Update: We now have an official date for the Star Wars Battlefront II beta – October 4, 2017. That date is when players who pre-order the game will be able to jump in for the first time on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
So what will the beta have in store? From the sounds of it, players can look forward to the 20 v 20 Galactic Assault mode on Theed City that we saw during EA's 2017 EA Play keynote at E3. You can also expect to see a Starfighter Assault battle match where you'll be allowed to fight in ship-to-ship combat.
Players who don't pre-order game will have to wait until the beta opens to the public two days later on October 6. Considering that the beta is only slated to go on until October 9, it might make sense for the most fervent of players to reserve a copy ahead of time.
Original story continues below…
Things are pretty great for Star Wars fans at the moment: not only are new films coming on the regular, according to EA's Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen there are going to be a handful of games from various studios too.
The next exciting title in the Star Wars franchise is, of course, EA Dice’s Battlefront 2, the sequel to the franchise reboot first released in 2015.
When it was first released, Star Wars Battlefront received a mixed reception with some praising how it captured the Star Wars atmosphere perfectly with its excellent cinematic visuals while others bemoaned its repetitive combat and limited depth and content.
In spite of criticisms, the game still sold over 14 million copies and counting. With a sequel on the way, though, EA has the chance to learn from the first release and create something bigger and better.
If from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen are anything to go by, that’s exactly what we’re going to get: “If there was criticism, they just wanted more. So we're taking that criticism to heart as we build the next game and trying to address any of the issues that they had.”
And address it they have.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to the multiplayer-focused shooter Star Wars Battlefront
- When can I play it? November 17 2017
- What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC
Trailers and screenshots
It's the multiplayer gameplay trailer, and the new Star Wars video shows that the new Star Wars story bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, according to Electronic Arts.
It's much bigger than the original game, with three times the content, more space battles and content from all Star Wars eras.
In fact, EA claims that there's so much to Star Wars Battlefront 2 that it "will have us playing together for years to come." That's a pretty cold statement.
This is valid, because the game will bring out new content in the form of seasons, with the first first season of DLC starring Finn and Phasma.
It'll be free content this holiday season and if you buy the Star Wars Battlefront 2 on PS4 and Xbox One, you can enjoy split-screen co-op.
It wasn't said at EA's press conference, but there's no split-screen co-op on the PC version. The same is true about the Star Wars BF2 Deluxe version of the game. It's so far console-only.
One of the biggest changes to Star Wars Battlefront 2 gameplay comes from what EA calls Battlepoints buy upgrades, vehicles and special characters.
The new game will also feature customizations, not just from weapons. It goes all the way down to the character's abilities.
The first trailer for the game gave fans a glimpse of the its single-player campaign which it appears will revolve around an "untold soldier's story" in the Empire. As well as this single-player campaign that appears to be set in the period following the Empire's defeat at Endor, there'll also be a multiplayer mode of the game which will span "across all eras."
This means we'll see locations and characters from the series' original trilogy as well as the prequels and new films. The trailer gives us a look at characters like Rey, Kylo Ren, Yoda and Darth Maul across a variety of locations. It also looks like there will indeed be exciting space battles involved.
A new two minute feature called The Story of an Imperial Soldier has been released which gives more of an insight into the game's single player campaign and its protagonist.
In the video game director, Mark Thompson, and Lucasfilm creative exec, Steve Blank, discuss Iden Versio and more about the game's imperial-focused story.
The game's creators say they really wanted to get into the head of an imperial soldier through Iden Versio. As commander of the elite Inferno Squad with an admiral father, Iden's belief in the good of the Empire runs in her blood.
Apparently the imperial army won't be a bunch of brainwashed soldiers and conscripts; it'll be a complex look at how people may want to fight for Palpatine. We imagine it'd be hard to angle something called the Death Star positively, but we're more than willing to see an attempt to humanise the Empire.
The Friday before the big E3 reveal, we got another teasing look at the game's Naboo planet, too, with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse at the chatty-but-incompetent Battle Droids, courtesy of an official tweet from the PlayStation account:
Turns out, November and December are going to be great months for Star Wars fans.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 will see a worldwide release on November 17 2017, followed shortly by the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode 8 The Last Jedi one month later on December 15.
What this means is that the game will be out slightly ahead of the movie – and thus has the potential to give us a brief look at new locations and new ships from the upcoming film.
Those who pre-order the game will have access to two new skins – Episode 8 variations of Kylo Ren and Rey – as well as two new ships – the Episode 8 variation of the Millennium Falcon and a yet undisclosed ship from the new movie.
EA and Origin Access subscribers will be able to get their Star Wars fix even earlier, with a downloadable trial becoming available a week early on November 9.
What we know we'll see
Thanks to the Star Wars Celebration panel, we now have expert insight into what we can expect when the game comes out. There are two important new additions here: a story mode and space battles.
Single player campaign
Let's start first by looking at the game's new single-player mode.
