Star Wars Battlefront II (2017 video game)

Star Wars Battlefront II is an action shooter video game based on the Star Wars film franchise. It is the fourth major installment of the Star Wars: Battlefront series and seventh overall, and a sequel to the 2015 reboot of the series. It was developed by EA DICE, in collaboration with Criterion Games and Motive Studios, and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released worldwide on November 17, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

Star Wars Battlefront II
SWBF2 box.jpeg
Cover art for Star Wars Battlefront II
Developer(s)EA DICE[a]
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Director(s)Bernd Diemer
Producer(s)
  • Paul Keslin
  • Craig McLeod
  • James Salt
Designer(s)Niklas Fegraeus
Programmer(s)Jonas Kjellström
Artist(s)Andrew Hamilton
Writer(s)
Composer(s)Gordy Haab
SeriesStar Wars: Battlefront
EngineFrostbite 3
Platform(s)
ReleaseNovember 17, 2017
Genre(s)
Mode(s)

Upon release, Battlefront II received mixed reviews from critics. The game was also subject to widespread criticism regarding the status of its loot boxes, which could give players substantial gameplay advantages if purchased with real money. A response from EA's community team on Reddit on the topic became the single most down-voted comment in the site's history[2] – and in response, EA decided to temporarily remove microtransactions from the game until a later date. In January 2018, EA announced that the microtransactions would return "in the next few months".[3] These returning microtransactions are purely cosmetic, do not affect gameplay, and are purchased directly through in-game currency rather than through loot crates.[4]

Since its release, the game received numerous content updates regularly, which greatly increased the players community. The last major update was on April 29, 2020, when it was announced that regular content updates would stop, though bugs and glitches would continue to be fixed to enhance the gameplay experience.[5]

Gameplay

 
Star Wars Battlefront II features gameplay from the Star Wars prequel films, which was absent in the game's predecessor.

Star Wars Battlefront II is mostly a third or first-person shooter, featuring both single-player and multiplayer game modes, a customizable character class system, and content based on all Star Wars movies up to The Last Jedi (with content for the other movies, as well as television series being added later on via free DLC).[6]

Maps and locations

The game features locations from the original, prequel, and sequel Star Wars movie trilogies. The available maps at launch included Kamino, Kashyyyk, Naboo (for the prequel trilogy), the Death Star II, Endor, Yavin IV, Hoth, the Mos Eisley Spaceport on Tatooine (for the original trilogy), Jakku, Takodana and Starkiller Base (for the sequel trilogy), as well as a smaller-scale Cloud City map on Bespin and space maps over Kamino, Ryloth (for the prequel trilogy), Fondor, Endor (for the original trilogy) and the Unknown Regions (for the sequel trilogy). Seven more maps added later on, namely Jabba's Palace on Tatooine, Kessel, Scarif (for the original trilogy), Geonosis, Felucia (for the prequel trilogy), Crait, a space map over D'Qar, and Ajan Kloss (for the sequel trilogy).

Classes and vehicles

All the battles in the game are era-based, taking place during either the Clone Wars (the war between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems / the Separatists), the Galactic Civil War (the war between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire), or the First Order-Resistance war, with each era having its own specific types of troopers, vehicles, and planets. The game offers a variety of unique game modes, most of which have the player take control of four main ground classes (Assault, Heavy, Officer and Specialist), aligned to either the Galactic Republic (represented by clone troopers), the Separatists (battle droids), the Rebel Alliance (Rebel troopers), the Empire (stormtroopers), the Resistance (Resistance troopers), or the First Order (First Order stormtroopers), and compete in large or small scale battles against other players (or, in some cases, enemies controlled by an AI).

In space battles, the players take control of space ships rather than ground troopers or vehicles, but the play style is more or less the same, also being class-based. There are a total of three base classes for the space battles:

  • Fighter - represented by the ARC-170 Starfighter and, on Naboo only, the N-1 Starfighter for the Republic; the Vulture Droid for the Separatists; the T-65B X-Wing for the Rebel Alliance; the TIE/ln Fighter for the Empire; the T-70 X-Wing for the Resistance; and the TIE/fo Fighter for the First Order.
  • Interceptor - the V-Wing for the Republic; the Droid Tri-Fighter for the Separatists; the RZ-1 A-Wing for the Rebel Alliance; the TIE/IN Interceptor for the Empire; the RZ-2 A-Wing for the Resistance; and the TIE/sf Fighter for the First Order
  • Bomber - the BTL-B Y-Wing for the Republic; the Hyena-class bomber for the Separatists; the BTL-A4 Y-Wing for the Rebel Alliance; and the TIE/sa Bomber for the Empire

There are also six additional "reinforcement" classes, that are unlocked during every match by acquiring battlepoints (earned from defeating enemies or completing specific objectives during each match). For the ground troopers, there are three reinforcement classes:

