Things are pretty great for Star Wars fans at the moment: not only are new films coming on the regular, according to EA’s Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen there are going to be a handful of games from various studios too.
The next exciting title in the Star Wars franchise is, of course, EA Dice’s Battlefront 2, the sequel to the franchise reboot first released in 2015.
When it was first released, Star Wars Battlefront received a mixed reception with some praising how it captured the Star Wars atmosphere perfectly with its excellent cinematic visuals while others bemoaned its repetitive combat and limited depth and content.
In spite of criticisms, the game still sold over 14 million copies and counting. With a sequel on the way, though, EA has the chance to learn from the first release and create something bigger and better.
If these words from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen are anything to go by, that’s exactly what we’re going to get: “If there was criticism, they just wanted more. So we’re taking that criticism to heart as we build the next game and trying to address any of the issues that they had.”
And address it they have.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to the multiplayer-focused shooter Star Wars Battlefront
- When can I play it? November 17 2017
- What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC
Trailers and screenshots
The Star Wars Battlefront 2 trailer has been a story in and of itself. First we saw leaked version before the trailer was originally set to launch before it was pulled down much to our chagrin. But that all changed on April 15 when we got the official trailer during a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando.
The trailer gives fans a glimpse of the game’s single-player campaign which it appears will revolve around an “untold soldier’s story” in the Empire. As well as this single-player campaign that appears to be set in the period following the Empire’s defeat at Endor, there’ll also be a multiplayer mode of the game which will span “across all eras.”
This means we’ll see locations and characters from the series’ original trilogy as well as the prequels and new films. The trailer gives us a look at characters like Rey, Kylo Ren, Yoda and Darth Maul across a variety of locations. It also looks like there will indeed be exciting space battles involved.
Turns out, November and December are going to be great months for Star Wars fans. Star Wars Battlefront 2 will see a worldwide release on November 17 2017, followed shortly by the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode 8 The Last Jedi one month later on December 15.
What this means is that the game will be out slightly ahead of the movie – and thus has the potential to give us a brief look at new locations and new ships from the upcoming film. That being said, those who pre-order the game will have access to two new skins – Episode 8 variations of Kylo Ren and Rey – as well as two new ships – the Episode 8 variation of the Millennium Falcon and a yet undisclosed ship from the new movie.
What we know we’ll see
Thanks to the Star Wars Celebration panel, we now have expert insight into what we can expect when the game comes out. There are two important new additions here: a story mode and space battles.
Let’s start first by looking at the game’s new single-player mode.
In it, you’ll play as Iden Versio, a member of the Imperial Forces elite ops unit called Inferno Squad, a combination of expert Tie Pilots and covert commandos. During the trailer for the game we watch Iden witness the destruction of the second Death Star above the moon of Endor. Without direct missions from the now-deceased Emperor, Iden leads her squad on a mission of revenge to try and quell the Rebellion.
To that end, Battlefront II will occupy the time between the sixth film of the franchise, Return of the Jedi, and the seventh film, The Force Awakens.
After the battle on Endor, players will travel to Iden’s homeworld, a planet that has been under Imperial control for the entirety of her life. Instead of an martial law-loving Imperial city that we’ve seen in the past, however, Ida’s homeworld has come to embrace and love the Empire. This love hits home the theme that the single-player campaign is going for, which is that yes, the Rebellion had heroes, but so did the Empire.
Considering the Motive development team has been brought in to work on the single-player specifically, there’s little chance of it feeling like a tacked on afterthought and we’re excited to see how this will play out.
This is certainly interesting – the original DICE title limited players to characters within the series’ original trilogy but from what we can see from the leaked trailer the sequel is going to open up even further and explore characters, locations and events from the new films and prequel trilogy too.
That means that in addition to characters like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo and Boba Fett, players will get to take control of characters such as Rey, Kyrlo Ren, Yoda and Darth Maul.
The other interesting addition in this iteration will be space battles. These will be developed by Criterion and will allow players to engage in epic dogfights over some of the most iconic battlefields in the Star Wars universe.
Will there be VR?
It’s been revealed that Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission developer Criterion is involved in the development of Battlefront 2 which points to the idea that there will perhaps be some VR content involved with the game, or at least the addition of some epic space battle missions.
It’s perfectly possible that we could see optional VR side content like that released previously but we’d also like to think that Criterion is helping to work on some epic space dog fights with the expertise gained from the X-Wing Mission development process.
There was space combat in the first game but from what we can see from the leaked trailer it looks like this feature has been expanded to be more impressive and open.
What we’d like to see
Diversity in game modes
It’s not that there was a dearth of modes in the first Battlefront game, but after a while they all began to feel very similar. Something we’d really like to see in Battlefront 2 is either more game modes that feel a little different or at the very least the same number of game modes, just with some tweaks to make them feel a little more distinct from one another.
Some free or cheaper content
The original Battlefront has free content and that’s great but the content it charges for felt slightly too expensive, especially alongside the use of micro-transactions. So, what can the sequel do to change that?
Well, first off, eliminating paid DLC would be a good first step – and, from the sounds of it, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. According to IGN, Star Wars Battlefront II won’t offer a season pass this time around, meaning that DLC will most likely be supplied for free.
The DLC for the first game was pretty pricey considering the cost of the original game but for many players it became a necessary purchase to continue enjoying the game as older maps lost their popularity and it became a struggle to find good matches using them.
Our last request is for split-screen co-op. This was an important feature of the first two games made by Pandemic, and yet wasn’t included in the series’ return.
Allowing two players to use the same screen (what we refer to endearingly as couch co-op) harkens back to the game’s original design philosophy and will surely make long-time fans of the series happy. And really, don’t we all want to be happy?