Star Wars Outlaws: Kay Vess Isn’t Your Typical Protagonist, and We’re Totally Obsessed


In a galaxy teeming with iconic heroes and villains, Star Wars Outlaws dares to chart a different course. Meet Kay Vess, a protagonist defined not by her strength or perfection, but by her relatability and growth. As players embark on an epic journey through a galaxy fraught with danger and intrigue, they are invited to challenge traditional notions of heroism and embark on a deeply personal quest for freedom and self-discovery.

I was lucky enough to get a hands-on sneak peek at this groundbreaking open-world Star Wars game during the Ubisoft Forward 2024 event, and let me tell you, I need a copy of it, stat. From daring heists to adrenaline-pumping space battles, the gameplay promises a wealth of diverse experiences, all centred around the dynamic duo of Kay Vess and her trusty (and adorable) companion, Nix.

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The hype around this game is off the charts, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not just the GTA-esque gameplay or the expansive universe that has people buzzing; it’s the fact that we finally have a woman of colour as the protagonist. This game promises to deliver a fresh, exhilarating experience in the Star Wars universe, and so far, I’m obsessed.

Speaking with Creative Director Julian Gerighty, we chatted about all things Outlaws, from the inception of Kay Vess’ character to the challenges of crafting an open-world adventure set in the Star Wars universe, and more.

What to Expect in Star Wars Outlaws

Before we dive into that, what exactly is Star Wars Outlaws about? Set between the iconic events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Outlaws promises a gripping tale of rebellion and liberation. In a galaxy rife with turmoil and conflict, Kay and Nix navigate treacherous waters, dreaming of freedom amidst the chaos. Their journey is one of audacious heists, perilous encounters, and the constant threat of both the Empire and criminal syndicates.

From heart-pounding space dogfights to nail-biting stealth missions, the gameplay offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Armed with an impressive array of gadgets and weapons, including blasters and smoke bombs, Kay is a force to be reckoned with. However, it’s her trusty companion Nix who steals the show, with their keen senses and nimble manoeuvres proving invaluable in the face of danger.

A Tale of Freedom and Adventure

As the gaming world eagerly awaits its next big adventure, Ubisoft’s Star Wars Outlaws emerges as a beacon of innovation and excitement. Stepping away from the familiar Jedi-centric narratives, this game invites players into the thrilling underworld of the Star Wars universe, where the scoundrel Kay Vess and her endearing companion Nix reign supreme.What sets Star Wars Outlaws apart from its predecessors? According to Julian Gerighty, it all boils down to one word: freedom.

“We actually started off with, OK, we’re gonna make open world because that was our skill set,” Gerighty shared. “That’s what we knew how to do.”


It’s More Than Just the First Open-World Star Wars Game

But it wasn’t just about creating another open-world title. It was about capturing the essence of the scoundrel lifestyle, the thrill of living on the fringes of society.

“We wanted to make sure that [Kay’s] reputation with the syndicates was at the heart of the experience,” he elaborated. “So every quest we’re gonna give you, there’ll be a dilemma and that dilemma is, do I side with these guys? Do I backstab these guys? What do I do?”

But amidst the adrenaline-pumping action and tough decisions, Gerighty stressed the importance of storytelling. “We wanted to tell a super compelling story with a character that was different, relatable and super ambitious, super inspiring at the end of the day.”

And as we’ve seen in Star Wars Outlaws so far, Kay is no mere pawn in the game; she’s a force to be reckoned with. Armed to the teeth with everything from data spikes to grappling hooks, she’s a formidable adversary. But let’s not forget her secret weapon: Nix, the furry little troublemaker whose sharp senses and nimble moves make all the difference in dodging danger.

The Vision Behind Kay Vess

Contrary to conventional notions of strength, Gerighty emphasised relatability as the cornerstone of Kay’s character development. Kay Vess isn’t the typical stoic, unflappable hero. Instead, she’s flawed, relatable, and dynamic.

“I never thought of her as super strong as in, that’s not the defining feature there. I think it’s much more, what we were aiming for is super relatable. So it’s not perfect… She’s not particularly cool. You know, when you first meet Han Solo, he’s the coolest guy in the galaxy,” Julian said.

“But it’s so competent, so cool, that it creates a little bit of distance between you as a player and that character. And we wanted to make that much shorter by creating somebody who wasn’t perfect, who had flaws, who threw herself into things.”

Empowering Representation

As Gerighty further emphasised, Kay Vess’s narrative arc mirrors a transformative journey of self-discovery and growth. Her character embodies empowerment and resilience, challenging players to navigate the complexities of morality and choice in a galaxy fraught with danger and intrigue.

“This is almost an origin story, like a coming of age sort of thing,” he shared. “You start off as a sort of street thief pulling off small cons in a very closed location with dreams of exploring and freedom and everything.”

“You’re catapulted into this sort of huge adventure with galactic stakes, but it’s not necessarily what you wanted to do,” Gerighty continued. “What you wanted was freedom. What you wanted was to be left alone, what you wanted to was to explore. It wasn’t to, you know, face off against some of the biggest criminal syndicates in the galaxy.”

Breaking Boundaries

Playing through the game, it’s clear that Star Wars Outlaws is more than just another action-RPG; it’s making a statement. Sure, there’s been some backlash from certain parts of the gaming community, with the usual complaints about the protagonist’s gender and ethnicity. But for me, and many others, Kay Vess represents a much-needed shift in the gaming landscape. It’s exhilarating to see a character who looks different from the usual male leads we’ve grown used to.


Addressing the Critics

Of course, there have been the usual complaints: “What if I relate to male characters more because I’m a man?” or “It’s unrealistic for a woman to survive alone in the Star Wars underworld.” These arguments totally miss the point. Video games, like all media, are about experiencing diverse stories and perspectives. It’s not about seeing a mirror image of oneself in every protagonist. Moreover, there are countless examples of strong, capable women in both fiction and reality who have thrived in challenging environments.

And for those insisting “all video game characters are women now”, that’s just not true. There are plenty of games with male protagonists. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, released just last year, featured the male character Cal Kestis. The variety in gaming characters is growing, but it’s far from being skewed towards female leads.

Star Wars Outlaws Release Date

With its release slated for August 30, 2024, on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC, Star Wars Outlaws is shaping up to be one of the most exciting games of the year. The prospect of exploring an open-world Star Wars game with such a dynamic and groundbreaking protagonist is incredibly exciting. The story, the characters, and the gameplay mechanics all point to a game that is set to redefine what we expect from Star Wars titles.

So, as we inch closer to the game’s release, I can’t help but feel a mix of excitement and hope. Kay Vess is more than just a character; she’s a symbol of progress in the gaming industry. Her presence challenges the status quo and opens the door for more diverse and inclusive storytelling in the future. I can’t wait to dive into this new adventure and see where Kay’s journey takes us. This is a game that promises to be as groundbreaking as it is fun, and I’m all in.

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