Star Wars Battlefront (2015 video game)
|Star Wars Battlefront|
|Series||Star Wars: Battlefront|
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, third-person shooter|
Star Wars Battlefront is an action shooter video game developed by EA DICE, with additional work from Criterion Games, and published by Electronic Arts. The game, based on the Star Wars franchise, is the third major release in the Star Wars: Battlefront sub-series, and is considered a reboot to the previous games, instead of a sequel. The game was released worldwide in November 2015, and received mixed reviews from critics. Critics praised the game for its gameplay, visuals and high production values but was criticized for its lack of content on both single player and multiplayer modes. Despite this, it was a commercial success, selling over 13 million copies.
Star Wars Battlefront is an action game played from either a first-person or third-person view; players can switch views whenever desired, similar to previous games, except when controlling "hero" characters or their personal guards. Players traverse planets from the original Star Wars trilogy, such as Endor, Hoth, Tatooine, Bespin, and Sullust, as well as environments from the sequel trilogy, and additionally Jakku. To navigate the world, players use a variety of vehicles, including both air and land-based vehicles, such as speederbikes and AT-STs. Battles are planet-based, restricting players from exploring space. The only map that is space-based is included in the expansion pack titled "Death Star", which was released in September 2016. The game's weapons, characters, gear, and abilities are customizable. As new weapons are unlocked, players have the ability to share them with their teammates. Battlefront does not feature iron sights, but allows players to zoom in for better accuracy.
The game lets players choose to control either a Rebel Alliance soldier or an Imperial Stormtrooper. Other playable characters from the films can also be controlled, such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Emperor Palpatine, Leia Organa, Boba Fett, with Nien Nunb, Greedo, Lando Calrissian, Dengar, Bossk and Chewbacca being available through DLC. Non-playable characters such as C-3PO, Admiral Ackbar, and Jabba the Hutt make minor appearances in the game. The game includes cooperative missions, which can be played offline, but excludes a campaign mode. Players can complete the missions both independently and with bots or another player; the game supports split screen on consoles. The game's online multiplayer mode supports up to 40 players in one match and consists of 16 multiplayer maps. These maps feature five locations from the Star Wars universe: Hoth, Tatooine, Endor, Sullust and Jakku, while the additional locations of Bespin's Cloud City and the Death Star as well as Rogue One's Scarif are available through DLC.
Development and release
In May 2013, publisher Electronic Arts obtained exclusive rights to develop Star Wars games for gaming consoles, and its subsidiaries DICE, Visceral Games, and BioWare started work on Star Wars games. DICE first acknowledged the game at Electronic Arts' E3 2013 press conference, along with a teaser trailer. The game is built with the Frostbite 3 engine; studio head Patrick Söderlund stated that the game would be "DICE's interpretation of what Battlefront should be", while still incorporating elements from the previous two games. As such, DICE did not brand the new game as a sequel to Battlefront II, but a reboot of the franchise. Söderlund said that the game almost wasn't developed, but that staffers at DICE lobbied to be given the project; he called DICE's development of Battlefront "a match made in heaven". Instead of using traditional modeling techniques, the developers used photogrammetry to produce the assets. Small teams formed by artists were responsible for selecting the right assets that could be used by level designers to build maps. According to DICE, the process of developing the assets for the game took half as much time to develop the assets for Battlefield 4, which were produced by using traditional modeling techniques.
In June 2014, it was revealed at EA's E3 2014 press conference that the ice planet Hoth and the forest moon of Endor would be playable maps for the game. In late October of that year, it was revealed that the game would be released Christmas 2015, tying in with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To meet the deadline, the team had to remove the game's single-player campaign mode. In early March 2015, the first gameplay footage of the game was shown at a private retail event and received a standing ovation from the audience. In April 2015, at Star Wars Celebration 2015 in Anaheim, California, the first gameplay details and the second trailer was released. The first downloadable content of the game, entitled Battle of Jakku, was also announced during the event.
In April 2015, EA announced that Battlefront would release in North America on November 17 and in Europe on November 20 of that year. They also announced that the game would be released in Australia on November 18. It has been stated that the release date for Europe would fall on November 19. It was confirmed that the game would not feature the Battlelog system, but to use a new system developed by Uprise, an Electronic Arts subsidiary based in Sweden, which has previously worked on the Battlelog system of Battlefield 4. On June 15, further gameplay was shown at E3 2015 depicting the Walker Assault mode on Hoth from perspectives of both the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire using various weapons, items and vehicles such as the AT-AT walker, Snowspeeders and TIE Fighters ending with playable characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader engaging in battle. Another gameplay trailer featuring cooperative missions was also shown at the event. An open beta of the game was released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 8. The beta includes the Walker Assault, Drop Zone, and Survival mission modes. The beta was originally set to close on October 12 but was extended to October 13 for testing of "extreme scenarios". The beta was played by more than nine and a half million players. According to Electronic Arts, it was their largest beta.
Fellow EA developer Criterion Games helped DICE develop the speeder bikes for the game. Visceral Games also assisted in an undisclosed capacity.
Star Wars Battlefront features downloadable content (DLC). A season pass was announced on October 12, 2015 and includes four DLC packs. An "Ultimate Edition" was released digitally that includes the deluxe edition version of the game and the season pass. Aside from the contents of the season pass, additional content will be released for free, which includes new maps and star cards.
