This week at Star Wars Celebration we got to see early pre-alpha footage of Star Wars: Battlefront. Now, before we get started, the launch date is Nov. 17th. Not only that, but on December 1st if you pre-order the game you will get the first free DLC for The Battle of Jaku. Wait, time out, I know the planets of Star Wars, where the heck is that? Well, it happens to be the desert planet you see in The Force Awakens. That alone surprised us yesterday at the press demo. However, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the blasters in this game.
DICE had outdone themselves on getting all the artwork and sound footage correctly, even showing videos of their team at all the filming locations from the movies. They got to go into the LucasArts vaults and go through the early sound recordings of Star Wars. They showed us all this amazing work on sound and visuals. Honestly though, for us, we wanted to know more about how the game plays. So we’ll do our best to give you a rundown of what we saw in the footage.
The battle opens on Endor with the Rebel forces fighting Stormtroopers. Before you start hoping to play an Ewok, they were just seeing running in the background of their villages. The view was first person for starters as your Rebel team was sent out to find and destroy an AT-AT walker. This was one of the game modes the team from DICE talked about. The forest suddenly came alive with stormtroopers who were blasting away from every tree. Speeder bikes came wiping around pathways and your trusty blaster began its work. The game moved fairly quickly and from the UI options the display was fairly minimal. There was a small map on the bottom left side which showed you where threats and targets were. Then on the right you had your main weapon, a grenade slot, and something like a shield generator. The fourth slot was blank.
As Stormtroopers went down the kill stats pop up very quickly. Kill Streak, Nemesis Bonus, and Enemy Kills were all in the stats. As you fight your way through the forest, your team comes upon a smaller two legged walker. It immediately starts ripping up your team and you have to find various ways to take it down. Several grenades were thrown and a few shots were made to drop the AT-ST.
Next the larger AT-AT comes into view and the team scatters as more troopers show up. It looms over the team and begins tearing up the place. Eventually you see a small comm station off in the trees. The demo had what looked like calling for an airstrike on the AT-AT. The battle continued for a few more minutes and suddenly Y-wing fighters flew over the top and bombed the AT-AT to bits.
Fast forward to going down into a bunker with your squad. The details of the Imperial bunker were amazing. Even down to the blue crates seen in A New Hope’s Death Star scenes. You turn a corner and you hear that ever familiar breathing followed by a choked out Rebel officer. Suddenly Darth Vader comes around the corner with his light saber, and all you see is darkness.
The pre-alpha footage shown looked very clean and seemed to play at a fairly good pace. The landscape of Endor was a character in itself really giving options for cover. In the demo the player did switch to third person mode. There is also a sniper focused shot mode when needed.
If running on battlefields was not enough, it looks as if you can pilot almost any vehicle in the game. Speeders were shown for Endor, but also walkers seem to play a big part too. The staff showed a picture of a small child playing with lots of Star Wars toys on the floor. That idea was very important to DICE. They want players to use everything in the game. The other big part of using the toys was that there will be X-Wing and Tie Fighter space dog fights as well.
For the battle the team mentioned up to 40 player mode for large scale battles. They are also implementing a partner system so you can hook up with a friend and share all types of missions and rewards. You can also spawn as a hero or villain in the game similar to the old Battlefront titles.
By the time you read this you will have seen all the footage from the Star Wars Celebration panel this morning. Even though it is not a full MMO by any means. It seems like Battlefront is starting to take steps down that path similar to Destiny. They want players to keep coming back so it will be interesting to see what types of progression they add to the game. Regardless, we were happy to get an early look at Battlefront and will try to bring you some gameplay coverage at E3.