In it, you'll play as Iden Versio, a member of the Imperial Forces elite ops unit called Inferno Squad, a combination of expert Tie Pilots and covert commandos. During the trailer for the game we watch Iden witness the destruction of the second Death Star above the moon of Endor. Without direct missions from the now-deceased Emperor, Iden leads her squad on a mission of revenge to try and quell the Rebellion.
To that end, Battlefront II will occupy the time between the sixth film of the franchise, Return of the Jedi, and the seventh film, The Force Awakens.
After the battle on Endor, players will travel to Iden's homeworld, a planet that has been under Imperial control for the entirety of her life. Instead of an martial law-loving Imperial city that we've seen in the past, however, Ida's homeworld has come to embrace and love the Empire. This love hits home the theme that the single-player campaign is going for, which is that yes, the Rebellion had heroes, but so did the Empire.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer single player game director Mark Thompson and Criterion's Matt Webster revealed that the single player campaign will be “a continuous story with a beginning a middle and an end” rather than separate missions and war stories like Battlefield 1.
Players will follow Iden for 30 years, from the end of Jedi up to the Force Awakens at Starkiller base, though there will be moments in the story where the player will switch sides and play "from the perspective of one of the iconic heroes because […] that’s just part of Battlefront’s DNA.”
In the trailer it was revealed that Iden will have a droid. According to Thompson, this droid will offer players a way to customize their play style while they're playing as Iden. For example, he says it will offer them choice when it comes to how they engage in a combat scenario so we imagine the droid will be able to be used as back up in combat, as a scout or perhaps even as a tool for hacking.
Considering the Motive development team has been brought in to work on the single-player specifically, there’s little chance of it feeling like a tacked on afterthought and we're excited to see how this will play out.
It's been confirmed that Battlefront 2 will explore characters, locations and events from the new films and prequel trilogy as well as the original trilogy.
That means that in addition to characters like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo and Boba Fett, players will get to take control of characters such as Rey, Kylo Ren, Yoda and Darth Maul.
The other interesting addition in this iteration will be space battles. These will be developed by Criterion and will allow players to engage in epic dogfights over some of the most iconic battlefields in the Star Wars universe.
Combat with depth
In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Star Wars Battlefront 2's creative director Bern Diemer said that DICE wants to add depth the game's multiplayer modes.
This time around Heroes will apparently not be all-powerful game changers as they once were. As well as making Heroes more present and not restricted to a "lucky few" players, DICE will add something called team play to make sure that those playing as standard troopers are not at an unfair advantage.
Team play is based on classes and leveling and encourages players to join up with their friends in well-balanced squads in order to take down heroes.
Matt Webster revealed that there will be 4 Trooper classes which are differentiated by standard things like range and firepower.
There will, apparently be "customization and progression inside the Trooper classes, inside Heroes and inside Starfighters. So whilst they have clear lines of class types, there is customization within those."
Webster said they'll reveal exactly how that will work at a later date, but we imagine gadgets will have something to do with it as Diemer told PC Gamer that to improve personalization and depth, abilities and gadgets will also be introduced. According to Diemer different classes in the game will have access to different items.
For example, Diemer said that troopers don't really "have a personality" and to give them one "you need to be able to customize them in some way so it feels right. I really like using grenades, so I might try to pull my class a little bit towards my favorite toy or my favorite gadget.”
It's also been confirmed that there will be no more blue pick ups to become a Hero character, with Webster explaining that “it was becoming a brief experience for the lucky few, or people were just hunting and hanging around the spawn locations for tokens. So we wanted to expand the hero play within a battle, we wanted to increase that scope but also have a better system for players to be able to become a hero than just picking up a token.”
This addition of classes and squads brings Battlefront 2 more in line with DICE's other multiplayer shooter releases such as Battlefield.
Heroes from all eras of the Star Wars universe
A recent leak from Star Wars Battlefront 2's closed alpha has given what may be our first (though perhaps not complete) look at the game's hero roster. New and returning character details were found by user uninspired_zebra who then posted the information to the site which was picked up by .
Heroes returning from the first game include Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Vader, Boba Fett, Lando, the Emperor and Bossk. Characters from the first game not included here include Nien Nunb, Greedo, Dengar, Jyn Erso and Orson Krennic.
New Heroes for Battlefront 2 are Yoda, Darth Maul, General Grievous, Rey, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and the single-player mode's protagonist, Iden Versio.
EA has confirmed a few of these characters before now but a character not in the list that EA has already confirmed is Finn, who it was revealed would arrive as a free DLC character alongside Phasma later this year.
Whether this means the Alpha files are simply incomplete or something else has happened is unclear. We'll update with more news as it becomes available.
Will there be VR?
It’s been revealed that Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission developer Criterion is involved in the development of Battlefront 2 which points to the idea that there will perhaps be some VR content involved with the game, or at least the addition of some epic space battle missions.
In a recent interview, it was revealed that as far as the team is concerned “We are not talking about VR at the moment for Battlefront 2. That's a story for another day…” That's not a direct no, but it does confirm that Criterion's main involvement is with regards to improving space battles and making them more dynamic and open.