Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will feature a fully-fledged singleplayer campaign that bridges the 30-year gap between Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Episode VII: The Force Awakens. While penning and plotting the story arc, EA's Criterion studio worked closely alongside Lucasfilm and analyzed the old original trilogy for inspiration, hinting the campaign should hearken back to the original Star Wars magic.
What interests me the most about Battlefront 2 is the singleplayer campaign. Spec Ops: The Line writer Walt Williams help plan out a 30-year multi-perspective story arc that shows the fall of the Empire from the eyes of the Imperial forces, and how they carried on, emperor-less, scrapping together the rubble and ruins to eventually make The First Order.
EA says the story is "emotionally gripping" and features "revenge, betrayal, and redemption." Players will literally be turned to the dark side for the campaign, humanizing a foe that's always been the villain...but the intrigue thickens as we take the role of characters like Luke Skywalker, and even Kylo Ren.
To weave this interconnected 30-year story--and make no mistake, the campaign is indeed a full story that spans three decades--Criterion looked closely at everything that made the original Star Wars story so great.
"We take all of our cues from how to tell a Star Wars story working with Lucasfilm story group, analysing the movies, breaking down the beats and flow of Star Wars storytelling," Battlefront 2 single player game director Mark Thompson told Eurogamer in a recent interview.
"So yeah, it is a continuous story with a beginning, middle and end and you follow Iden's journey for 30 years from the end of Jedi up to the Force Awakens at Starkiller base. It isn't a discrete set of missions or separate War Stories like Battlefield 1, you do follow Iden through this journey whilst from time to time, switching sides and playing from the perspective of one of the iconic heroes because again that's just part of Battlefront's DNA.
"Sometimes you're a Trooper, sometimes you're a pilot and sometimes you're Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber."
"We never describe the Empire as the bad guys. We never say Iden is a villain. We present the other side of the conflict."
That sounds like a recipe for a pretty promising experience. In fact, what EA's Criterion team is doing reminds me of what Visceral Games' Amy Hennig is doing to ensure the studio's new Star Wars game captures the magic of the original films.
"We're writing an original Star Wars story, with new characters, new locations, new tech, new creatures...you name it," Hennig said at last year's Star Wars Celebration.
"Our game is a long ways out, we don't have a name yet, but we've been working hard on it and digging in with our partners at Lucasfilm. It's critical to have this collaborative relationship with our partners at Lucasfilm. All of it has to sit authentically alongside the stuff people know now."
Matt Fillbrandt, the executive producer for Lucasfilm's games team, spoke about the things Amy is doing to ensure Visceral's new Star Wars game is as authentic as possible.
"We've seen some of the methodology that Amy brings to the table...and really, there's no leaf unturned...looking at the Star Wars films, the pace of the stories...it's really impressive to watch her look at this stuff and how she breaks things down. She's really serious about wanting to bring that authentic experience."
I'd like to think EA's studios are doing their best to make their respective Star Wars games into hand-crafted experiences rather than cash grabs, but as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. While Battlefront 2's campaign might be stellar, I fully expect the game to have microtransactions in some way or form to counter-balance the game's apparently nixed season pass.
No matter what the studios do or how much effort and work they put into the games, the bottom line is that EA calls the shots, and that's what worries me.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will release on November 17, 2017 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Check below for a huge listing of everything we know about the game so far.
Battlefront 2 details
- Full singleplayer campaign that bridges Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, play as Imperial special forces commander Iden Versio
- New heroes from across all three eras: Darth Maul, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren and Rey confirmed
- Maps from all three eras: prequel, original trilogy, expanded universe - Theed, Takodana, Hoth, Endor, Kamino, Mos Eisley, Yavin-4 and Starkiller Base confirmed
- 20 vs 20 multiplayer mode
- Galactic space battles
- Offline 2-player split-screen co-op
- Customizable characters and heroes
- No season pass, but may have microtransactions
- EA Access and Origin Access subscribers get 8-day early access trial starting Nov 9
- Releases Nov 17, 2017 on PS4, Xbox One and PC
Battlefront 2 coverage
- EA may monetize Battlefront 2's class unlockables via microtransactions
- Battlefront 2 revealed, coming November 17
- Battlefront 2 may have microtransactions
- Battlefront 2 features 40-player multiplayer mode
- New Battlefront 2 screenshots released
- EA Access and Origin Access subscribers can try Battlefront 2 a week early
- Battlefront 2 campaign will be an emotional multi-perspective story
- DICE confirms Battlefront 2 will have dedicated servers, but may not have server browser on PC