Star Wars Outlaws’ Julian Gerighty Talks Kay Vess’ Journey: “This Is a Survival Story”

If you caught the Star Wars Outlaws trailers during Ubisoft Forward, you probably witnessed the jaw-dropping skills of a scoundrel who could easily be deemed a master of stealth. A maestro of deception. A paragon of perception. A… little guy.
That’s right, we’re talking about NixKay Vess’ co-protagonist in the game and one very courageous critter. And Julian Gerighty, creative director of Ubisoft's Massive Entertainment, has something very important to tell you about the delightful merqaal.
“[Nix is] a bulletproof companion,” Gerighty reveals to That’s right, you won’t have to worry about losing your furry-slash-scaly friend as you travel the galaxy together. Phew.
Recently, Gerighty sat down to chat about everything we saw during Ubisoft Forward, including Nix’s best friend Kay Vess, the variety of skills she learns as she journeys across the galaxy far, far away, and experiencing life as a scoundrel — distractions and all. The presentation starts with Kay Vess playing a game within the game. Is that a minigame for players, and are there more to discover in Star Wars Outlaws?
Julian Gerighty: It is a playable game. One of the things that we were passionate about is having a lot of distractions within the world to make it feel alive — even being able to bet on fathiers or play sabacc games. All of these things we felt constituted the scoundrel lifestyle. It was important for us to have a lot of different types of experiences for the players to discover. Slicing has an element that looks very interactive as well.
Julian Gerighty: Did you see lockpicking? Is that where she pulls the data spike from her hair? That looks like a lot of fun.
Julian Gerighty: That was very much part of our philosophy, to have interactions that were really intriguing and very different in terms of gameplay as well, so that it wasn't just a sneaking-shooting-traversal type of experience. There are lots of different flavors there for everyone. If there's a player who loves a specific element, like piloting, could they choose to focus on that for their gameplay?
Julian Gerighty: For the full experience, what we wanted to do was to create the scoundrel lifestyle. And that includes so many different facets, from piloting not only your ship but also your speeder, to fisticuffs, to investigations. And every single session of gameplay is going to mix all of those things.
But, of course, if you want to focus maybe on smuggling and contracts in space, that's something that you can do. But the real outlaw gameplay comes when you look at it as a whole and you experience all of these things. We see Kay discover new opportunities during her adventures in space. Can that happen on planets as well?
Julian Gerighty: That's also found on planets. It's a system that we developed called the Living World System. It's there to keep the world dynamic and interesting no matter what you're doing. There's always going to be something happening, and you can even add to those things by picking up intel. So, let's say you're in a cantina. You can lean against the bar and start eavesdropping in conversations, and that may be the start of a quest that sends you across the galaxy. If Kay and Nix take the time on their journey across the galaxy to explore a planet like Tatooine, is it possible they might come across some landmarks? Something like a krayt dragon skeleton or other familiar Star Wars locations?
Julian Gerighty: That part of creating the game was a dream come true for us. We started from Mos Eisley and built out the city with a lot of little details that are very much screen-accurate to the movies.
This game takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It's that perfect moment where we have such a vivid recollection of what those things were. So of course, we're going to have the vast Dune Sea, the rocky canyons, and the labyrinth inside of those rocky canyons. But there are urban hubs, like Mos Eisley. And, of course, players have the opportunity to sneak into Jabba’s palace. You’ve called Nix a co-protagonist, which I really like. He can act as a decoy or charge into battle, but I noticed he doesn't have his own health bar. Does that mean we don't have to worry about accidentally losing Nix along the way?
Julian Gerighty: One hundred percent. [loudly] Yay!
Julian Gerighty: We decided very early on that we weren't going to hurt Nix. He's a bulletproof companion. ND-5 is another character who’s already captured the hearts of Star Wars fans. What do you think it is about him that players have already fallen in love with?
Julian Gerighty: I think the visuals do a lot of the heavy lifting; the battle scars, the coat, the pose slightly folded in but still very tough. I think it's also the voice and the attitude, and the fact that this isn't the type of droid that we've seen very often. This is a tough droid that's seen battle, that's seen war, and has a lot on his shoulders. That's very different and quite compelling. He’s a commando droid from the Clone Wars, and there are obviously nods to the original trilogy and more recent films as well. Was that a deliberate decision to pull from every era, or did they just naturally come together?
Julian Gerighty: It's a little bit of both, because looking at the slice of the Star Wars era that we chose and the archetype of the scoundrel, there are so many compelling characters. There are many compelling characters in terms of the criminal syndicates as well, so weaving these things together makes everything gel together, too. But it's important for us not to feature too many of them so that the galaxy doesn't feel small. It has to feel natural and like the right time and place to meet these incredibly famous characters throughout the franchise.



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