  • Enforcer - the Wookiee Warrior and Clone Commando for the Republic; the B2 Super Battle Droid and the Droideka for the Separatists; the Wookie Warrior for the Rebel Alliance; the Death Trooper for the Empire; the Ovissian Gunner for the Resistance; and the First Order Flametrooper.
  • Aerial - the Jet Trooper for the Republic; B2-RP Rocket Droid for the Separatists; the Rebel Rocket-Jumper; the Imperial Rocket Trooper; the Resistance Rocket-Jumper; and the First Order Jet Trooper.
  • Infiltrator - the Advanced Recon Commando / ARC Trooper for the Republic; the Commando Droid for the Separatists; the Ewok Hunter for the Rebel Alliance; the ISB Agent for the Empire; the Caphex Spy for the Resistance; and the Sith Trooper for the First Order.

The other three reinforcements are vehicles:

  • Speeder - the BARC Speeder for the Republic; the STAP for the Separatists; the T-47 Airspeeder / Snowspeeder, X-34 Landspeeder and 74-Z Speeder Bike for the Rebel Alliance; the 74-Z Speeder Bike for the Empire; a stolen LIUV / First Order Snowspeeder and the V-4X-D Ski Speeder for the Resistance; and the LIUV for the First Order.
  • Artillery - the LAAT Gunship and the AT-TE for the Republic; the MTT for the Separatists; the U-Wing for the Rebel Alliance; and the AT-AT for the Empire.
  • Armor - the AT-RT and the TX-130 for the Republic; the AAT for the Separatists; the AT-RT for the Rebel Alliance; the AT-ST for the Empire; a stolen First Order AT-ST for the Resistance; and the First Order AT-ST.

Heroes

Battlefront II allows the players to take control of several heroes and villains based on iconic characters from across all the Star Wars movies. At launch, the hero roster included Luke Skywalker (Matthew Mercer), Leia Organa (Misty Lee), Han Solo (John Armstrong), Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Yoda (Tom Kane), and Rey (Daisy Ridley), while the villain roster included Darth Vader (Matt Sloan), Emperor Palpatine (Sam Witwer), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Bossk (Dee Bradley Baker), Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar), Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), and Kylo Ren (Matthew Wood/Roger Craig Smith).

There are also several hero and villain ships, which at launch included Boba Fett's Slave I, Darth Maul's Scimitar, Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1, Han Solo and Chewbacca's Millennium Falcon, Iden Versio's TIE/in Fighter, Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer, Luke Skywalker's T-65B X-Wing, Poe Dameron's T-70 X-Wing, Rey and Chewbacca's Millennium Falcon, and Yoda's Actis-class Light Interceptor.[7]

New heroes and hero ships from across all eras were added later on, including Tallie Lintra's RZ-2 A-Wing, Lando Calrissian and L3-37's Millennium Falcon (from Solo: A Star Wars Story), Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), General Grievous (Matthew Wood), Count Dooku (Corey Burton), BB-8 and BB-9E.

Progression System

The game features a progression system based on "Star Cards", which are unlocked as the player levels up with a specific class or hero and grant them specific benefits. Players level up by defeating enemies or completing objectives during each match. Each class or hero can have a maximum of three Star Cards equipped, and each Star Card can be leveled up to level 4, each level further increasing its benefits. There are also milestones, which grant the player rewards for completing specific tasks, or for simply leveling up with a class or a hero.

For the four base trooper classes, there are up to five unlockable weapons, which are unlocked by completing specific milestones and each has their particular advantages, such as improved range, damage, or fire rate. Each weapon also comes with modifications, which improve specific stats and are also unlocked by completing milestones.

Multiplayer modes

There are a total of twelve online multiplayer game modes, some of which are available to play only for a limited time, with the largest supporting up to 40 simultaneous players with 24 additional AI-controlled players.[8]

