Just a few minutes before the Star Wars: Battlefront panel at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, EA DICE and Lucasfilm lifted the press embargo on regarding the hotly anticipated game, and information regarding the sci-fi shooter is arriving at light speed. Yes, not only is Battlefront out there, but people have seen it; even better, almost everyone who’s witnessed the game in action has walked away impressed.
Star Wars: Battlefront focuses on multiplayer. Fans will take part in 40-player battles pitting the Rebel Alliance against the villainous Empire, but there will also be smaller, one-off missions based on scenes from the films. Players can switch between first and third perspectives – whichever they prefer – at will. The game supports both online play and split-screen multiplayer.
Star Wars: Battlefront takes place at roughly the same time as the first three Star Wars movies, dropping players into massive battles on iconic Star Wars planets like Endor’s forest moon, Hoth’s icy plains, and Tatooine’s desert wasteland, as well as alluded-to but never seen worlds like the volcanic planet Sullust. Players will be able to assume the role of generic soldiers, or take on the personas of some of Star Wars’ most famous characters, who come with all of their special abilities; for example, playing as Darth Vader will let players wield a lightsaber and force choke Rebel soldiers.
In Star Wars: Battlefront‘s new “Partner system,” players will be able to join up with each other to form two-man teams. Partners will always see each other during the battle, will respawn together, and will share unlocked weapons and skills, giving experienced players a method for helping out newcomers or less talented friends.
The game’s coolest feature, however, is that both sides of the conflict will be able to pilot vehicles and spaceships – including the chicken-legged AT-ST Walker and Han Solo’s ride, The Millennium Falcon – on the fly, taking the fight from the ground to the skies mid-battle.
The biggest takeaway from early previews, however, isn’t the gameplay; it’s how faithful the game is to the Star Wars canon. As Niklas Fegraeus, the game’s design director says, “We want to immerse players in an authentic experience, where you can create your own Star Wars battles.” Thanks to the power of the Frostbite Engine, it looks like DICE might be able to pull it off, too. The game looks and sounds exactly like Star Wars.
In part, that’s thanks to the people at Lucasfilm, who gave DICE unfettered access to their archives. Using a process called photogrammetry, DICE was able to recreate some of the original Star Wars props in-game, creating a “perfect replication” of what fans see in the movies. Lucasfilm advised DICE regarding Star Wars lore, too, helping them create canon-appropriate solutions to any gameplay problems that popped up.
Star Wars Battlefront be available November 17 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.