‘Star Wars Battlefront II’: News, rumors, and everything we know

EA makes big changes to 'Star Wars Battlefront 2' loot crates

After the underwhelming reboot of sorts that was 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront, the pressure is on for Battlefield developer Dice’s follow-up, Star Wars Battlefront II. While Battlefront was entertaining and visually impressive, the game lacked a single-player campaign, and had minimal multiplayer maps and modes at launch. The game’s post-launch content, which filled the multiplayer experience out, set players back an additional $50.

According to EA, Star Wars Battlefront II will include three times as much content as the original, which certainly sounds like an improvement. The game is looking to satisfy fans who have been clamoring for a great Battlefront experience for more than a decade. We won’t have to wait long to find out if Battlefront II lives up to the promise fans saw in Battlefront. The game launches November 17 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Here is everything we know about Battlefront II so far.

A single-player campaign, from the Imperial perspective

Battlefront II will feature a full-fledged single-player campaign. Dice producer Paul Keslin confirmed the sequel would feature a campaign in an August, 2016 interview with Eurogamer. EA kept us in the dark until the game’s official unveiling at Star Wars Celebration in April 2017.

The Battlefront II story takes place directly after the events of Return of the Jedi, and spans 30 years between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. The story will focus primarily on Imperial soldier Iden Versio (played by Janina Gavankar), the leader of a unit called the Inferno Squad. At the outset, Iden and the Inferno Squad will watch the second Death Star explode from the forest moon of Endor. The defeat inspires the Inferno Squad to seek revenge on the Rebels.

Despite most fans coming into the game already viewing the Empire as the “wrong” side, that’s not how the campaign was envisioned or developed. When Digital Trends spoke with Lucasfilm Senior Director of Franchise Management Douglas Reilly at Celebration, he took it a step further. “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.”

In September, EA showed a sneak preview of the single-player mode’s story, which takes place outside the planet Vardos in Imperial-controlled space. Iden and her father, Imperial admiral Versio, are discussing retaliation for the recent death of Emperor Palpatine, and it doesn’t present her in the friendliest light.

“Tell me, Iden, what is the source of their belief,” Admiral Versio asks, referring to the rebels.” Iden scoffs before answering, “Hope.”

A floating red figure standing in the corner of the room then approaches the two, and its black face mask blinks on to reveal none other than Palpatine himself, or at least a droid relaying his last wishes. “Operation Cinder,” a devastating operation aimed at defeating the Rebel Alliance, is to begin shortly, but Iden is not told what specific target is being attacked. Instead, she’s sent off on an “unusual” mission, clearly unsure of the Empire’s intentions.

“Admiral Versio, Operation Cinder is to begin at once.” Palpatine says. “Resistance, rebellion, defiance — these are concepts that cannot be allowed to persist. You are but one of many tools by which these ideas shall be burned away.”

The far-reaching campaign will mostly be told from Iden’s perspective. According to EA Motive game director Mark Thompson, Iden is adept at many different styles of combat, both on the frontlines and as a TIE fighter pilot. Iden also will be accompanied by her own droid, a pint-sized version of the Imperial Probe. Her droid will help solve puzzles and assist in combat.

While EA Motive hasn’t shared many gameplay specifics yet, Motive producer Paola Jouyaux claimed that it is “taking the open, authentic sandbox-style Dice is known for, and taking it to single player.” Iden and her robot companion will each have a progression system for upgrades. TIE fighters and all other in-game vehicles can be upgraded and customized as well.

Jouyaux claimed the story is a “good length,” but it’s unclear at this point how Battlefront II will choose to structure this sweeping 30-year story. As mentioned, most of the campaign will feature Iden, but players will get a chance to step into the shoes of at least two additional Star Wars characters throughout. There will be at least one mission where you will get to play as classic Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker, and another one where you will wield the uniquely designed lightsaber of Kylo Ren.

We know from the latest trailer that players will visit Sullust, Pillio, Vardos, and Bespin.

Heroes and villains

In July, 2017, redditor uninspired zebra posted a list of multiplayer hero characters, which uninspired zebra said was mined from the game’s closed alpha. The list includes many of the iconic characters you’d expect to see in any Star Wars game, as well as a couple of surprises. A notable deep cut addition to the leaked roster is Bossk, the lizard-faced bounty hunter from Empire Strikes Back who canonically mentored a young Boba Fett.

  • Han Solo (R)
  • Leia (R)
  • Luke (R)
  • Rey (R)
  • Yoda (R)
  • Chewbacca (R)
  • Lando (R)
  • Iden (E?)
  • Darth Vader (E)
  • Emperor (E)
  • Grievous (E)
  • Kylo Ren (E)
  • Maul (E)
  • Phasma (E)
  • Boba Fett (E)
  • Bossk (E)

EA has confirmed a limited number of heroes so far, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Yoda, Kylo Ren, Rey, Boba Fett, and Yoda. Finn and Captain Phasma will also join the roster at a later date for free. According to the latest trailer narrated by John Boyega, Battlefront II will have 14 heroes in all, meaning that at least two of the leaked heroes above will not be in the game at launch.