The first downloadable content, titled Battle of Jakku, was revealed during Star Wars Celebration 2015 and was made publicly available for download for free on December 8, 2015. Players who pre-ordered the game received the Battle of Jakku DLC a week earlier, on December 1, 2015. It features two maps set on planet Jakku.
Outer Rim is the second downloadable content for the game, which was released on March 22, 2016. It adds maps set in Jabba the Hutt's palace in Tatooine and a factory area in Sullust. It also includes iconic characters Nien Nunb and Greedo. The DLC is available to players who have purchased the game's Season Pass. Outer Rim is the first of the four DLC packs planned for Season Pass owners.
The third expansion pack is titled Bespin. It introduces the Cloud City, Bespin, and allows players to play as the hero Lando Calrissian and the bounty hunter Dengar. It was released on June 21, 2016.
The fourth expansion pack, titled Death Star, was released on September 20, 2016, and marked the debut of the Death Star in the game, as well as Chewbacca, and bounty hunter Bossk, as playable characters.
The final expansion pack as part of the Season Pass, Rogue One: Scarif, will be released in late 2016, based on the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, allowing players control of characters Orson Krennic and Jyn Erso.
Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission
Criterion Games is also developing an exclusive mission titled Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission, again acting as a tie-in to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It will be released for free on the PlayStation 4 version of the game in December 2016 and utilizes the PlayStation VR headset.
Base Command is a companion app available on the App Store and Google Play. Base Command can be played with or without owning Star Wars Battlefront. Players defend the Rebel base from the Galactic Empire using Star Cards featuring vehicles, weapons, and power-ups. In the companion app, players can earn virtual credits, which can be used to unlock star cards, weapons, and character customization in the main game.
Leon Hurley of GamesRadar had a positive impression of Star Wars Battlefront beta. He praised the game's gunplay for its being "strong" and seeming "great" but heavily criticized Walker Assault, one of the game's modes, for its difficulty of winning it as a Rebel. He compared the game's visuals to the Star Wars films' realistic clashes. Moreover, he praised the accuracy of Stormtroopers for its being "at least 100% true to the movie" and called wave-one soldiers "exceptionally special" while pointing out the flaw that the game had an unusual balance of Star Wars heroes and villains. For example, Darth Vader would be splatted by any passing ship while Luke Skywalker would have "far more luck on the 'looking epic' side of things" such as successfully destroying an AT-ST solo. Another flaw which he had pointed out is the "weird" and "infuriating" timing of ending scenes in which screens overlap the ends of matches.
The game's lack of a campaign for the single-player mode was criticized. Steven Storm of Ars Technica praised the visuals, stating: "DICE has at least captured the look and feel of Star Wars, perhaps better than any other game with the license before it." He likened gameplay to the "standard Battlefield formula of walk, get shot, respawn, and repeat...".
Star Wars Battlefront received mixed reviews for the PC and PlayStation 4 and positive reviews for the Xbox One, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. Mizuho Securities analyst Neil Doshi noted the negative reviews, but predicted that the game would prevail as a financial hit. Mike Mahardy of GameSpot criticised the game's perceived repetitive combat. Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb praised the game for capturing the Star Wars feel. Due to heavy criticism about the gameplay's lack of depth and approach to casual gamers, Blake Jorgensen, Electronic Arts' chief financial officer admitted that the game was intentionally designed to be accessible for those new to first-person shooter games, or children wanting to play with their parents, going against the hardcore fanbase of Star Wars: Battlefront (2004).
The universal consensus among many critics is that the game's details are generally praiseworthy. For that reason, Mitch Dyer of IGN referred to the game as one of the best-looking games of the generation.
The feeling of Battlefront's lack of content upon release was noticed by several critics. Andrew Reiner of Game Informer criticized the Season Pass approach by feeling a little cheated given the sparse content available at launch.
Electronic Arts expected the game to sell nine to ten million units before the end of the company's 2016 financial year on March 31, 2016. After the release of the game's beta, the company hoped the game to sell at least 13 million copies by the end of March 2016.
Star Wars Battlefront debuted at number one in the UK for retail non-digital sales according to Chart-Track in its first week of release, and became the fourth fastest-selling title released in 2015. It marked the biggest launch of a video game in the Star Wars franchise, and exceeded the sales of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the previous record holder, by 117%. It was also the fastest-selling online PlayStation 4 video game, breaking the record previously held by Destiny.
In early December 2015, GameStop president Tony Bartel told retail investors that a number of key November games had sold fewer copies than the chain had expected. Star Wars Battlefront was one of three titles listed, along with Halo 5 and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Peter Moore, however, defended Star Wars Battlefront's launch sales and spoke out to investors to say that Electronic Arts was still standing by its target of selling 13 million copies by the end of March 2016.
According to analyst Michael Pachter, the game had sold 12 million units as of December 31, 2015. Star Wars Battlefront made its sales goal of selling 13 million copies by the start of 2016 and had sold 14 million copies by May 2016.
|List of awards and nominations|
|The Game Awards 2015||Best Shooter||Nominated|
A sequel, currently being developed by EA DICE and Motive Studios, is set to be released in 2017.
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