In a new 20-minute Roundtable Discussion video, the three development teams behind Star Wars: Battlefront II talked about the game, and in particular their plans and inspirations for the Single-Player Story Campaign, free DLC 'Seasons', and their tie-in plans for December's Star Wars Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.
Those three development teams were represented by executive producer Matt Webster for Criterion, who are doing the vehicles, Craig McLeod for DICE, who are doing the multiplayer, and creative director Mark Thompson for EA Motive, who are doing the story. EA Motive are the new studio created by EA, lead by former Assassin's Creed director Jade Raymond, and who recently merged with Mass Effect: Andromeda developer Bioware Montreal.
DICE's first Star Wars: Battlefront received criticism for having such a bare-minimum single-player component, not to mention an expensive and community-fracturing Season Pass when the main game felt lacking in terms of content. Both are definitely areas EA acknowledge and are working on.
EA Motive creative director Mark Thompson spoke out about the campaign that they are creating, and why they went with a simple new soldier character, on the Imperial side, called Iden Versio rather than a famous name or a Rebel:
“When we set out, we had two goals - understand and retain the spirit of Battlefront multiplayer, and create a story that's true to Battlefront. So that's why we went with a soldier. Battlefront is being a soldier on the front lines, it's about epic fights in the Star Wars universe, it's about being an ace pilot in a starfighter, and it's also about being a hero. We merged those three fantasies because we wanted to keep them all alive through interesting pacing, and that's where we landed on Imperial special forces. You can be a trooper on the ground, a pilot in the skies, and also become a hero. The overriding them of the game is that anybody can become a hero. You get to be Iden Versio.”
He also talked about what to expect in terms of gameplay, which it sounds like will be in the same style of Titanfall 2 where the single-player was fast-paced, constantly changing, and still acting as a buffet of gameplay to introduce players to the multiplayer.
"We want the campaign to be a chef's table of everything Battlefront can provide. We want to make sure all the systems and our core campaign are true to the multiplayer, so the guns handle the same from one to the other, you run and jump the same, all of that knowledge is transferable.
And on their collaboration with LucasFilm, who suggested setting the game in the new period of time after the destruction of the second Death Star:
"We sat down with LucasFilm very early on and had fun creative discussions with them. We asked them what stories they'd like to tell and what Battlefront is. To them every part of Star Wars has to have its own idea and tone, so you can easily recognise something as "Battlefront" or "Rebels". We asked them what they thought would be the best Battlefront story, and they were most interested in seeing a story set in the 30 year period that had just been created between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens."
Craig McLeod, a producer at DICE spoke about their DLC plans for Battlefront 2, which will ditch the paid model and just have straight themed 'Seasons' in an attempt not to fracture the community, which is very good news.
"Previously we used a Season Pass model, and what we learned through fan feedback is that we have a different community to most shooters, it's much wider. There are people who play our game because it's Star Wars, not because it's a shooter. We've decided to embark down a model of free 'Seasons' that are themed around content drops. It's really important that we keep the community together."
He also brought up their plans for the upcoming tie-in DLC with The Last Jedi, similar to The Force Awakens DLC for the first game bringing in Jakku as a new map. This tie-in will introduce Finn and Captain Phasma as Hero Characters alongside the new planet of Crait, which will be the scene of a battle between the Resistance and First Order in the new movie.
"Our first DLC coming straight after launch is tied into The Last Jedi. We'll see characters like Finn and Phasma and a new planet called Crait come in that you'll see in the movie. The great thing about these Seasons is that the universe is so big so we can start using these different timelines across different areas of Star Wars, and really starting branching out the universe within Battlefront. This is the first game to have all three eras of Star Wars. It's our goal to create the essential Star Wars shooter."
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, Criterion executive producer Matt Webster confirmed that you can customize starfighters in the game, which is music to our ears:
“You can customize your starfighters as well. That's a significant part of this game. The core vehicle combat has changed a lot from the first game, and we've brought that customization to that. The starting point is accessibility, but that depth is also in there.”
The Star Wars: Battlefront II release date is November 17, and that includes PC via Origin where the price is a frankly extortionate £54.99/$69.99. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi is out in cinemas December 15, so expect the tie-in DLC to drop anytime between those two dates.