EA's Star Wars Battlefront revival is surely one of the most impressive Star Wars games of all time – and yet it also fell short in very critical ways.
Much as we were immersed in the massive 40-player battles and impressive, authentic presentation, we longed for a proper single-player mode, were frustrated by the initial absence of true space combat, and wished the season pass DLC didn't feel like such a mandatory addition to the thin core experience.
But that's exactly what a sequel is for, and from the looks of it, EA and DICE – along with partner studios Criterion and EA Motive – are about to cross off every entry on our Star Wars wish list with Battlefront II. We learned a bit from the leaked teaser trailer a few days back, but thanks to a full, albeit gameplay-less reveal at Star Wars Celebration this weekend, we now know so much more.
Ready to fight for the Empire? Here are seven things you need to know about Star Wars Battlefront II. And scroll down a bit for the full trailer.
1) YOU'RE THE BAD GUY
In multiplayer, you can command either side of the skirmish between the Empire and the Rebellion – but in the new single-player campaign mode, you're mostly manning the former.
You'll take charge of Imperial special forces commander Iden Versio, who sees the second Death Star detonated in the sky and swears vengeance on the Rebels. Her story spans 30 years, apparently ending somewhere around The Force Awakens, and finds her and the rather terrifying-sounding Inferno Squad wrecking some havoc across the galaxy.
Don't know Iden Versio? Yeah, she's new to the Star Wars universe – but you won't have to wait until the game to find out more. A companion novel, Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden, will be out on 25 July, and it looks to set the stage for what's ahead.
Also, you'll apparently have some big-time hero moments in the campaign, in which you'll control Kylo Ren or Luke Skywalker instead, but it'll mostly be Versio under your command.
2) MULTIPLAYER SPANS ALL ERAS
While the full-fledged story mode stretches from the end of the original trilogy into the current sequel films, multiplayer will cover an even larger span: events from the prequels all the way up through the latest films.
Yes, the prequels are universally reviled, but at least Darth Maul will be in the mix as a hero – and those films had their moments buried beneath the execrable dialogue, acting, and storytelling. The last Battlefront mined a lot of the original trilogy's best locales, but there's surely more to explore. And there's plenty exciting in The Force Awakens.
You'll see some enhancements, too, with four proper classes in play: Officer, Assault, Heavy, and Specialist. Each has its own unique role and is a lot more differentiated than the varying loadouts from the last game, plus you'll find unified progression in each class across the eras, despite the characters themselves looking different to match the movies.
Heroes will also be tweaked, and apparently slightly less dominant this time around, giving players at least a tiny chance of surviving against them. Further hero customisation is also promised, along with more weapons with enhanced modifications for common units.
According to the PlayStation.Blog, multiplayer locations will include Endor, Hoth, Mos Eisley, Takodana, Yavin, Starkiller Base, and Theed.
You'll also be able to ride a tauntaun. Enough said.
3) SPACE COMBAT IS MUCH BIGGER
Proper space combat got some play in the Battlefront DLC and in the PlayStation VR bonus episode, but it'll be right there from the start in Battlefront II.
We don't know a ton about what to expect just yet, but the vehicle wizards at Criterion are apparently taking lead on this part of the experience, and we'll be able to take command of legendary vehicles like the Millennium Falcon and Boba Fett's Slave 1. We're guessing those are the special "hero" vehicles that were mentioned as part of the reveal.
4) THERE'S (A LITTLE) THE LAST JEDI CONTENT
Battlefront II will be out a few weeks before Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Episode VIII) hits cinemas, so no, you won't find any significant spoiler content in the game. We wouldn't be surprised to see something hit later as DLC, however.
Still, there will be some Last Jedi content available right away: if you pre-order the game, you'll get Last Jedi costumes for Kylo Ren and Rey, as well as an upgrade for the Millennium Falcon, epic ability modifiers for both characters, and an epic ability modifier for a new First Order hero ship.
5) IT COMES OUT IN NOVEMBER
EA promised a brand new Battlefront game later this year, and sure enough, it'll be there: we can expect Battlefront II to release on 17 November worldwide, and that's for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
We'll surely see PlayStation 4 Pro enhancements, but currently there's no word on any kind of PlayStation VR experience this time around. And nothing's been said about Microsoft's Project Scorpio console, which we expect to release around the same time, but we anticipate some clarity on that once the console is fully revealed at E3 in June.
6) YOU MIGHT WANT TO SPEND EXTRA
If you're a big Star Wars and/or Battlefront nut, then you may see fit to invest in the Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition, which is available in both physical and digital formats.
What's the benefit? Well, the biggest is surely the ability to start playing three days early, on 14 November, but that's not all. You'll also get significant upgrade packs for all four player classes, giving you a jumpstart on the multiplayer progression, which might be enough to warrant the extra US$20 over the standard release.
7) THERE WON'T BE A SEASON PASS
Star Wars Battlefront's season pass rankled a lot of fans, as it cost the same as the game itself and added a lot of content that many players thought should have been in the main package.
Amazingly, EA isn't going that route again… well, maybe. In an interview with Mashable, DICE creative director Bernd Diemer affirmed that the season pass approach segments the community and disappoints fans, so they've decided to chart a different path.
Curiously, publisher EA wouldn't confirm that info with the site, saying they hadn't finalized the post-release content approach or monetization. So here's what we think we know: there surely will be DLC and you probably will be able to pay EA more money for content, but there may be some other way to enjoy or access that content without buying a chunk of DLC.
Right now, it's unclear. But that seems like an encouraging approach, especially if EA wants fans to be playing for the long haul.
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