Disney, the new owner of the LucasArts and Lucasfilm IP catalog, announced a new Star Wars game Tuesday. Star Wars: Attack Squadrons is an upcoming free-to-play online space combat game that promises to put players in the cockpits of X-Wings and TIE Fighters from the era of the original trilogy.
Featuring three battle modes — 16-player free-for-all, eight vs. eight team combat, and base mode — the game looks to be the first Star Wars title focused exclusively on original trilogy space combat since the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games of the mid-1990s.
Gamers will each have their own spacecraft, which they can personalize and upgrade as they advance through the ranks. Although not explicitly mentioned, it is expected that the game, as a free-to-play title, will also feature microtransactions in the form of upgrades and ship customization.
There’s no word yet on a release date, but Disney announced that a closed beta program will begin shortly. Those interested can sign up at the game’s website using a Disney account. A limited number of applicants will be notified by email “at a later date” if selected to participate.
Disney struck a deal with Star Wars creator George Lucas in October 2012 to purchase the rights to Lucasfilm and its software division, LucasArts. In May of this year, it was revealed that EA had acquired the rights to publish Star Wars games aimed at the “core gaming audience,” which we interpreted to mean AAA console and PC games, while Disney reserved the right to publish “casual” titles. Disney’s control of Star Wars: Attack Squadrons should therefore set the appropriate expectations with gamers: this may be a fun game, but it will likely lack the depth that many hope for.
As huge fans of the Star Wars films and games like X-Wing, however, you can bet that we’ll be playing the game immediately upon its release.