DICE’s original Star Wars Battlefront was designed with the goal to give Star Wars fans a chance to live out their own personal battle fantasies, but this year’s sequel dreams bigger than that. Rather than focusing just on George Lucas’ original trilogy, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is targeting Star Wars fans young and old.
At Star Wars Celebration today, Electronic Arts and developers DICE and Motive Studios revealed that Star Wars Battlefront 2 will feature battles from Star Wars’ three cinematic eras: the original trilogy, the prequels and the recently launched sequels.
“My first touchpoint [with Star Wars] was the original trilogy,” said Bernd Diemer, creative director at DICE. “But there are so many kids whose first experience with Star Wars was the prequels.”
Naturally, there are some relatively new Star Wars fans whose introduction to the series is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They’re being catered to in Battlefront 2 as well.
With Battlefront 2, DICE is giving Star Wars fans access to planets, weapons, characters, gadgets, ships and more “from all eras.” Players will be able to battle AT-ATs and Snowtroopers on Hoth while riding tauntauns or flying Snowspeeders; fight TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers in an X-wing; and play as heroes like Darth Maul, Rey, Kylo Ren and Yoda.
And while playing as iconic characters like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker will once again be a big draw in Battlefront 2, DICE also wants players to feel heroic playing as a rank and file trooper, whether that’s a Rebel soldier, a First Order stormtrooper or a Trade Federation Army battle droid.
Diemer said DICE had to “do a little deconstruction” about what’s exciting about stepping into a Star Wars battle.
“What gives you goosebumps about stepping onto Hoth?” he said. “What elements do we need to have? Your blaster, your lightsaber, your ship, your family ... the Force — one thing that stood out to us was there’s a chance for everybody to become a hero...
“Multiplayer, at its heart, it’s a hero’s journey.”
Diemer said DICE is aiming to give even lowly troopers a chance to feel like the hero of a match.
The game’s playable character heroes are getting an overhaul too, Diemer said.
“In the first game, heroes were a momentary power trip, and for a short time you felt like you were almost invincible,” he said. “[In Battlefront 2,] we wanted to give more depth. We made the heroes much more physical; they have more presence...”
Diemer teased a “career” for the game’s hero characters, letting players unlock new abilities for characters like Yoda and Darth Maul as they play. That way, he said, players will “find new ways of personalizing them to their play style.”
DICE has also changed the way players will get access to hero characters in Battlefront 2 multiplayer. Instead of power-ups, “it’s a resource-based system, whereby doing things [in-game] you unlock the ability to change into a hero or a vehicle or … something else,” he teased.
Battlefront 2 will feature hero ships from all eras, including Boba Fett’s Slave I and Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, and “they have the same depth and personality that heroes have,” Diemer said. Even common ships, like TIE Fighters and X-wings, will have unlockable abilities and mods, he said.
Those ships will factor into Battlefront 2’s space battles, Diemer said. DICE enlisted developer Criterion — which developed last year’s Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission — to help create ships and vehicles that control well in combat.
“Criterion has nailed speed and ease of use,” Diemer said. Their efforts will make players feel like an awesome pilot, he promised, and assured media in attendance that Battlefront 2’s vehicles will get just as much as attention as its playable characters.
While matches in Battlefront 2 will be era-specific — you can’t, for example, battle a Trade Federation droid army as the Resistance — the game’s hero characters will crossover between eras. Rey or Darth Maul might just show up in a battle between Rebel and Imperial troops, as strange as that might be.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on Nov. 17. For details on the game’s single-player campaign, check out our preview of Battlefront 2’s Empire-focused narrative.