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. Between the initial reveal at Star Wars Celebration and the new, gameplay-packed pre-E3 demo at EA Play this weekend, we’ve already learned so much about the game.
Ready to fight for the Empire? Here are eight things you need to know about Star Wars Battlefront II.
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.
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4) There’s some 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. 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.
And then the first wave of post-release DLC will be focused on The Last Jedi and release in December, with Finn and Captain Phasma both playable alongside a new planet called Crait, a space map above D’Qar, and other content.
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 very, very soon.
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.
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7) All the DLC will be free
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. Surprise!
It’s true: at EA Play, the company confirmed earlier reports and announced that all of the maps, modes, heroes, and other post-release content will be free and release in themed seasons. The Last Jedi comes first, as mentioned before, but more will come later.
Surely, EA will find a way to sell you something in the game, but at least the core content should be free. That’s huge.
8) It’ll have a beta test
Like most big multiplayer-centric games (including the last Battlefront), Star Wars Battlefront II will have a multiplayer beta test available on all three platforms this autumn before the game officially releases in November.
From the sounds of EA’s press release, it should be available for anyone to play – however, those who pre-order the game will gain early access to the test and be able to try out Battlefront II before anyone else. Also, anyone who pre-orders gets a Epic Lightsaber Mastery Star Card for Yoda in the game, which ought to be a nice added perk.