Ubisoft's open world Star Wars game will not have procedurally generated planets: Every game world is 'handcrafted'

Star Wars Outlaws
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Star Wars Outlaws, the open world Star Wars game announced by Ubisoft earlier this year, will no doubt be an interplanetary adventure of considerable size. But in a new interview with Edge magazine, creative director Julian Gerighty said the development team at Ubisoft Massive is aiming to keep things "manageable," and that means that unlike some other big sci-fi games in the offing—and yes, I mean Starfield—there will be no procedurally generated planets where you can go anywhere and do anything you want.

Starfield will famously have more than 1,000 planets when it arrives in September, and while Todd Howard said that there will be an awful lot of bespoke content on many of them, most of those worlds are created procedurally by generating large "tiles" which are then "wrapped around the planet." The net result is lots of places to visit, and not a hell of a lot to do on most of them.

Outlaws is taking the opposite approach, Gerighty said. It's not yet known how many planets will be available to visit, but all of the explorable areas will be "handcrafted," and it sounds like they'll be plenty beefy.

"It's a crude analogy, but the size of one planet might be about [equivalent to] two of the zones in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, for example," Gerighty said. "It could be two or three zones. But it's not, you know, this sort of epic 'the whole of England recreated' approach."

That's presumably referring to Odyssey's regions, each of which has different level requirements and various unique things to see and do. It's obviously not an exact measure—different regions in Odyssey have different sizes, goals, and requirements—but the implication is clear: While not on the sheer scale of Starfield, Outlaws is going to be a sizable experience.

Players likewise won't be able to fly freely in the space above planets in Outlaws: Instead, there will be close-orbit areas to explore, where you might find things like asteroids or derelict space stations.

"We're really focusing on what 'open world' means to the player, which is full freedom of approach," Gerighty said. Frankly, that's fine by me: I'll take a handful of locales built specifically to keep me interested and entertained over thousands of planets.

Star Wars Outlaws doesn't currently have a release date but is expected to be out sometime in 2024—although given that this is a Ubisoft game, I wouldn't tattoo that date to my bicep just yet. Starfield, for the record, is set to arrive on September 6.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.