An Imperial stormtrooper decides he doesnt like the look of our transport, however, and quickly decimates it from the turret gun hes manned. Within seconds, a Rebel marksman takes him out with a well-placed shot to the helmet. Im sure my contact can summon another ship when its time to leave.
Before launching into the interview, we pause for a moment to take in the spectacle around us. An Imperial AT-AT advances through the courtyard, exchanging furious rocket fire with two Republic landspeeders. Troops of all types on both sides swarm across the icy plain, sending missiles careening into enemy craft, leveling blasters at their opponents and tossing a few well-placed thermal detonators. Into this chaos stride Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, virtually indestructible as they cut a swath through opposing soldiers with their formidable lightsabers.
Multi-Player Mayhem, Star Wars Style
Above the action, a pair of three-digit numbers count down, indicating how many reinforcements remain on each side. As in the game Battlefield 1942, a session ends when one of those numbers hits zero, or when one team captures all the command posts and holds them for 20 seconds. If one side controls a majority of the command posts on the map, the other side starts losing reinforcements automatically, on top of the loss taken by each downed soldier. Each command post features droids that regenerate health, replenish ammunition, and repair damaged vehicles.
The Star Wars vehicles have totally different physics than real-world vehicles, which impacts the gameplay in ways players havent experienced before.- Dan Pettit, producer
While Battlefront bears some superficial resemblance to Battlefield 1942, Pettit explains the differences: The Galactic Conquest mode adds a layer of strategy and depth between maps. Also, the Star Wars vehicles have totally different physics than real-world vehicles, which impacts the gameplay in ways players havent experienced before.
Vehicles available in the game include all the fan favorites Y- and X-Wing Fighters, TIE Fighters and Bombers, AT-ATs and AT-STs, AT-TEs, Jedi Starfighters and more as well as the lesser-known TX-130S Fighter Tanks, Combat Landspeeders and others. Creatures, such as Hoths Tauntauns and Naboos Kaadu, are also available on certain maps, although theyre only useful for transportation.
With a Little Help From Your Jedi Heroes
Vaders raspy breathing suddenly fills the air around us as he moves in to chop down a pair of Rebel commandos. The moment becomes a serendipitous introduction to the next topic, which concerns why you cant play as one of the four Jedi heroes Vader, Skywalker, Count Dooku and Mace Windu who are sometimes available to aid your team in the games 17 maps, depending on the mode youre playing.
We wanted players to experience the most explosive action in the Star Wars universe from the front lines as an ordinary foot soldier, Pettit says.
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We wanted players to experience the most explosive action in the Star Wars universe from the front lines as an ordinary foot soldier.- Dan Pettit
The focus of the game is on the epic battles between soldiers, not a Jedi hero swaying the course of the galaxy by himself.
The Look and Spirit of the Films
We move out of the way as the AT-AT, having been destroyed by the landspeeders earlier, reappears with a host of freshly-spawned troops. Rhen Var was taken from the spin-off comic books and novels, but the other worlds in the game Tatooine, Bespin, Hoth, Yavin IV, Kashyyyk, Naboo, Kamino, Geonosis, and Endor were drawn directly from the original and prequel trilogies, which Pettit says his development team pored over frame by frame to make sure we had captured the look and spirit of the films.
They even received early sneak peeks at Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith while it was in production. Those trips to George Lucas Industrial Light & Magic special effects unit helped them create Kashyyyk maps that perfectly matched locations seen in the film.
The same care and attention went into designing the soldiers belonging to the four factions: the Rebels, the Imperials, the Republic Clone Army and the Separatists. Each factions five troop types come with different complements of weapons that create strengths and weaknesses. The computer-controlled players feature AI that isnt scripted, according to Pettit.
Each AI character has a set of things that it wants to try to do and it will prioritize those things based on what is happening during the game, he explains. So you should never play the same mission twice.
Imperial Troops Have Entered the Base
Eventually the tide of the battle turns and the Imperial troops overrun the Rebel command posts inside the citadel. The Jedi heroes never spar with each other, but Skywalker and Vader continue slicing and dicing their enemies until the Rebel counter hits zero. A couple of last-ditch-effort grenades explode nearby as the Empire celebrates its victory.
Vader now takes a greater interest in us and approaches. He probably wants to hire us to bring in a bounty, but theres no sense in hanging around anymore. A landspeeder driven by a protocol droid pulls up and we hurry away, uninterested in an audience with a Sith Lord.