For far too long, Star Wars: Battlefront III made headlines about being in and out of development at various studios but ultimately every version of is was canceled. Throughout the depressing process we repeatedly made note of how if anyone should take the franchise reins it should be DICE, especially after showcasing the Frostbite 2-powered Battlefield 3. Just throw in lasers and lightsabers, right?
Through the power of the Force it came to be. Disney bought Lucasfilm which resulted in the shutdown of LucasArts and the Star Wars license being passed to publisher Electronic Arts to begin development on a multitude of triple-A Star Wars franchises. One of them – teased at E3 2013 – was of course, the relaunch of Star Wars: Battlefront, a property DICE is now working on and one they “begged” to do.
From the get-go, the team at DICE had big plans to “innovate” with Battlefront, to make it not only next-gen appropriate (obviously with the upgraded Frostbite 3) but to make it different from other shooters and different than the Battlefield series, for which the Battlefront games were largely ‘inspired’ (read: cloned) from. Speaking with VideoGamer during Gamescom, Battlefield 4 executive producer Patrick Bach spoke on whether or not their take on Star Wars would be more like Battlefield or something different and it turns out that they don’t really know.
“We haven’t really locked that down yet. I think there’s of course a part of the DICE DNA to build the games that we’re building, but then again we’re building games like Mirror’s Edge as well. So I think it will be a challenge for us. [You’re] damned if you do, damned if you don’t. People don’t want another Battlefield with Star Wars graphics; they want a Star Wars game that is proper… But then again, if you compromise brilliant design choices from Battlefield just because you’re not allowed from some kind of moral standpoint, then I think that’s also wrong. We need to make the best game possible. What that means in detail, we will see.”
The most exciting word yet associated with Star Wars: Battlfront is “innovative” and we hope that means it’s going to be different and bigger than Battlefield 4. When throwing in gargantuan Imperial walkers with fast-moving aerial vehicles and space combat, it sounds like some of those skirmishes (see: Hoth battle) almost need to support more than 64 players. And why not? With the PS4 and Xbox One both supporting cloud computing, it’s possible. It’s just up to the efforts of DICE and we hope they blow us away. The Star Wars game franchise sure could use it.
Look at what EVE Online and DUST 514 are doing in mixing infantry combat with the space-based MMO. Battlefront is the right IP to take that to the next level of gameplay, letting players grab a ship on the ground and fly it out the atmosphere themselves (a planned feature for Battlefront 3) and into a space battle and vice versa. That still hasn’t been done. Oh, and don’t forget to include Oculus Rift support!
Star Wars: Battlefront is planned for release in summer 2015, around the expected release date of Star Wars: Episode 7 in theaters.
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