New details of EA's next Star Wars Battlefront has been revealed and it appears to add in everything fans expected of the first game. I was almost hoping I wouldn’t have to buy this one but ooh it sounds good; no season pass, a robust single player experience, characters and maps from all 3 eras, classes rather than loadouts and space battles! Now I’ll have to pass over the fact no one mentioned battles spanning both land and space and try to be happy with what was actually confirmed.
I do want to revisit a point I touched on in my original review (Issue 9 of Niche: Treat Your Geek). Battlefront could have learnt a lot from Nintendo’s Splatoon… and it appears it has. Firstly, no overpriced season pass for unknown content. I’d call it a genius move if it wasn’t so obvious in the first place. It wont fracture the playerbase and if they do learn from the Splatoon model it will keep players invested in the game much longer, or at least have them coming back repeatedly to check out the new newness.
Splatoon's single player may not have been robust as such but it offered more offline content than a lot of online shooters even revealing some lore of the world. The best parts though were that it let you try out new tactics and gameplay mechanics and that it showcased what was possible in the game (even if not available in multiplayer) with a number of set-pieces and unique concepts. Battlefront could do worse than to immerse the player in the universe while throwing some mind blowing set-pieces their way, something we only got a tiny taste of in EA's first attempt. Plus getting a bit of practice in single-player before having to trudge to the front-lines only to be shot in the face will be a plus. Again something Splatoon solved with its teleport-like jumps and emphasis on shooting the terrain.
There is one other feature of Splatoon that amazed me when I saw it, it’s simple and didn’t make any headlines but it got me thinking. When playing online each team is given a colour, this can change from map to map so to make it easy to identify who won each round the results screen refers to teams as “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys”. At first this just sounds like slightly naïve family friendly terminology. Until you realise that anyone on the other team looking at those results will see themselves as the “Good Guys”. I took this as a rather profound statement on war, the media, public and self perception, ethics, philosophy and propaganda... granted I do tend to over-think things. I now wish I’d covered this in a blog sooner as EA have opted for a single player campaign hinging on this concept, following heroes of the Empire giving us our first real look at being a “bad guy”; surely these people wouldn’t be so dedicated to their Empire if they believed it was evil? It’s a compelling question made all the more poignant by recent history. It’s a bold move to take the story in this direction and it feels like a real effort to make this an amazing game.
Of course the fan boy part of me would prefer being able to relive iconic battles, playing as the heroes… sure we’ve seen it before but not so much with all the power of this generation's consoles (and PCs).