The presentation surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II opened with a series of tweets centered around a particular one made by John Boyega, one of the stars of the latest trilogy of Star Wars films.
@EAStarWars Will fans get a full on offline story mode? It's more of an enjoyable way to learn controls.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) March 2, 2016
A gaggle of Storm Troopers were joined on stage by Janina Gavankar, VA of Commander Iden Versio. Star Wars Battlefront II will be telling a new story that takes place in-between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Star Wars Battlefront II will have more than three times the content of the first game according to Ms. Gavankar. Multiplayer will have more heroes, vehicles, and planets. There will be deeper progression and customization, and the game will feature content from all three eras of the Star Wars universe.
The “Game Changers” tester system was revealed – a system where some of the best multiplayer gamers from the previous Battlefront game were invited to play Battlefront II and give feedback. A class system is being introduced, and the gunplay and weapons have been completely redone compared to the first title. The Battle Points system will allow players to customize their characters in terms of cosmetic appearance and their abilities. Finally, we segued into the world premiere of Star Wars Battlefront II multiplayer gameplay.
The opening was reminiscent of the dropship scene from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. It then quickly transitioned to Trade Federation droid troops being deployed from troop carriers, and then Darth Maul burst onto the scene cutting a path through his foes. Yoda, Rey, and Kylo Ren all made appearances as on-the-ground heroes fighting in intense lightsaber combat. You can see the official gameplay trailer for yourself here:
John Boyega then appeared in a video message, revealing that Finn and Captain Phasma will be part of the first season of free content for the game. Additionally, the new planet Crete (first revealed as a location in the upcoming eighth episode) will be a level in the game. There will also be themed seasons of content, post-launch, for all players at no additional charge – that includes heroes, weapons, vehicles, and maps.
The first season of post-launch content will be focused on The Last Jedi. Players who pre-order will (unsurprisingly) get early access to the game’s beta.
We then transitioned into a multiplayer gameplay demonstration, opening with a Vulture Droid strafing the city before accidentally slamming into a building; players will be able to play the Droid armies of the Trade Federation. The scenery shifted between air combat and ground combat a few times, showing off some of the vehicles and classes in the game in the combat between Clone Troopers and Droid armies.
An AT-RT then blasted onto the scene, a miniature predecessor to the AT-ST where the pilot is noticeably more exposed since they ride atop of it with no cockpit to cover them. (Yes, you can get shot off of it if you don’t make good use of your mobility.)
The Star Fighters are accessed through the game’s Battle Points system; the Token system from the previous game is being replaced now. You’ll be reminded of your Battle Points count every time you respawn. The interplay of the classes were focused on throughout the stream – for instance, Officers can deploy turrets to support their team. Officers have an ability to heal and subsequently overheal the troops around them; although they are weaker in combat as compared to the average trooper, they can use their support abilities to increase the overall effectiveness of the team.
The Trade Federation tank was shown to be capable of Siege Mode, much like the Siege Tanks of Starcraft II – for a limited time, you can sacrifice your mobility and hunker down to do devastating area of effect shots.
A troop carrier blew up the entrance to a building and transitioned the game to Phase 2 where everyone moved inside, putting an end to vehicle combat. Darth Maul and Boba Fett were deployed onto the scene, highlighting their superior abilities as compared to the bog standard troops. Boba Fett, in particular, was highlighted as an excellent “hunter-killer” sort of character who could use mobility to fly above enemies and devastate them with his rockets; among his newest tools are a new concussion barrage and rocket barrage.
Rei rapidly burst onto the scene and attempted to jump into the fray, but unfortunately, she was rapidly struck down by a lucky Droid trooper. Battle Points were emphasized as especially game-changing in the end; they’re likely to build up quickly as the match nears completion, allowing players to deploy more and more devastating special units and abilities.
At the finale of the first round, we saw Han Solo engaging in some close-quarters combat before he was quickly cut down by Darth Maul. Although we’ve seen characters from different eras at different points throughout the gameplay, this seems to show that there will be some small degree of intermingling of the eras regardless of the exact timeline.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.