Offline co-op exclusive to consoles

Shortly after Star Wars Celebration concluded, Xbox Wire reported that Star Wars Battlefront II will support offline, split-screen co-op, but that it will be exclusive to consoles. Gavankar confirmed the return of the first game’s “Skirmish” mode during EA’s press conference on June 10, but she didn’t specify if this experience varied across systems.

When playing co-op offline, you can earn upgrades to be used in the online multiplayer.

Improved multiplayer

Like the latest Battlefront, the core multiplayer gameplay for Battlefront II will be developed by Dice. At the 2017 Star Wars Celebration, Dice revealed that the game will feature a character progression system, addressing another element fans felt was sorely missing from the original. Dice creative director Bernd Diemer said players will choose a character and a discipline for that character; each discipline will have a specific path, which will fit into the Star Wars universe. Based on pre-order bonuses, we know that there will be at least four core trooper classes — Officer, Assault, Heavy, and Specialist. Each class has its own unique abilities, weapons, and weapon attachments.

The power-up token system used in the first game for acquiring heroes or vehicles has been removed — in its place is a Call of Duty-like “battle points” system that will reward good performances with special characters like Darth Maul, Rey, and even a Super Battle Droid. Players earn battle points throughout the match for completing many of the tasks they would already do through normal play, including killing enemies or capturing an objective. Earn enough of these, and you’ll be able to spawn in as reinforcements, including Flametroopers and Wookies, pilot an enormous AAT, or play as the B2 Super Battle Droid, and you’ll be earning additional battle points then, as well.

Crates, cards, and all kinds of loot

“Star Cards,” which were used in the first game to customize your special abilities in multiplayer, will return in Battlefront II, and the game has implemented a loot box system similar to Overwatch for acquiring them. By spending in-game currency earned through normal play, you’ll be able to purchase loot crates that come in four tiers, and the “Epic” tier is available only through crafting, instead of through loot boxes as originally planned.

Loot crates can also contain additional currency or items that can be used to upgrade existing Star Cards to the “Epic” tier. This gets more expensive over time, as YouTuber BattlefrontUpdates pointed out in his video on the topic. However, in order to upgrade Star Cards, you must have reached a certain rank, which should cut down on the “pay to win” fears fans were worried about.

Star Cards earned through loot crates will be tied to basic characters, as well as the heroes and villains you can play as during a match. Darth Maul, for instance, can acquire a “saber defense” Epic card that reduces the amount of damage he takes. If you get a duplicate Star Card, you’ll receive crafting parts that can be used toward a desired Star Card.

The loot crate system drew a fair bit of controversy during the beta period in early October. Many were rankled by the fact that purchasing the crates using real money gives players access to the best weapons and abilities far sooner than those earning them through play. In the wake of concerns from fans and pundits, EA responded by announcing plans to tweak the formula following the beta, while denying that the game unfairly pushed players toward spending extra money.

“As a balance goal, we’re working towards having the most powerful items in the game only earnable via in-game achievements,” EA said in the blog post.

EA also noted a few additional factors about the crate system that weren’t present in the beta. For example, Star Cards, which directly affect gameplay, can only be upgraded after reaching certain ranks. Also, the most powerful items will only be unlockable through play, not through crates.

Additionally, the majority of weapons can now only be unlocked through normal play, instead of in loot crates. A select few special weapons will still be available this way, however. You’ll also be able to gain class-specific loot crates by playing as a certain class, eliminating the chance of getting gear that isn’t relevant to you.

Fight on every Battlefront in the Star Wars timeline

Battlefront II‘s multiplayer spans all three Star Wars eras — the original trilogy, the prequels, and the current arc. Each character class will have versions for each of the three eras. You can also choose to play as a generic Star Wars character, such as a Storm Trooper or a droid, and Battlefront II will include generic characters across all three eras as well. As in the last Battlefront, players will also be able to play as “hero characters” from both the rebel army and the Empire/First Order, as well as hop into vehicles.

Vehicles shown off during the game’s multiplayer reveal included the Vulture and V-Wing, and they appear to handle similarly to the vehicles in the 2015 game. 38 vehicles will be available in the game’s multiplayer modes, according to the most recent trailer, dwarfing the 11 seen in its predecessor.

