In an interview with DICE producer Craig Mcleod after a Star Wars Battlefront demo on Thursday, I learned that Battlefront’s player count will top out at 40, rather than Battlefield’s customary 64. For reference, Pandemic's Battlefront 2, released in 2005, supported 32 players online on the original Xbox, and 64 players online on PC.
“It’s important to make the differentiation between Battlefield and Battlefront here,” Mcleod said. “Sixty four players worked really well for Battlefield, and we toyed with a lot of different numbers, and we found that for the experience that we wanted to give, and how we felt that the matches would play out, 40 players was actually the optimum number. Instead of putting 64 in there and just saying that for a number, and having it be too crowded and being a lesser experience, we’ve made it the most optimum number it can be.”
Could 40 players be better for Battlefront because its maps are filled out with AI-controlled grunt units, like the Battlefront games of old? I asked another DICE producer, but got a no comment on that question.
Battlefront will feature a number of gameplay modes built around different numbers of players, but DICE will only talk about one of them. In the demo I saw, DICE showed off “Walker Assault,” which Mcleod says is one of Battlefront’s biggest modes, supporting up to 40 players in ground combat, on ground vehicles like AT-ST walkers and speeder bikes, and dogfighting in X-Wings and TIE Fighters. Other modes will focus on smaller battles with as few as eight players.
Of course, these numbers all pertain to Battlefront’s online multiplayer mode. Battlefront will also feature a handful of missions recreating famous moments from the films. Mcleod calls the missions “bite-size, smaller, more intimate battles that you can play single-player on your own, or you can play cooperatively with a friend.” The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Battlefront will allow for the missions to be played two-player splitscreen or online; Mcleod told me the splitscreen option will not be available in the PC version.
For more on Star Wars Battlefront, make sure to check out my full impressions from the Star Wars Celebration demo.