  • Galactic Assault: This game mode is centered around unique set pieces set across the thirteen planets and locations featuring all three Star Wars eras involving a team of 20 attackers against 20 defenders, with the attackers having to complete a specific objective in order to progress, whereas the defenders have to stop them.
  • Supremacy: This mode pits two teams of twenty players, with an additional 12 AI bots per team, against each other as they fight to capture and hold a majority of Command Posts which increase reinforcement count in order to attack the enemy team's capital ship and destroy it from within by capturing and destroying objectives. The mode was added in March 2019, initially only for the prequel era, but eventually was made available for both the sequel era, in January 2020, and the original trilogy, in April 2020.
  • Heroes vs. Villains: This mode involves all the heroes and villains in Star Wars Battlefront II, where four light side heroes fight four dark side villains. A deathmatch mode which involves one team of four hero's fighting against a team of four villains, with the first team to 35 kills wins. In the original game mode, one of the four heroes and one of the four villains are selected to be the target to attack. The first team to defeat the enemy team's chosen targets 10 times wins, however the target system was removed in May 2019 in favor of a new mode.
  • Co-Op Missions: This game mode is a Player vs. Entity mode, pitting a team of four players and AI bots against another team of AI bots, the aim being to capture one of between one and three command posts on each of the three or four stages (depending on the map). The players can either attack or defend. This comes with an improvement in Battlefront's AI as the enemy bots can play as heroes and some reinforcements.[9] Originally it was called simply "Co-Op", before the name was changed in the April 2020 update.[5]
  • Hero Showdown: This mode involves teams of two heroes and two villains facing off in round-based duels with no respawn after defeat until the next round begins. The first duo to win three rounds wins.[10] The mode was added to the game in May 2018.
  • Starfighter Assault: In this mode, battles take place in unique set pieces in space and planetary atmospheres involving 12 attackers against 12 defenders, both teams being reinforced with an additional 20 AI ships.
  • Hero Starfighters: This mode pits two teams of four hero ships, with players selecting one of the hero ships to play as, and must defeat all of the enemy team's hero ships. Defeated players respawn as normal starfighters and can play again as a hero ship in the following round after either one team loses all their hero ships or there is a draw. The first team to win three rounds wins. The mode was introduced to the game in July 2018.
  • Strike: Strike has players battling in close quarter scenarios involving a team of eight attackers aiming to either capture a unique objective from a team of eight defenders – essentially one team capture the flag – or arm and destroy two objectives.
  • Blast: Blast is a standard team deathmatch between two teams of eight players in which teams try to reach 100 total combined eliminations before the enemy team can.
  • Ewok Hunt: This mode, introduced as part of the game's April update, has two Ewoks hunt down a group of eighteen stormtroopers; each stormtrooper defeated spawns as another Ewok.[11] It was on rotation with Jetpack Cargo originally as a limited time mode but was later made permanent.
  • Extraction: This game mode, which was released on June 12, 2018, has an attacking team escort cargo through several checkpoints to their final destination while the defending team tries to stop them. The mode was removed on September 25, 2019, and merged with Strike.
  • Jetpack Cargo: This limited-time mode, introduced as part of the game's February 2018 update, has two teams of eight, each equipped with jetpacks, a battle to capture cargo.[12] It was on rotation with Ewok Hunt.

Single-player content

Star Wars Battlefront II features three single-player game modes that are separate of those from the multiplayer component of the game.

  • Instant Action: Inspired by the original Battlefront II Instant Action mode, it is a large scale mode where the player can choose the map and faction they would like to play. To win, the player's team must control the battlefront by securing the most command posts, thereby accruing points. Unlike the similar multiplayer mode ‘Supremacy’, the match ends when a team accrues the maximum number of points. The mode was added in October 2019.[13] In April 2020, the mode was changed to also include "Instant Action Missions", which are similar to the "Co-Op Missions", pitting the player against a team of AI soldiers in either attacking or defending scenarios.[5]
  • Custom Arcade: A smaller scale mode where players take on AI in a choice of Team Battles, Starfighter Battles, Onslaught or Starfighter Onslaught. Team Battles are where the player faces a small team of AI Troopers, while Starfighter Battles are where the player takes on a team of AI ships. Onslaught is where you pick a hero or villain, and you must wipe out the enemy team of AI troopers in the time limit you choose, while Starfighter Onslaught is the same but with ships.
  • Battle Scenarios: A set of classic encounters across all eras of Star Wars, which also grants the player rewards for the multiplayer experience.

Unlike 2015's Battlefront, the game also offers a single-player campaign. Its protagonist is Iden Versio, leader of an Imperial Special Forces group known as Inferno Squad, who participates in multiple events in the 30 years leading up to The Force Awakens. There are segments in the campaign where the player is able to control other characters such as Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. Players can also play in the Arcade mode – an offline single player or local Co-Op where players can choose which side to play on and which battle to play in. Battles vary from team battles to onslaughts. Alternatively, players can choose to do a custom match, where they can change some of the settings and locations.

