Squeaky Mouse Droid: E3 Battlefront Gameplay
Star Wars and video games: you will find, young Jedi, that these to things work well together. Like peanut butter and jelly, salad and the dressing. It’s not merely a perfect pairing; it’s downright special. What’s more, it’s something to get excited over.
The latest in Star Wars gaming was on display at this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles, California. As for the conference as a whole, even for the casual viewer who doesn’t spend hours working this thumb and forefingers while staring at high def images moving at speeds up to 60 frames per second, there were some impressive new games, some entirely new (like Unravel, which just looks so endearing yet sad as well; I mean, he’s going to run out of thread eventually, right?) to the revamping of an old classic (here’s looking at Final Fantasy 7 Remake) that would please even non-gamers, at least on an aesthetic level. Yet, for Star Wars fans, nothing at this conference could compete with the anticipation for the first bit of actual gameplay footage for the new Star Wars Battlefront game.
Guess what? It looks, really, like EA has knocked it out of the park.
Let’s reflect for a moment: Star Wars had always been the film franchise that translated best to video games. Any die hard fans remember that old arcade game where vector graphics were used to recreate the trench run battle – a battle that has since been featured in a slew of games since, as it’s just the perfect type of battle for a video game? Or how about the first Return of the Jedi game, where you hop on speeder bikes and try to weave through tall trees? The Super Star Wars trilogy was a highlight of the bye-gone Super Nintendo days. Since the turn of the millennium, Star Wars games had shifted in the direction of role playing and immersiveness, as many games strived to deepen the very mythos of Star Wars. Examples of this type of gameplay included great titles like Knights of the Old Republic and, more recently, the MMORPG Old Republic.
The E3 conference has now given fans a glimpse of the immediate future of Star Wars video games. First there was a new expansion for Old Republic called Knights of the Fallen Empire. Then there was some footage of a new title called Galaxy of Heroes, which, along with the post-Jedi title Uprising(which, strangely enough, wasn’t mentioned at the conference despite the intrigue of it’s place in canon), will make it very difficult for fans to put down their smart phones and iPads. Yet, as good as these games might be, no other game had more anticipation going into this conference than Battlefront.
Fans have been frothing at the mouth for footage of this one, especially after some of a nice of appetizer of cinematic footage dropped during Star Wars Celebration earlier this year. That footage, which was created using the game’s Frostbite engine, was incredible. It really felt like the parts of the battle of Endor that director Richard Marquand simply couldn’t show us in Return of the Jedi. The speeder bike chases in that film still hold up as the most imaginative chase scenes in cinematic history, and the game footage shown at Celebration managed to recapture what made those scenes so special. Yet, what fans really wanted to see – after a tease like that – was how this game actually played. The E3 conference provided that.
The setting: Hoth. The player is a rebel soldier moving through the corridors of Echo Base making his way to the hanger and – eventually – to the dreaded North Ridge where the AT-AT assault is in full swing. The game footage is fantastically detailed and so stunningly accurate that it will take us back to The Empire Strikes Back as no game as ever done before. It game offers so much freedom of movement as well as exciting possibilities: you can fly a TIE fighter (as a soldier of the Empire) or a, as a hopeful rebel hero, a snowspeeder. The view from inside the cockpit of these vehicles all look indistinguishable from what we’d seen in the film: you are truly reliving the battle of Hoth in all of it’s glory. You can even take your snowspeeder between the elephant-like legs of the Imperial Walkers as blaster fire surrounds you. What’s more: You can play as Luke Skywalker!
Take a look at the gameplay released by EA, “Walker Assault on Hoth”:
[youtube id=”jXU5k4U8x20″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
When released, the game will allow to play in battles on the planets Hoth, Sullust, and Tatooine, as well as the forest moon of Endor, and pre-ordering the game will give you the opportunity to play on Jakku, one of the new settings that will be introduced in the film The Force Awakens.
Put simply, this is Battlefield set in the Star Wars universe. It even uses the same gaming engine, and will no doubt be just as difficult (particularly with getting other players to cooperate) but will have that extra special quality that Battlefield doesn’t have: it will be set in the Star Wars galaxy, and will have that unique look and feel that can only be found in Star Wars. For fans of this franchise who happen to own one of those next-gen consoles, November can’t come quick enough.
In another news tidbit: A leaked photo of a Force Awakens wardrobe test started making the rounds of the internet, and it’s significant because it is the first glimpse so far of Leia as she will appear in the new film. We all know that the “big three” will appear in the film in some capacity, but so far, we’ve only seen a fleeting glimpse of Han Solo. The coming months promise to reveal more to us about this film, including what kind of roles the “big three” will play. What is most interesting about Leia in these wardrobe tests is, in fact, the wardrobe itself. It’s nearly identical to the uniforms the soldiers wore on the Tantive 4 a the start of A New Hope (as well as scenes later in the film on Yavin 4) but the belt buckle lets her stand apart as Leia in the most subtle ways, it looks like her…
It will be great to see Carrie Fisher reprise this iconic role, as Leia is one of cinema;s most iconic female characters, as well as the fact that the actress has been through her share of ups and downs since her time on Star Wars, and with this film, we can all be thankful that she has, in essence, come back home.