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Star Wars Battlefront II Dev Panel Recap – Understanding Iden & The Empire

In an accidental leak seen around the world, Star Wars Battlefront II was revealed in its first game-engine-powered cinematic trailer. Electronic Arts invited us out to the Star Wars Celebration for a special presentation of the game, and we’ve got the details ready for you below.

Filling in the Pieces

While the original (rebooted) Star Wars Battlefront was a solid game, it was missing quite a few things. The biggest among them would easily be the lack of a single-player campaign. Battlefront II gives players that, and then some. You play as a new hero as a part of official Star Wars canon, but she’s a hero of a different kind.

Battlefront II takes place immediately after the end of The Return of the Jedi. The Death Star 2 has been demolished. You play as Iden Versio, member of an elite unit known as the Inferno Squad in the Imperial forces. With no Emperor to follow, others look to you to lead. You are now tasked with picking up the pieces of a shattered regime and enacting revenge.

The Dark Side’s Society

Now, while the Dark Side of the Force has certainly been looked at in past Star Wars games, perhaps none have looked at Imperial society quite like how it has been presented in Battlefront II. In some concept art shown during the panel, we were shown one of the Empire’s worlds, Vardos. Strength, order, and peace were seen as the pillars of Imperial society, and in their society, the Rebel Alliance is seen as a terrorist organization, full of chaos and disorder, the exact opposite of the Empire.

What if the Empire wasn’t filled with evil people? Just like in real-life civil wars, the never-ending one taking place in the Star Wars universe is filled with nuanced differences between good and evil. It’s not simply black-and-white, but rather shades of gray. If you’ve grown up within a regime such as the Galactic Empire, then your world view will naturally support the only society and lifestyle you’ve ever known. To Iden, indeed, the Empire is something worth fighting for, and when we join her story, also worth dying for. LucasFilm, EA DICE, Criterion, and Motive Studios are all working in tandem to produce an experience, and craft a story, that at this point seems genuinely interesting. Perhaps the Dark Side isn’t as dark as the Rebel Alliance would lead us all to believe.

Star Wars Battlefront II 07

A Promising Start

While the dev panel we attended did not include any actual gameplay footage, it’s safe to assume that this sequel will play much like the original reboot. There was mention of droid sidekicks, though other than a short development clip showing a droid zapping an enemy to death, the gameplay mechanics involved in such a fun-sounding feature were not disclosed. Separately, multiplayer classes have been confirmed — a feature lacking in the last game, and is sure to add some much-needed depth.

If the last Battlefront game felt like Electronic Arts dipping its toe into the Star Wars universe, then Star Wars Battlefront II is a deep dive. The team assembled for this game is top-notch, and every member appears to take the sanctity of developing new Star Wars canon very seriously. Time will tell if the game lives up to the now gargantuan hype and expectations, but what we saw and heard at the panel definitely has us excited. Star Wars Battlefront II releases on November 17, 2017.

Travel and accommodations for Star Wars Celebration provided by EA.