The Star Wars Battlefront trailer dropped today at the Star Wars Celebration event. I don’t really have anything insightful to say about this, and keeping you updated on breaking news isn’t really the point of this blog, but I’m too excited for this game to not post something about it. With the new Zelda game delayed into 2016, Battlefront is officially my most-anticipated game of 2015. I’m trying to go full embargo on Episode VII – a task that’s proving a lot harder than it was in 2005 for Episode III – so, after an excruciating day yesterday of seeing everyone on Facebook super jazzed about the footage that I won’t see (Internet willing) until December, it’s nice to have a Star Wars trailer I can watch. Over and over. And what a trailer!
They’re emphasizing Endor here (or the Sanctuary Moon, if you prefer) because, I’d assume, it shows off the Frostbite engine a bit better than the frozen expanse of Hoth does, and the speederbike chase in Return of the Jedi is one of the best action scenes ever put to film. The trailer advertises this as in-engine footage and, according to Gamespot, the video is from a PS4. While that isn’t the same thing as gameplay footage, it still should be pretty representative of what the final game looks like. Right? There are supposed to be 40-person battles in this thing, and I didn’t see anywhere in that trailer where the system was rendering anything close to 40 people at once, so I expect a bit of a fidelity drop, but I still think this will be pretty close to what gameplay looks like. E3 is in two months, and I’d imagine that Battlefront will be playable there, or that there will at least be a much more in-depth look with extended gameplay footage. When studios release crazy, pie-in-the-sky pre-rendered videos of what they hope a game might possibly but definitely won’t actually look like, it’s usually a few years out, not a few months before playable demos are due.
The trailer came paired with an information dump, where we got the first meaningful details about the game. Battles will range from 8 to 40 players, which suggests a decent variety of modes, though there’s not much information on those. There are a number of vehicles in the game – including X-wings, TIE fighters, AT-STs, AT-ATs, snowspeeders, speederbikes, and the old hunk of junk itself – that you’ll be able to pilot. I crash my Sparrow all the time in Destiny, so I don’t imagine I’ll have much luck zipping around Endor on a speederbike, but I’ll give it a go. I am a bit mystified by the inclusion of TIE fighters, though; I was always under the impression that they couldn’t fly in the atmosphere. And in addition to the various stormtroopers and rebel grunts that populate the game, you’ll get an opportunity to play as some notable characters like Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Developer DICE hasn’t elaborated on how this works yet, but I’d guess it’s probably something along the lines of playing as the Predator or Michael Myers in CoD: Ghosts. There will be various races in the game, though I’m not sure how many. There was a Sullustan in the trailer, but no Ewoks, oddly. Who wouldn’t want to play as an Ewok? It would be like playing as Odd Job all over again!
There were two bummers in the data dump, though. First, there won’t be any single-player campaign. This isn’t a huge surprise, though, and there will be some kind of single-player/co-op mode where you can play (and replay) through a variety of missions, so that should offer some decent single-player action. And besides, there’s another Star Wars game coming eventually from Visceral, plus whatever else EA has planned under its ten-year deal with Disney.
The second bummer is that there are only going to be four planets in the game, and one of them’s not even a planet: Tattooine, Hoth, Endor, and Sullust. (A fifth planet, Jakku, which has something to do with Episode VII, will be added in December via free DLC.) This wouldn’t normally be a huge deal; Call of Duty manages to squeeze plenty of map variety out of just the one planet, after all. But these are science fiction planets, which means that each planet consists of a single, monolithic biome from pole to pole. (Apparently, Earth is the only planet whose axis is tilted.) So that means we’re only getting 4 types of environments: Redwood Forest, Norway, Tunisia, and… Sullust (which is apparently some kind of rock-and-lava planet with a massive tunnel network where all the Sullustans live.) And then, a month later, we’ll get Jakku, whatever that is. Maybe a planet with seasons?
Of course, there will no doubt be paid DLC down the line, and I’d expect there to be some more planets in there. Between the movies, the TV shows, the decades of formerly canon expanded universe stuff, and the new canon that Disney is preparing to roll out, there’s plenty to choose from from which to choose. Depending on the game modes, there could be some cool maps on Coruscant or Geonosis. Or Bespin. Or Kashyyyk. Or anywhere in the Star Wars universe. I want all of it. Give me all of the things!
Star Wars Battlefront is set to release on November 17, so it should come out some time in early December, and the patch that makes the whole thing work the way it’s supposed to will probably be out by mid-February. Mark your calendars!