Ubisoft says a Star Wars Outlaws planet is the size of '2 or 3' Assassin's Creed Odyssey map zones put together, which takes about 5 minutes 'nonstop' on a speeder to cross

Star Wars Outlaws
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

It's not the size of the open world that counts, it's what's inside it—but I'll admit I've been curious to see how Ubisoft plans to tackle the open world maps for multiple Star Wars planets. This is a notoriously tough nut for space exploration games to crack. BioWare tried to make Mass Effect 1's barren planets more interesting in Andromeda, only to fill them with generic, cookie cutter quests that went over about as well as the facial animations. Bethesda justified Starfield's largely dull procedurally generated planets as realistic. What should we expect from Ubisoft, which has made some truly massive open world maps, bringing that scale to the whole galaxy?

Well, for one thing, we know Outlaws won't be going down the endless procedural planets route—Ubisoft has revealed five explorable planets so far, which you'll be able to fly between in your spaceship. Thanks to an interview with IGN, we now also know roughly how big they are. 

Creative director Julian Gerighty said that the first planet (or rather, moon) you visit, called Toshara, takes "four or five minutes nonstop" to cover while riding your speeder bike, which I'm guessing moves a bit faster than a horse in Assassin's Creed Valhalla or The Witcher 3. "Which doesn't sound like a lot, but once you're committed it's a fairly large amount and you are always going to be distracted," he said. 

Gerighty brought up Assassin's Creed Odyssey as a point of comparison, explaining that that game's maps were broken into zones. Toshara is the size of "two or three of those [zones] put together."

What about Outlaws' other planets? Tatooine will be bigger, but considering it's mostly sand, that seems about right. The jungle planet Akiva will be comparable to Toshara's size, which leaves two more planets as question marks.

Building on what the team did in The Division 2, game director Mathias Karlson said that Outlaws will have "living world systems" that populate the planets with activity: pedestrians, speeders, Imperial patrols, and so on. Gerighty claimed that with Outlaws' side activities the studio aimed for "quality over quantity," but also that "every two, three minutes there'll be something that's happening, whether it's an ambush or the Empire arresting some civilians or getting into combat with some criminal syndicates" and that it's "up to you whether you want to engage or not." That worryingly reminds me of modern Far Cry's complete lack of chill—you can't go more than a minute without an animal or gang of baddies rolling up to attack you—but hopefully Outlaws settles into a slightly better groove.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).