March 10, 2021
Way back in 2013, I posted an article talking about what I wanted from a hypothetical sequel to Star Wars: Galaxies.
A lot has changed in the near-decade since Star Wars: Galaxies went offline for good. Of particular note is the rise of open-world survival games like Ark or Valheim. Games like Star Citizen and No Man's Sky also promise gameplay that would seem at home in the SWG vein.
So, this article will go into my thoughts for what a new Star Wars: Galaxies game would look like in the 2020s.
The original game featured player buildings that were single-piece placements. Modern survival games like Valheim let players craft individual components of a building, such as a wall or floor tile, and then place those in the world to construct their own buildings.
That kind of thing would find a strong welcome among the creative community. So, I think, would a blueprint system that allowed less creatively-inclined players to purchase prebuilt buildings from other players.
I said this back in 2013, and I'll say it again - a return to the skill trees of the pre-NGE original game would be ideal. More and deeper skill trees than the original would give us more interesting options and builds. Perhaps there is something to learn from how games like Path of Exile treat progression?
Procedural generation has come a long way since 2001. A sequel to SWG would be fantastic if it took inspiration from the planet generation of No Man's Sky, for example. However, NPC cities would need to be much larger than the small outposts in No Man's Sky, and that would be a challenge.
Zones of control - where a player is able to place building components and so on - would need a big update. There's been plenty of work in this area over the last twenty years. Also, being able to deform the terrain would allow players to flatten areas for building on. Again, this is inspired by Valheim.
Atmospheric flight in SWG was only turned on in the last few hours of the game's life. It would be nice to see atmospheric flight as implemented in No Man's Sky come to a SWG sequel. That is, a player could enter orbit of a planet and fly down to their home city, all without loading screens.
The original SWG did not allow you to jump over obstacles. A sequel would need full range of motion. Taking a page from Conan: Exiles and allowing for stamina-limited strenuous movement like climbing and running would be a nice addition.
We talked about this a lot on the SWG forums back in the day. Now, though, it's been done many times in other games. In my original wishlist, I mentioned that Planetside 2 had done this. I still think that's a good example of balancing infantry combat and vehicle combat.
The original Star Wars: Galaxies was set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. As such, there was a lot it couldn't explore, since it had to constrain itself to staying between two major canon events.
Setting SWG2 after the Rise of Skywalker would open up a lot of possibilities. With the New Order crippled but not eliminated, the New Republic in a similar situation, and a whole galaxy full of independent systems, there's a lot of leeway for world-building.
This is perfect for an open world sandbox game.
It is unlikely that we'll ever see another Star Wars: Galaxies. Ubisoft Massive has announced that they're working on an open world Star Wars game, but it's unclear what form that will take. My guess is that it will be more akin to Breath of the Wild or Spider-Man than an MMO. Time will tell.