It's still months away, but Star Wars: Battlefront will undoubtedly be one of this year’s biggest games. Consider this article a hub for all the crucial information we learn, and check back for updates leading up to and after the launch.
After nearly 10 years since Battlefront 2 released, Star Wars Battlefront will bring back large-scale epic multiplayer warfare set on iconic Star Wars planets. It’s being developed by Battlefield series creator DICE, published by EA, and runs on the Frostbite 3 engine. We expect to find some familiar things—Battlefield’s spacious maps and combined arms approach, and Battlefront’s asymmetrical Rebel and Imperial armies—but it's not quite a direct clone of either game.
At E3 2015, we saw the reveal of survival mode, and Wes got a chance to play it. Prior to that, we learned that it won't have iron sights, the player count maxes out at 40, and it won't have classes or squads.
What’s the release date?
After a few obvious lines of code were snooped from Battlefront’s website in mid-April, the official debut announced a November 17, 2015 release date. Its proximity to the holiday shopping season combined with November’s traditional role as a major release month slims the chances of a delay. Our review will be up around that time.
Have you played it?
Yep! We played it at E3 2015, and Wes had fun, but worried about its simplicity and floaty controls (the demo was on PS4, unfortunately, so we don't know how it plays with a mouse yet).
What do the trailers tell us?
The first Frostbite-powered video sets up an explosive skirmish within the forests of Endor, but the action plays out rather too neatly for an unfiltered look into how Battlefront really works. We got a better look at E3 2015, which you can watch below.
Why do people like Battlefront so much, anyway?
In short, the Battlefront series made fights feel like wars. Thrilling scenes such as the Battle of Endor or the assault on Kashyyyk directly inspired large maps dotted with capturable command posts that constantly changed the front lines. Modes such as Galactic Conquest charted planetary invasions that bestowed special units and bonus resources for the victorious faction. Classes covered basic duties—assault, combat medic, engineer, and so on—but with enough points, players could spawn as hero characters with powerful abilities, and it often took most of the opposing team to bring him or her down. You could swap between first- and third-person view for precise fire or to take in the sights with an expanded periphery. Battlefront 2 added space-based dogfights and playable Jedi.
Most importantly: mods! New armies, maps, vehicles, weapons, heroes, and even full story-based missions were just some of the quality custom work of the talented community. Here’s a collection of some of the best Battlefront 2 mods.
How does it tie into the Force Awakens film?
The first map pack DLC, free for owners when it launches on December 8, centers on Jakku, the Tatooine-like desert planet shown in the most recent Force Awakens trailer and the flashpoint for Imperial remnants and a bolstered Rebel Alliance days after the victory at the Battle of Endor. That long shot of a lone speeder zooming past the wrecked husk of a Star Destroyer half-buried in the distant dunes? Yeah, you cause that crash in Battlefront.
Beyond Jakku, Battlefront’s maps will focus on classic trilogy locales. Prequel planets such as Naboo and Mustafar won’t be in at release, but they’ll more than likely arrive later as DLC.
Will it support mods?
DICE and EA haven’t stated anything official yet, but chances are pretty low. We’d be ecstatic if it did, and there’s many reasons why it would be a good thing. Mods impart staying power to the best PC games, and we’d love seeing Frostbite’s might power community creations of the same excellent caliber as Battlefront 2’s top mods.
Will there be space combat?
Space stays off limits for now, but aerial action will take place in-atmosphere for “ epic planetary battles,” according to DICE. That suggests some interesting air-to-ground scenarios—we might very well witness the Star Wars-ification of the renowned zook maneuver.
What will the ground combat be like?
We have a few details about how you’ll experience frays on foot. You can freely switch between first- and third-person view (DICE’s first developer diary video shows a glimpse of each angle at around the 1:53 mark), and weapons won’t have iron-sight aiming if a scope isn’t attached. Playstyles are defined by the kit and weapon loadouts brought to bear instead of choosing from distinct classes. Gear pickups, a Battlefield carryover, are scattered around the map, and they include handy tools such as the deployable bubble shield seen in the trailer.
Servers will support up to 40 players—” the most optimum number it can be,” DICE claims—or smaller, more concentrated scuffles fielding as few as eight players. Wes’ preview describes the Walker Assault mode where a capturable satellite uplink calls in a Y-wing bombing run on a hulking AT-AT. Instead of joining a squad, you’ll pair up with a single player in a Partner system with mutual abilities to spawn on each other, share equipment and unlocks, and always spot one another across the map. It’s similar in structure to the Fireteam Buddy feature from Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s multiplayer which DICE helped develop.
Are there heroes?
Yep, and two are already confirmed: Darth Vader and Boba Fett. (Send your eyeballs to the trailer above to see them.) The rest of the playable cast is unknown at this point, but DICE’s few pieces of drip-fed info on the subject hint of modes altering the types of heroes you’ll encounter and grabbing a powerup item mid-match to transform into a powerful personage.
How many maps are there?
The launch selection will include 12 multiplayer maps across four known planets: Endor, Tatooine, Hoth, and Sullust. Each planet holds more than two maps, so the Jakku DLC will feasibly increase that number by December. No word yet on specific layouts or mode-based configurations, but at least anything lava-based will look pretty realistic.
Will it have vehicles?
Let’s have the trailer answer this one. AT-STs, AT-ATs, speeder bikes, snowspeeders, X-wings, TIE fighters, Y-wings, and even the Millennium Falcon blow each other up in rapid sequence, so there’s definitely a vehicular food chain in place. DICE has a huge opportunity here to draw from plenty of other war machines used by the Empire and Rebels such as the hovering Freerunner gunship or the AT-AP mobile artillery.
Is there a campaign?
A traditional campaign isn’t part of Battlefront’s destiny, but big moments from the original trilogy present smaller-scale individual missions which can be played alone or with a co-op buddy. As Battlefield 3’s co-op stages awarded special unlocks for high scores, it wouldn’t be a surprise if something similar was in place for Battlefront’s system. Practice battles against bots are also in the works, and Lead Level Designer Dennis Brännvall mentions we’ll be able to pick specific planets to set up custom rounds.
Will it have destruction?
Battlefront’s destruction appears “where it makes sense,” according to the vague official word on the topic, but the emphasis rests on being “authentic to the universe.” We don’t expect the power to flatten the forests of Endor with a few thermal detonators, but we hope structures and surroundings will react to all the ordinance flying around. Either way, the outcome probably won’t look as destructive as, say, Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s topple-prone buildings.
Will it use Battlelog?
Battlefront won’t use Battlelog, but it’ll use a Battle-something-else. Uprise, the companion-service company behind Battlelog, explained it’s building a new system “from scratch” with “no browser game launching.” Our only demand is for the inclusion of the cantina song during loading screens.
Where can I find out more?
We’ll definitely bring you more Battlefront coverage throughout the months, so check back here for all the latest news. Be sure to visit the official website, as well. While you’re at it, grab Battlefront 2 (here’s why your hard drive needs it) for a more interactive way to wind down the clock.