Star Wars Celebration happened Thursday-Sunday as multitudes of fans descended upon Orlando to view interviews with beloved actors and the reveal trailer for The Last Jedi. The reveal of Episode VIII was extremely exciting, and it paired perfectly with Saturday’s official reveal of Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Announced during a livestream panel, Battlefront II brought together developers from the three main studios. That’s right, unlike the first Battlefront, the sequel is actually being developed by three different teams in Criterion, Motive Studios (part of EA Montreal), and DICE.
DICE is working on multiplayer, while Criterion is handling all of the vehicular combat, and Motive is crafting the single player campaign. Multiplayer was discussed at points during the panel, but single player actually took center stage as the panel started with the official reveal trailer.
As you can see, the trailer kicks off with footage of Endor, the second Death Star, and Starkiller Base. It then reveals the new playable character who is a special forces Stormtrooper. She watches the Death Star explode and says that they will avenge the Emperor. This brief glimpse sets the stage for the new campaign before the trailer focuses on the different vehicles and eras in play.
From what we could tell, Battlefront II will have more playable characters than its predecessor. The heroes shown in the trailer were Luke, Rey, Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, and Yoda. The trailer also showed off returning hero ships as the Millennium Falcon was shown flying across a big lake with Tie Fighters in pursuit.
After such a reveal trailer, it was expected that there would be tons of questions. Luckily, the panel took time to explain multiple plot points and revealed the new hero’s identity. This new character is named Iden Versio and is described as being that hero of the Empire that inspires children to enter the Imperial Academy and become fearsome soldiers. As commander of the fearsome Inferno Squad, her journey begins right as Return of the Jedi ends. Versio must take control of her squad and lead them on a journey of revenge against the Rebellion. She is aided by a custom ship that looks like the amalgamation of a Tie Fighter and Star Destroyer as well as dozens of troops. There is also a mysterious red character that displays holograms of Emperor Palpatine’s face. We don’t know how prominent this character will be in the campaign, but it seems fairly major considering that Versio wants to avenge Palpatine.
And for those asking, this campaign isn’t viewed as playing as “bad guys”. No, the Imperial characters and worlds actually view the Rebellion as terrorists and the Inferno Squad as the pseudo-police force that keeps the peace. This is especially true in new areas like the planet of Vardos that serves as an Imperial hub.
Of course, Vardos isn’t the only new area that will take center stage in Battlefront II. The developers actually revealed that multiple new planets would be included in both single player and multiplayer, along with some classics. Hoth in particular will be one of the main levels, but it won’t be the same as the original version. Battlefront II will now feature rideable mounts like Tauntauns that will come in handy in the battle against the Empire. The trailer actually showed off a tauntaun running over an Imperial trooper, which could be so entertaining during big battles.
Possibly the best part of this panel came when Steve Blank of Lucasfilm confirmed that Battlefront II’s campaign is actually canon and will mean more than previous novels. Blank went on to explain that the campaign will span 30 years during an unspecified number of chapters. The campaign may follow Versio, but she won’t be the only playable character. Blank actually revealed that some chapters would focus on both Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren, putting you in control of the hero and villain.
After the exciting reveal, the panel shifted gears and focused on the newer multiplayer aspects.
As far as multiplayer goes, split-screen coop (on consoles only) and 40-player battles will thankfully be returning, along with some updates. The biggest change is the addition of the long-requested space dogfights, with up to 24 players fighting it out between asteroids and capital ships. The other big change is that every era of Star Wars will be playable, including the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy, and the current trilogy. Each era will include special characters and environments, as well as hero vehicles. Some early concept art showed off Jango Fett’s ship chasing Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter through the skies of Kamino. Hopefully, this will include the characters from Rogue One like the Death Star DLC did in the original Battlefront. Finally, DICE revealed that the different characters would be broken up into different characters classes including snipers and infantry. The concept art showed a rebel sniper, a First Order Stormtrooper, an Imperial officer, and a battle droid.
For a reveal, this was substantially more in-depth than I would have originally expected. The panel of developers revealed all manner of details and showed off some exciting updates. Sure, the prequels weren’t great, but Kamino is a cool setting for gigantic battles. Plus, playing as battle droids should be entertaining considering that they don’t move or function like the clones or regular troopers. The most exciting news is that the space battles are showing up. Hopefully, they play like expanded versions of the battles in the original Battlefront II.
Star Wars: Battlefront II releases on November 17, 2017, right before the release of Episode VIII. Those that pre-order the game will get access to unique outfits for Rey and Kylo Ren.