Star Wars™ Battlefront™ is an important game for both EA and DICE. With the Battlefield 4 launch a topic of conversation, the pressure to produce a top-notch experience comes from two directions, the hardcore Star Wars fans and the dedicated Battlefield players. In some cases we’re talking about hardcore Star Wars fans who are dedicated Battlefield players.
Even so, the player base for Star Wars Battlefront will be largely new. Sure, some people will have experience with DICE games, but a large portion of the audience will buy this title strictly because of Star Wars.
This is where we realized Star Wars Battlefront is not a Battlefield game per se, and expecting it to be one will leave you disappointed. However, just like a musician can have 12 different songs on an album and still have a unique style people can identify, Star Wars Battlefront is bound to contain subtle influences from the Battlefield games previously developed by DICE. As fans of both franchises, we recognized some of these similarities at the gameplay reveal during E3 2015, and wanted to share a few of the clues we picked up that suggest Star Wars Battlefront will live up to the hype.
The Beauty of Frostbite 3
One thing you can say about the Frostbite 3 engine is that in the right hands, games look gorgeous. It looks good when playing Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline and especially Star Wars Battlefront. In fact, you could remove the Rebel Alliance and Stormtroopers, toss in some characters from Battlefield 4 and you would have a hard time telling it wasn’t one of the gorgeous settings from that game. The lighting is on point, the textures look impressive and in true DICE fashion, the environments appear large enough to offer endless possibilities.
Aerial Combat Returns
There was an entire group of gamers who played Battlefield 3 and did nothing but fly jets and participate in aerial combat. We’re not sure how possible this is in Star Wars Battlefront, but the gameplay footage reminds us of what it was like to fly in Battlefield 3, except this looks even better. In the demonstration, we saw both TIE Fighters and X-Wings zipping in and out of the action, chasing one another through narrow canyons, and even a Snow Speeder deploying a Tow Cable to take down an Imperial Walker. The action looks fast and thrilling. Whether you can exit a TIE Fighter, snipe someone and then land in the same vehicle remains to be seen.
Top Notch Sound Design
Another staple of DICE and Battlefield games is the excellent sound design. There are typically a lot of weapons, gadgets and gizmos all popping off at the same time, and the realistic audio has always been one of the most underrated features in these games. In the short bit of gameplay we saw from Battlefront™, it sounds like Star Wars. That is a massively important piece of the puzzle DICE needed to nail, since allowing gamers to feel like they’re part of the Star Wars universe adds to the immersion. So far, it looks like this has been handled with the care it deserves.
Less Players, But More Fun
One of the most impressive features in the Battlefield franchise is the ability to jam 64 players on a single server. Of course, this likely had a lot to do with the server trouble and latency issues gamers experienced in Battlefield 4, and it appears DICE learned its lesson. With Star Wars Battlefront, the server count will be set at 40 players per. That’s 24 players off the top, and it will almost certainly lead to a smoother experience. It’s a small adjustment many Battlefield veterans requested, and it looks like the Star Wars™ Battlefront™ audience will benefit from this without things being toned down too much.
Battle of Jakku and Premium
Battlefield 3 had five expansions rolled into a season pass called Battlefield Premium. Battlefield 4 had five expansions grouped into a package under the same name. With Star Wars Battlefront, we know there will at least be a Battle of Jakku expansion, and since DICE has a habit of giving gamers additional content long after release, there’s a solid chance we’re all going to play new Battlefront maps into fall 2016. That’s not a guarantee we’ll get five expansions, but the map count should grow far beyond the 12 we’ll see on release day.
Battlelog and Companion Apps
Hardcore Battlefield fans will remember Battlelog, and for the most part it is a fond memory. It’s a web service that allows gamers to log into their Battlefield account and make changes to their characters load outs, participate in some game modes and generally keep tabs on their accounts. Compared to most companion services for video games it’s a home run. Not only does it work on your PC, but also your tablet and smartphone. Well, Battlelog won’t return for Star Wars Battlefront, but there will be a comparable service developed by the same company that created Battlelog.
We’ll leave you with that for now, but you can bet your Lightsaber we’ll keep a close eye on everything Star Wars Battlefront related. We’ve already been doing this with our Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Gameplay Breakdown, which you should absolutely check out if you haven’t watched the trailer.
Now see and hearStar Wars Battlefront for yourself!