While excited fans were teased with a leaked trailer last week, solid details on the forthcoming Star Wars Battlefront II were in short supply. Fortunately, EA’s gave us plenty of information at this year’s Star Wars Celebration. The series is being shaken up and expanded upon in several new and exciting ways. It’s looking like this will shape up to be the experience many hoped 2015’s franchise-reboot Star Wars Battlefront was going to be.
While Battlefront games have always been noteworthy for their exceptional multiplayer, EA has clearly listened to their fans and is tacking a robust single-player campaign onto the core game. In an exciting twist, the campaign will be experienced from the perspective of the Empire.
The story begins immediately after the second Death Star’s destruction. Iden Versio – a solider in the never-before-seen Inferno Squad – was stationed on Endor when the space station was destroyed. Versio vows to avenge her Emperor and to continue the war in his absence. Along with her team of elite squad, Versio will use her abilities of infiltration and sabotage to bring the Rebellion to its knees.
While Versio will presumably work with her squad throughout the game, we don’t know much about them yet. What we do know is that she’ll be accompanied by a small helper droid inspired by the ID9 droid from the Star Wars Rebels tv show. This companion will be customizable and should be extremely useful throughout the game.
Portraying the Empire in a positive light – and the Rebellion in a negative one – is exciting territory rarely covered by the movies or the games. In this game, rebels are essentially terrorists, and playing as the Imperials won’t necessarily feel like playing as “the bad guys.” Occasionally the game will flip to a Rebellion perspective so we can see the other side of the war. Despite the fresh perspective, the game is still considered canon. EA is working with Lucasfilm to ensure Battlefront fits with their overall vision for the franchise.
Unlike its predecessor, Battlefront II will span all generations of Star Wars’ conflicts. The game celebrates Star Wars 40th anniversary by allowing players to shoot each other in any of the films’ prominent eras: from the Clone Wars to The Last Jedi. This extends to heroes also as Rey, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Yoda have all been confirmed. In certain modes, these heroes can be mixed and matched creating fanfiction-level battles between Darth Maul and Luke Skywalker.
EA claims that individual soldiers will be stronger this time around and will be able to turn the tide individually with more ease. To that end, EA is also reintroducing classes giving players more control over their loadouts and playstyle. So far, these classes include: officer, assault, heavy, and specialist. Heroes will also be more accessible to every player – rather than just spawned at random on the map – though we don’t exactly know how that’ll work yet.
Space battles will be included, and much more attention is being paid to individual ships this time around. Vehicles can be upgraded over time just like typical infantry classes.
Multiplayer battles will have the potential to be huge, with some game modes capping out at 40 players. Confirmed maps so far are: Theed, Starkiller Base, Takodana, Hoth, Yavin, Tatooine, Endor, and Kamino. Every era appears to be well represented.
The original Star Wars Battlefront II is considered by many to be one of the original Xbox’s crowning achievements. The Battlefront reboot – while fun in its own way – failed to match the epic feel of the original. While not an outright failure, it was something of a let down for the well-respected series.
Everything we’re hearing out of EA sounds like they heard their fans. The fact that four separate studios (DICE on multiplayer, Motive Studios teaming with Lucasfilm on the single-player and story, and Criterion Games on vehicles) have been enlisted to build the game points to its massive scope. The inclusion of true single player – with offline, couch co-op no less – is sure to breathe new life into a franchise often criticized for being low on content. That, paired with a robust multiplayer overhaul, all points to a game that looks mighty impressive. We surely can’t wait to put our boots on the ground and a blaster in our hands.