Star Wars Outlaws Preview – Meet Kay And Nix

By admin Apr17,2024

As you navigate the galaxy in Star Wars Outlaws, you do so as Kay Vess, a pickpocket-turned-thief who gets in over her head and winds up with a bounty on her head. Early in conversations, Lucasfilm Games and developer Massive Entertainment agreed that telling a scoundrel story was the way to go. Through these discussions, Massive decided it wanted to portray a “resourceful underdog” for its main character rather than the trained soldiers that star in The Division.

A Scoundrel Experience

In the various meetings with Lucasfilm Games, Massive Entertainment looked at the various archetypes available to players in the Star Wars tabletop RPGs, including Jedi, spies, operatives, and more. Massive wanted to create a game with a unique perspective within that universe. Several games put you in the shoes of lightsaber-wielding Jedi or the Empire-fighting Rebel, but fewer let you play as the archetype that stuck out to Massive: the scoundrel.

In the Star Wars galaxy, the scoundrel is personified by Han Solo, but even though this story takes place during the Original Trilogy, Massive didn’t want to retread that ground by making a Han Solo game. “Not once did that come up,” creative director Julian Gerighty says. “We wanted to tell different stories with different main actors, as well.”

“We felt that one of the venues in Star Wars that, especially recently, hasn’t been explored as much is that of the scoundrel character,” associate narrative director John Björling says. “A relatable character, a rookie kind of taking their first steps into the galaxy, exploring the world, and really getting involved with the people and factions that make up the fabric of the galaxy. That was something that we knew very early on we wanted to pursue: to have that personal story and really make the galaxy come to life.”

Once Massive set its sights on a scoundrel experience set during the beloved Original Trilogy between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it needed to create the right character for the adventure. “A scrappy underdog is going to use every trick in the book to get out of a tricky situation,” Gerighty says. “Sometimes, a scoundrel should avoid getting into combat, so stealth became incredibly important for us as well.”

Kay Vess

To that end, Kay Vess started out as a mere pickpocket growing up in the worker’s district of Canto Bight, the planet most known for the casino scene in The Last Jedi, but after graduating to full-on thief and getting in with the wrong crowd and having a bounty placed on her head, she has to pull off the ultimate heist to attain freedom. Because of her resourcefulness, cunning, and scrappiness, she can approach situations through both stealth and gunslinging; the choice is often up to the player.

Her rough and tumble upbringing equips her well for her adventures, and the team reflects that background in her visual design. “We put a lot of care into her design and what she’s wearing and how she looks to tell her story,” associate art director Marthe Jonkers says. “She has a lot of elements in her design that tell a bit of her story. For example, she has a broken nose. She’s been through a lot; you can see that she has scars and stuff. She also has a hairpin; I love that element because she uses that to lockpick doors, and you can use that from the beginning to do some thieving.”

The team clicked particularly well with Kay because she’s neither a Jedi with superhuman reflexes nor one of the greatest fighters or pilots in the galaxy. “I think it’s very relatable as a human being on planet Earth that this character doesn’t have any magical powers or properties beyond her daring, her skills, her tools, and her buddy Nix,” game director Mathias Karlson says. “The personality type is also perfectly suited for going on a swashbuckling adventure. I think that’s something I really resonated with thinking about this character in terms of building a game and gameplay around it.”

“I think she’s a much more modern protagonist than we usually see in games,” Gerighty says. “She’s somebody who is very much a street thief who gets thrown into things that are beyond her control, and that she kind of has to think her way out of, and that makes it a little bit more relatable than somebody who has all the confidence and sarcasm and just comes off as somebody who is not believable. So having her be relatable in that way was something extremely important for us.”

Nix

But Kay is not the only protagonist in Star Wars Outlaws. Massive looks at Kay and Nix as dual protagonists. As such, players are always in control of Nix as well, since Kay has the ability to send him off to perform tasks like pressing buttons, retrieving items, and distracting enemies. “Nix comes from a real gameplay need, which is to give the scoundrel character a little bit more reach, a little bit more possibilities while going through the environments while sneaking and while fighting,” Gerighty says. “We really considered them as a scoundrel/thief duo. And Nix is absolutely adorable towards Kay, but very fierce and protective as well, so he has two sides to his personality, and we’re very proud of what we created.”

Nix is a merqaal, a new species created by Massive in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. Nix comes from an unknown rainforest planet, but at a certain point, Kay and Nix meet and become partners. When creating Nix’s design, Massive looked toward the various pets that members of the team have in their households. “Basically, he has something of all our pets in there,” Jonkers says. “Everybody had a bit of an influence on that, I would say. But also real-world animals, for example. We really wanted him to be very helpful to Kay, so he could pick up things so we looked at lemurs or monkeys. But the other side we wanted him to also have a bit of a tough side, so he has some skills, and is more reptile-inspired.”

Another crucial part of Nix’s design is his ears, which help him express his emotions and mood. “When Kay’s sneaking around, you will see that he’ll put them onto his body and make a smaller silhouette,” Jonkers says. “When he’s alert, he will put them up, and I think that’s also a unique element to Nix that really gives him a lot of personality.”

When I ask if the relationship between Kay and Nix is similar to that of Han Solo and Chewbacca, Jonkers quips, “I always say, ‘Kay’s not a Solo, Kay’s a duo.'” 

“We have Kay as the main character, but it’s actually Kay and Nix,” Jonkers continues. “They are the main character. We really wanted to bring this unique duo as the main character to the Star Wars galaxy. They work together a lot, and Nix helps you, but he’s really her buddy. […] That relationship and having this duo is what makes Kay a very unique character, like a unique scoundrel. She’s not on her own. She’s not doing this all by herself. She actually has her partner in crime. That brings a unique take on the scoundrel archetype.”

For more on how the gameplay between Kay and Nix works, be sure to check out our hands-on preview here. Star Wars Outlaws arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on August 30. For more, be sure to visit our exclusive coverage hub through the banner below!

By admin

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