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Star Wars: Hunters is likely not so free to play

Gaming

Star Wars: Hunters is likely not so free to play

Is the latest game from a galaxy far, far away really free?

Star Wars: Hunters, a free-to-play first-person shooter, was announced for a 2021 release during the latest Nintendo Direct livestream. The announcement was accompanied by a brief, albeit flashy, trailer.

Very few details have been made available about the new game so far, aside from a 2021 release on the Nintendo Switch alongside iOS and Android devices. According to LucasFilm Games’ Twitter account, the game will take place after the Galactic Civil War in a secluded battle arena somewhere in the Outer Rim territories.

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There have been no confirmed characters or factions, however, the trailer does offer a glimpse of a Gatling-blaster wielding stormtrooper, a Wookie warrior, a Beskar-clad gunfighter, and what appears to be some kind of Sith (or at the very least a retired Inquisitor. They have a red lightsaber, okay?).

We also see the doors open to some sort of battle arena as a massive crowd cheers, accompanied by a hail of blaster fire and the sight of one blue lightsaber illuminating through the smoky chaos of the battle. There is no gameplay footage available.

So, as I said, there are not many details available yet. What we do know is that the game is being developed by Zynga, a company best known for mobile games FarmVille, Words with Friends, and Zynga Poker.

Star Wars
Zynga’s roster of games is… less than enticing.

Zynga isn’t exactly a studio renowned for AAA experiences, so it’s hard to blame any Star Wars fans for being skeptical about this game. Couple the developer’s experience with the nature of free-to-play games and Star Wars games’ controversial history with microtransactions, and Star Wars fans have every right to question the earnestness of Hunters.

Despite all logic telling me to not get even remotely excited for this title, I’m going to give it a fair shake — and not just because I am a shameless Star Wars fanboy. No, I’ll give this game a chance because I had similarly low expectations for Star Wars: Squadrons, and the final product ended up being my second favorite game of 2020. I still play it on a daily basis.

Besides, this is a free-to-play game, so expectations should already be properly managed. Unlike Battlefront 2, you don’t have to shell out $60 at launch to gain access to a game that immediately bombards you with even more attempts at getting inside your wallet. The game is free. Zero dollars. Costs nothing except the time to install it to your Switch or mobile device.

So once you boot the game up, you should absolutely expect immediate microtransaction offers to fill your screen. I don’t want to hear any complaints about this game having microstransactions — how the heck else is a free game supposed to generate revenue? The best part about microtransactions is that they’re completely optional too. It’s shocking, I know, but you actually don’t have to buy anything in free-to-play games.

Do I think this game is going to be a masterpiece? Of course not. I don’t think it will come even remotely close to the quality of Squadrons. But, given how critical I was of Squadrons versus how much I still enjoy the game post-launch, I am willing to give this game the benefit of the doubt.

Even if I get bored of it after a couple of hours, that will be a couple of hours spent in the galaxy far, far away, which sure beats the reality we currently find ourselves in. Why not give it a shot when it releases? It won’t cost you a thing.

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