In a new video from Ubisoft about its upcoming Star Wars game, the publisher talked about creating an authentic Star Wars experience. As part of this, Outlaws will feature Tatooine, the galaxy’s most famous (and overused) desert planet.
In June, Ubisoft announced Star Wars Outlaws, a new open-world action game that takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and stars scoundrel and thief Kay Vess. And because this is Star Wars, a franchise built on ragtag groups of people coming together, you won’t be alone: you’ll have a cute alien pet and an (according to the internet) oddly sexy droid partner. It all looks great, and for many fans of the sci-fi series, it’s the open-world Star Wars game they’ve been craving for decades. And if you were worried that this big, new Star Wars game wouldn’t feature Tatooine, well, good(?) news: It does. Of course, it does.
In their July 23 video, Massive and Ubisoft revealed that Tatooine, first seen in the original Star Wars film A New Hope, will be one of the vast worlds players can visit and explore in Star Wars Outlaws. That’s fine, I guess. But it’s getting really weird how this little backwater world is apparently the center of everything.
Massive says players will be able to visit Mos Eisley, another town that Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker visit in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. It also seems that Jabba The Hutt will be hanging out on the famous planet, likely ready to make a deal with players or screw them over if you don’t do what he wants. He’s a cranky alien.
“It’s not just about recreating Tatooine as you know it,” said Outlaws’ art and world director, Benedikt Podlesnigg. “Going back to the classic sources of spaghetti westerns, we tried to recreate an authentic mood and feel as we build new points of interest to follow the already established history.”
And while that all sounds good and nice, I’m really getting tired of having to re-explore Tatooine every time a new Star Wars movie or game launches. Even if Ubisoft promises new areas and ideas, it’s still that same dust ball that’s been overrepresented in that famous galaxy so far, far away.
Please, stop making me visit Tatooine
Look, I’m a Star Wars nerd. I get why so many movies, TV shows, comics and games keep coming back to Tatooine. The desert planet is iconic. It’s one of the very first things we ever saw in Star Wars. It set the tone for the franchise and helped inspire the look of the series moving forward. Even people who don’t know much about Star Wars know about the desert planet with the two suns and the cantina. So to us fans of the franchise, it’s an important place.
But in Star Wars, Tatooine was originally meant to be an out-of-the-way planet that nobody really cares much about. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan literally says it is “small” and “out of the way.” It’s a poor, crime-riddled wasteland that very few people in the entire galaxy know about or care to visit. It’s such a backwater planet that Obi-Wan can hide out there mostly undetected.
However, today, after decades of Star Wars media setting stories on Tatooine, Obi-Wan is starting to look like a fool. The dude apparently picked one of the busiest and most famous planets in the universe to hide Luke and himself on. Whoops!
I understand that for many creators—given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to recreate or revisit any planet in the galaxy—Tatooine is the dream. The most iconic and well-known planet in one of the biggest franchises in human history. The birthplace of the series, the home of Anakin Skywalker, the hiding place of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the first world where we met Han Solo, etc.
Let’s visit some other planets or even some new places
Yet, because everyone so badly wants to revisit Tatooine and tell new stories about the world, it’s turned the place into the most boring and uninteresting location in the galaxy. Every time someone like The Mandalorian, a new character in this universe, shows up and hangs out on Tatooine—often visiting a few key locations for fan service—I sigh and roll my eyes.
There are so many worlds in Star Wars that are equally cool and filled with possibility. If you have to revisit a previously seen location, go somewhere else. Let’s go explore Utapu or Naboo or Ryloth. Maybe check out Nar Shadda? Returning to the same world over and over isn’t just boring, it makes the universe feel smaller and smaller.
To be fair to Massive and Ubisoft, Star Wars Outlaws also features a new world, as explained in the behind-the-scenes video. And I think that new planet, Toshara, looks great! I love the idea of creating a new Star Wars planet inspired by the African Savannah. That’s a legitimately fresh and exciting place that I want to explore.
As for Tatooine, well, I’ve been a Star Wars fan my whole life. And that’s long enough to know that I’ll be visiting Tatooine in video games, books, comics, and movies until the day I die. That damn desert planet is just too popular for its own good.