbleheads and bits on the dashboard, and display different little holograms.
Lead gameplay designer James Clement says the pilot and paint customisation bits are “all made through the culmination of months of concept art, modelling, and collaboration with the team at Lucasfilm.” But there is a difference between Lucasfilm-approved and, y’know, good. And live service games do tend to creep away from their original aesthetic over time, often getting flashier and sillier as the devs keep adding new bits. I assume EA do plan to add to Squadrons after launch; it’d be weird if they didn’t.
Should you not want other people’s gaudy ships guffing up your battles at all, you’ll actually be able to turn them off. EA explain, “we know some of our players won’t want any of it and prefer to see starfighters that match what they’ve seen in the films, so we’ve implemented an option for you to make it so all other starfighters appear in their default states if that’s your preference.”
That’s a good option. I wish more multiplayer games had this option. I suppose games which make money from selling cosmetic items (or battle passes with cosmetics) are unlikely to reduce opportunities to show off your fashion. I’d settle for options to disable all the gaudy gold gun skins so adored by nerks. Such ghastly guns.
Along with 5v5 multiplayer modes, Squadrons will have a story campaign.