You don't level up in Star Wars Outlaws like most Ubisoft RPGs – you unlock skills and upgrade gear by meeting "full-on characters" and completing their "adventures"

Star Wars Outlaws key art
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Star Wars Outlaws has been positioned as something of a shift for Ubisoft's well-worn open-world formula, and part of that shake-up comes through in character progression that's free of levels and stat boosts and instead anchored in more natural upgrades tied to bespoke experiences. 

Speaking with IGN, Star Wars Outlaws game director Mathias Karlson explains that unlocking skills and upgrading gear for protagonist Kay mostly boils down to meeting "full-on characters," not simple vendors or one-note NPCs, and completing missions for them. 

"So they're spread out in the world and you don't know exactly who they are, what exactly they have to offer you and how to reach them from the very beginning," Karlson says. "So there's this journey of discovery here as well. And once you reach them, there's a character there to interact with and an adventure to go on because they won’t instantly just, oh, here you go. And then they essentially open up a little regional progression for you where the nature of those things is also very tangible."

IGN's report offers the example of a Jawa who you can find by following info sourced at a local cantina, and whose mission – extracting a tooth from a Sarlacc carcass – unlocks a new turret for your starship. The idea, it seems, is for Kay's progression to fit with your experience out in the world, not as a systems-driven pile of numbers and menus ticking up behind the scenes. 

Narrative director Navid Khavari shared another example: "You can go on a journey with a character such as an expert who is going to teach Kay a new skill and give her a new upgrade to her blaster. Now, that skill, that upgrade definitely ties into Kay pulling off the heist, but it's also very much its own journey, which is in the Star Wars tradition as well."

We got some hands-on time with this space odyssey last month, and in our Star Wars Outlaws preview ended up escaping an Imperial space station, swiping a relic, and falling in love with Kay and Nix's teamwork. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.