There will be 14 locations playable across the game’s multiplayer modes. The most recent overview trailer revealed them all:

  • Death Star II
  • Kashyyyk
  • Ryloth
  • Jakku
  • Endor
  • Hoth
  • Kamino
  • Starkiller Base
  • Yavin 4
  • Mos Eisley
  • Unknown Regions
  • Naboo
  • Takddana
  • Fondor

Across the 14 maps, users can play in five different multiplayer modes:

  • Galactic Assault
  • Blast
  • Strike
  • Starfighter Assault
  • Heroes vs. Villains

Blast is described as fast-paced and taking place in close quarters. Strike is an objective-based mode that EA is considering making a best of three, while Heroes vs. Villains strictly features the fourteen heroes in combat.

Teased in June, 2017, Assault on Theed takes place on the capital city of Naboo — featured heavily in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace — and showed off the Galactic Assault 40-player battles. The map was shown off during the game’s multiplayer reveal on June 10, and it features a battle between Clone Troopers and the Separatist’s droids.

Starfighter Assault, developed by Criterion Software, takes players off the ground and into space for aerial ship battles.

Starfighter Assault features its own group of class-based ships, which include a balanced class, a slower bomber, and a quick interceptor. In the three-phase mode, rebel pilots attempt to destroy Imperial defenses before eliminating shield projectors and eventually destroying a central reactor core. To stop them, 12 Imperial pilots can make use of their own ships and turrets to protect their territory.

Heroes make an appearance in Starfighter Assault, as well. Darth Maul’s “Scimitar” ship can use a cloaking ability to stealthily move around the air, while Han Solo and Chewbacca pilot the famous Millennium Falcon. Poe Dameron and his black X-Wing also make an appearance, and a special area-of-effect ability allows him to protect his fellow rebels more easily.

Other heroes in Starfighter Assault include Yoda and Boba Fett, the latter of whom pilots his Slave I. It comes with a seismic charge that is particularly effective in later stages of the battle when ships are grouped close to each other.

We went hands-on with Battlefield II’s multi-player after EA Play.

Arcade mode

In the John Boyega-narrated trailer, an offline arcade mode was revealed. Described as a means to perfect your skills, arcade mode features split-screen cooperative or versus gameplay, along with single player. Arcade mode appears to take place on multiplayer maps and sees players go through waves of enemies. Rewards can be earned in arcade mode, but the nature of those rewards is unclear.

Open beta

Like its predecessor, Battlefront II features an open multiplayer beta. The beta runs from October 6-11 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Those who pre-order the game received early beta access starting October 4 before it opened up to all users.

The beta includes a Galactic Assault mission on Naboo: Theed, and a Starfighter Assault map on Fondor. It also includes access to a “Strike” mission at Maz’s castle, pitting a team of First Order troops or Resistance fighters against each other — it’s on a smaller scale, pitting two teams of eight against each other. Beta players will also be able to try the Naboo: Theed map in a single player “Arcade” setting.

Everyone who participates in the Star Wars Battlefront II beta will receive a special “Founder’s Crate” when the game launches in November, which includes credits, a rare trooper-class Star Card, and an emote for Darth Maul.

No season pass

Besides the omission of a campaign, the biggest complaint surrounding Battlefront II was the $50 season pass. Technically, purchasing the season pass was better than buying all four DLC packs individually at $15 a piece, but the main issue was that the multiplayer component only felt full once all of those packs were released. Diemer told Mashable the game will not feature a season pass.

Instead, Diemer seemed to imply that Battlefront II will take a user-friendly approach to post-release content. “We don’t want to segment our community,” he said. At EA Play 2017, EA confirmed that all post-release content include maps, weapons, and characters, will be completely free. The first season of content will roll out shortly after the game launches.

Possible VR support?

The original Battlefront had downloadable content playable in PS VR, leading many to wonder if that support would expand for Battlefront II. In early May, a NeoGAF user posted an image from a Danish Sony newsletter that showed a thumbnail claiming PSVR support for Battlefront II. Sony then issued a statement to UploadVR claiming that the promotional email was incorrect, and clarified that “nothing has been announced about PS VR support.

In other words, we have no idea. Given the language, there’s still a chance that some portion of Battlefront II could be playable in VR somewhere down the line.

Pre-order bonuses and early access

Battlefront II will launch November 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. EA and Origin Access subscribers can get timed access to the game starting on November 9.

If you pre-order the standard edition ($60), you will receive exclusive Kylo Ren- and Rey-themed looks based off of The Last Jedi, as well as “epic ability modifiers” for Ren, Rey, and the Millennium Falcon.

A special Elite Trooper Deluxe edition will also be available for $80. Along with all of the standard edition pre-order perks, the Elite Trooper edition includes upgraded versions of the four trooper classes, an epic ability upgrade for each trooper class, and weapon unlocks and modifications for the troopers. The deluxe edition also gives you access to the game on November 14, three days before the official release.

Update: Added new information about loot crates.

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