When Star Wars: Battlefront came out two years ago, it received a lot of praise for the way in which it faithfully recreated props, vehicles, and worlds from the original film trilogy, However, the game was severely criticized for the lack of a single-player campaign. With the sequel, EA hopes to change that, and it now offers a glimpse at what players can expect when Star Wars: Battlefront II arrives on November 17 of this year. The single-player mode certainly looks like it will be heavy on narrative and world-building, but more importantly, it’s embracing a perspective that’s never really been tackled in the entire franchise: seeing things from the point of view of the Empire.
A joint collaboration between EA DICE, Motive Studios, and Criterion Games, Battlefront II will let players take on the role of Iden, member of the elite Inferno Squadron, described as a “TIE Fighter pilot and commando hybrid” with an array of special skills and leadership abilities. This means Iden can fight on land as well as handle all kinds of Imperial vehicles, including the flying ones. The narrative itself kicks off in the final moments of Return of the Jedi, when Iden – having just killed off some Rebels on the forest moon of Endor – looks up in disbelief as the second Death Star is blown up once again.
At that point she decides to avenge her fallen Emperor, with the game’s ensuing story serving to fill in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, which takes place some 30 years later. According to Motive game director Mark Thompson in a press briefing, “We’ve heard a lot about the heroes of the Rebellion and we wanted to give the Empire heroes in that same era. This meant creating a character that would have grown up in a place where the ideology of the Empire was not only acceptable, but appealing. In Star Wars: Battlefront II, players visit Iden’s own home world, described as ‘an Imperial utopia’ where someone could grow up believing that Darth Vader and the Emperor were only focused on strength and order, and would see the Rebels as a terrorist organization and scum.”
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Droids will also play a vital role and Iden will have a droid sidekick to help her with various tasks along the way. That same thing will apply to the standard Imperial trooper characters that players can utilize, from Phantom Menace-era battle droids, to Imperial officers, to First Order Stormtroopers. Much like the existing weapons upgrade system, items that a player unlocks along the way will carry through while playing in different environments and missions. Players will also be able to choose different classes for their characters when building them up. Thus, the troopers will change depending on the era of a given mission. It’s a way of giving even a multiplayer mode a degree of narrative continuity, so members of the First Order aren’t fighting alongside troopers from the Clone Army.