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Blast Stormtroopers from atop a rampaging Tauntaun in ‘Star Wars Battlefront 2’

‘Star Wars Battlefront 2’ aims to build on its predecessor’s strengths, while incorporating a number of new fan-servicing features.

If your particular fantasy from a galaxy far, far away involves blasting Stormtroopers to bits from atop a rampaging Tauntaun, Star Wars Battlefront 2 might be the game you need.

Character classes will “feel familiar, while also fitting in with the Star Wars universe.”

While Hoth’s mountable snow lizards are easily one of the coolest additions to EA’s upcoming sequel, they barely scratch the surface of what DICE Creative Director Bernd Diemer describes as “added depth meant to give players more reasons to stick around.”

If saddling the iconic, body-warming beasts isn’t enough to bring you back to Battlefront, however, maybe the game’s deeper, more Battlefield-flavored approach to competitive multiplayer will do the trick. During our sit-down with Diemer, the developer called 2015’s franchise reboot “a good base that nailed the core gameplay”, but admitted there were a number of things they wanted to “build on and improve.”

Stay classy, Cloud City

Among those things are character classes, a multiplayer genre staple that was noticeably absent from the first game. Battlefront 2 will allow fans to pick a soldier from a specific discipline, then upgrade their chosen avatar along a dedicated career path. Bernd wouldn’t specify what classes would be available, but promised they’d “feel familiar, while also fitting in with the Star Wars universe.”

He also remained tight-lipped on characters’ progression paths, but hinted at a goal- and resource-based career that would give every player the opportunity to eventually become a “heroic trooper.” The ability to unlock and customize new weapons and gadgets will also play a key role on your multiplayer journey from grunt to galaxy-saving hero.

Additionally, each class will be appropriately represented across all Star Wars eras—original trilogy, prequels, and the new films. So those playing as a standard boots-on-the-ground baddie, for example, can assume the role of a Battle Droid, First Order Stormtrooper, or any Emperor-worshipping evil-doer in between.

It will have a full campaign that’s considered official Star Wars canon

The inclusion of different eras also extends to the game’s weapons, gadgets, map locations, and hero characters; the latter of which will see fans wielding the Force powers and lightsabers of iconic favorites like Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Yoda, Kylo Ren, Rey, and more.

The scope of Battlefront 2‘s online component will also jump to light-speed, allowing players to engage in large-scale space conflicts. It seems EA is taking this fan-requested feature pretty seriously, too, as they’ve recruited Criterion Games—the studio responsible for last year’s Rogue One: X-Wing PSVR experience—to oversee this aspect of the title. All crafts, including favorites like the Millennium Falcon and Slave 1, will have their own upgrade paths.

Beyond Criterion’s involvement, Bernd didn’t offer many specifics on space combat, nor was he ready to divulge details on specific multiplayer maps, modes, or the game’s business model (though it seems the first game’s much-maligned season pass will be jettisoned in favor of a different approach to doling out DLC.) Based on what he did share though, it appears Battlefront 2 is focused on retaining what worked well in the previous entry, while piling on plenty of new features and content.

Uncle Vader Wants You

Of course, the game’s biggest and most-requested addition is its dedicated, single-player story mode. A full campaign that’s considered official Star Wars canon, the solo path will put players in the boots of an elite special forces soldier named Iden. In a potential-packed twist, this new female protagonist commands an Empire squad dubbed “Inferno Force.”

Aside from her black, badass armor and assertion to “avenge the Emperor” after the second Deathstar is destroyed, Iden is portrayed as a sympathetic hero. In fact, as Lucasfilm’s Senior Director of Franchise Management Douglas Reilly described, she’s not viewed as a villain at all. “We position Iden as a hero, and we don’t describe the Empire as bad guys, but simply as being on the other side of the conflict.”

This fresh perspective on familiar events and elements will pick up where Return of the Jedi left off and take players up to the start of The Force Awakens, meaning we’ll witness Iden grow and mature over a 30-year span. The campaign will also incorporate playable hero characters, letting fans, occasionally, fight alongside the rebels as Luke, or swap back to the dark side to wield Kylo Ren’s homebrew lightsaber.

“We position Iden as a hero, and we don’t describe the Empire as bad guys…”

The majority of the story mode—which is being crafted by Motive Studios—will, however, see players unleashing Iden’s unique skills on rebel scum. According to Game Director Mark Thompson, she is “as capable of fighting on the frontlines as she is piloting a TIE fighter.”

Iden also knows her way around the Empire’s weapons, gadget’s and tech, including a companion droid that’s deployed from her back. The small bot, which looks like a miniature Imperial Probe Droid, can help solve problems and assist in combat situations. It’s also tied for first place with the rideable Tauntons for “things we’re most excited about in Battlefront 2.

Iden and her robotic buddy can also be upgraded, following a progression path similar to the multiplayer class characters. While the developers guarded gameplay specifics tighter than the Death Star plans, Motive Producer Paola Jouyaux teased that she and her team are “taking the open, authentic sandbox style DICE is known for, and taking it to single-player.” When pressed to share how substantial the story mode is compared to the online component, Jouyaux smiled and promised a “good length.”

Hungry for more

Battlefront 2‘s official reveal didn’t include any hands-on or even a directed gameplay demo, but our time talking to some of its key creators definitely left us craving a session behind the controller. With three separate studios focused on specific aspects of the game, the sequel seems poised to build on what Battlefront got right, while also delivering on some of its unfulfilled potential.

Of course, if too many cooks end up spoiling the broth, we’ll at least have competitive Tauntaun jousting to look forward to when the game lands November 17th.