What We Know So Far About 'Star Wars Battlefront 2'

What We Know So Far About 'Star Wars Battlefront 2'

Imperial Special Forces officers Iden Versio is the star of 'Star Wars Battlefront 2' EA

Details on the story, the main character, and the new approaches to multiplayer, fresh from Celebration

Details on the story, the main character, and the new approaches to multiplayer, fresh from Celebration

Somebody – maybe EA, maybe not – spilled the beans on Battlefront 2 earlier this week, and if you're a Star Wars fan, you were probably left with more questions than answers. The brief trailer more or less confirmed a story mode (which the last Battlefront badly needed), and made a point of showing off Darth Maul, Yoda, Rey, and Kylo Ren in action – an overt signal that the game would indeed span the Star Wars continuum, just like we all wanted. But still, the details remained scarce. Who's that determined-looking officer, and why does she look so familiar? (Spoiler: you've seen her before.) Why is she wearing TIE pilot gear while appearing to be leading a ground assault? And why does she seem so competent, despite being an Imperial who isn't Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine? EA revealed some of these details at the Battlefront 2 panel at Star Wars Celebration. 

There's been a little bit of Star Wars news this weekend. You might have heard that Luke wants to end the Jedi. Or that Episode VIII will suffer from an acute, devastating shortage of Lando Calrissian. But in the thrilling, post Episode VII world, there are other avenues for legit Star Wars canon, and video games is one of them. Here's what we learned about Battlefront 2.

Release date is November 17, 2017
It'll be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. So far we know it'll come in at least two editions, a standard and an $80 "Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition that includes access to play the game three days early, plus upgraded versions of the four main trooper classes (Officer, Assault, Heavy, and Specialist). It will also feature four epic ability upgrades (one for each trooper class), instant weapon unlocks and weapon modifications for each trooper class, exclusive Kylo Ren and Rey-themed looks (also available if you pre-order the standard edition), epic ability mods for Kylo Ren and Rey (also in standard edition pre-order) and an epic ability modifier for the Millennium Falcon.

There are ways to play it earlier than November 17
Subscribers of EA and Origin Access will be able to try the game out starting on November 9. If you pre-order the game, you'll be able to play it on November 14.

The star is Iden Versio, and she's an Imperial bad ass
She has a sufficiently "Star Warsy" name, she's portrayed (via scary-good facial modeling) by Janina Gavankar (who you know from True Blood and Sleepy Hollow), and she's committed to avenge her Emperor. Iden is a member of an Imperial special forces battalion named "Inferno Squad," whose members are trained, as you can tell from the getup, to operate as combination TIE pilots and deadly shocktrooper commandos. Which makes sense for Battlefront's multidimensional skirmishes.

Iden hails from an Imperial utopia
The planet Vardos, which Battlefront 2 will induct into the canon, is described as a place where the Empire's edicts of order, security, and unwavering loyalty have resulted in pretty decent life for those lucky enough to live there. Concept shown at the panel art depicts an urban scene possessed of the severe, gleaming beauty and impossibly straight lines you'd see in the interior of a Super Star Destroyer. And, also, a really cool monorail – just one of the perks of submitting to intergalactic fascism. If you watch the trailer closely, you'll see a quick shot of Imperial Walkers stomping their way through its streets. According to EA's developers, the citizens of Vardos are drunk off the Imperial Kool-Aid, so they see the Rebel Alliance as legit terrorists. Iden is one of them, and as a member of the Empire's special forces, she represents Vardos' shining ideal. One of EA's stated goals is to cast Iden as a genuine Star Wars heroine on the order of Leia and Rey, so it'll be interesting to see whether and how this dyed-in-the-wool Imperial can redeemed.

She has a pet droid
It looks like one of those little ID-9 Seeker Droids that so frequently tormented the crew of the Ghost from Star Wars Rebels, and we can probably assume that it'll do the sorts of things that companion robots do in games: hack terminals, scout terrain, remotely disable enemies, and the like. One shot in the behind-the-scenes feature depicted the droid delivering a shock to knock an enemy out. It also has a cool Star Wars droid "voice" that sounded equally adorable and menacing.

She has a cool command ship
Her ship, which you'd recognize from the trailer, is the "Raider"-class corvette – more or less the Imperial version of the CR90, which you'd remember from the beginning of the original Star Wars film as the ship that Leia gets captured on. Fun fact: the Raider was born out of a collaboration between Lucasfilm and Fantasy Flight Games, makers of the X-Wing Miniatures game. Fantasy Flight needed a big ship like the Raider to balance out the Empire's fleet in the tabletop game, so they worked with Lucas to design one. Fast forward to now, and here it is, canonized, appearing in both Battlefront 2 and the newest Star Wars novel, Thrawn. Who knows whether you can actually fly it in the game; the Raider is much bigger than what you'd typically expect to control in a Battlefront game, but sure looks cool in the cutscenes they've shown.

Battlefront 2 takes places right after Return of the Jedi
...or, at least, that's where it kicks off. The cutscenes we've all seen depict the second Death Star blowing up, viewed from the perspective of Iden's squad on the ground on Endor. In another scene, she appears to be taking orders from a "Sentinel," a spooky droid programmed to deliver Emperor Palpatine's orders from the grave, via a holographic projection of his face. Beyond that, who knows. The story might travel, and given Battlefront 2's era-hopping multiplayer component, it wouldn't be too surprising.

You don't only play as Iden
You're her for a majority of the story, but according to EA, they also want to introduce moments where you could "become a hero." So far, they've only copped to Luke Skywalker.

Yes, the multiplayer game spans the eras
Battlefront 2 will have travel all across the Star Wars continuum, from the prequel era, to the new trilogy. Depending on which era you're playing in, your avatar will change. During the panel, EA referred specifically to "troopers" adapting to fit the setting – meaning the rank and file – but no one said anything about hero characters or vehicles. To illustrate, they showed a slide of "troopers" which included a Rebel soldier, a stormtrooper, an Imperial officer, and Separatist battle droid.

"Troopers" and heroes can level up
During the panel, EA described a process by which you gradually unlock abilities for both your troopers and hero characters. They went so far as to suggest that a sufficiently leveled-up trooper could, under the right circumstances, pose a threat to a hero character on the field. Also, vehicles can be "heroes," too – they cited the Millennium Falcon and Slave I as examples.

Heroes will work differently than the first Battlefront
They wouldn't go into too much detail, but they said that spawning as a hero or vehicle will governed by an in-game resource, rather than pick-ups on the field. So, something like "ultimate" abilities in Overwatch? They also hinted at a third use for that resource, in addition to heroes and vehicles, but wouldn't say what. Capital ships? Droids? A stampede of capering gungans? We can only hope.