Downloadable content

Instead of the paid Season Pass downloadable content (DLC) seen in the game's 2015 predecessor, Battlefront II is expanded via free DLC provided to all players with a free EA account.[14][15] The DLC uses a seasonal structure similar to Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege, according to Gavankar. The first season, released on December 13, 2017, it was based on the movie The Last Jedi, and added new Resistance hero Finn (John Boyega) and First Order villain Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), Tallie Lintra's RZ-2 A-Wing as new hero ship, the planet Crait as a ground map, a space map above D'Qar, and a continuation of the single-player campaign.[16] The second season, released on May 16, 2018, was based on the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, and included Jabba's Palace and Kessel as ground maps, new game modes Hero Showdown and Extraction, new hero ship Lando Calrissian and L3-37's Millennium Falcon, and new character skins for Han Solo, Lando, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa. The next set of content was announced on June 9, 2018, during EA Play and was released throughout both 2018 and 2019. It featured content from the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, centering on the conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists known as the Clone Wars, and added the planets Geonosis and Felucia as ground maps, new games modes "Capital Supremacy" (inspired by Conquest from the original Battlefront games), "Instant Action" and "Co-Op" (which were eventually added to all eras), new reinforcements for the Enforcer class (the Clone Commando and the Droideka) and vehicles for the Speeder (the BARC Speeder and the STAP), Armor (the TX-130), and Artillery (the AT-TE, available only on the Geonosis Galactic Assault map) classes, the Infiltrator reinforcement class (initially available only for the Republic and Separatists and represented by the ARC Trooper and the Commando Droid, respectively, but it was eventually added to all three eras), skins for both clone troopers and battle droids, and new Republic heroes Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, and Separatists villains General Grievous and Count Dooku.[17][18]

In December 2019, a "Celebration Edition" of the game was released, which included all cosmetics (skins, emotes, voice lines and victory poses) for both troopers and heroes released up until then. Furthermore, a fourth season was released, based on the movie The Rise of Skywalker, and added the planet, Ajan Kloss, as a new ground map, new reinforcements for the Resistance and the First Order (the Ovissian Gunner, the Caphex Spy, a new First Order Jet Trooper, and the Sith Trooper), and later, in January 2020, BB-8 as a new hero and BB-9E as a villain. Starting with February 2020, new content for the original trilogy era was also released, including new reinforcements for the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire (the Ewok Hunter and the ISB Agent) and new weapons for all four base classes (the E-11D for the Assault, T-21 for Heavy, DL-18 for Officer and Cycler Rifle for Specialist, all of them returning from 2015's Battlefront). A second update and the last one overall was released in April 2020 and added content based on Rogue One, including a Scarif map, and new Shoretrooper and Rebel appearances, along with a new game mode and several hero appearances.

Campaign

The single-player story mode campaign in Star Wars Battlefront II takes place on various planets across the Star Wars galaxy, beginning around the time of Return of the Jedi, but is mostly set between it and The Force Awakens. The player assumes the role of Iden Versio, the commander of an Imperial Special Forces commando unit called Inferno Squad, which consists of fellow members Del Meeko and Gideon Hask and is supervised by Iden's father, Admiral Garrick Versio. The campaign begins with the Battle of Endor, where Emperor Palpatine plots to lure an unsuspecting Rebel Alliance fleet into a trap using himself and the Death Star II as bait, seeking to crush the Rebellion against his Galactic Empire once and for all. Inferno Squad is crucial to the success of this plan, but the Empire underestimates the strength of the Rebellion, as its fleet gathers at Sullust.

Plot

Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar) is being interrogated for the codes to unlock an Imperial transmission aboard a Rebel Mon Calamari Star Cruiser. She activates her droid, which sneaks to her cell and frees her. Iden had allowed herself to be captured in order to erase the Imperial transmission, which would reveal the Emperor's plan at Endor. She successfully erases it, then escapes the ship by launching herself into space where she is intercepted by the Corvus, the flagship of Inferno Squad. Iden confirms the mission's success to fellow squad members Gideon Hask (Paul Blackthorne) and Del Meeko (TJ Ramini).

Later on Endor, Inferno Squad secure the perimeter around the ruined shield generator, and watch with shock and horror as the Death Star II explodes. Vice Admiral Sloane orders a full retreat, and Inferno Squad escapes the moon aboard TIE fighters before it is overrun by Rebel forces. Iden then meets with her father, Admiral Garrick Versio (Anthony Skordi), on his Star Destroyer, the Eviscerator, who confirms the Emperor's death, before a messenger droid displays a hologram of the late Emperor issuing his last command: to initiate Operation: Cinder. Admiral Versio sends Iden to an Imperial shipyard over Fondor to protect Moff Raythe and his Star Destroyer, the Dauntless, which hosts experimental satellites vital to the success of Operation: Cinder. The Dauntless comes under attack from a Rebel Star Cruiser, but Iden and Hask are able to board it and destroy its ion cannons, before freeing the Star Destroyer, allowing it to open fire on the Rebel cruiser and destroy it.

Del is sent to Pillio and ordered to destroy one of the Emperor's hidden bases. He encounters Luke Skywalker (Matthew Mercer), who helps him gain access to the base, discovering it contains the Emperor's spoils of conquest, one of which Luke claims for himself. The pair then part amicably, with Del beginning to question the Empire's goals and motives. Later, Inferno Squad are sent to the Imperial-controlled world of Vardos (and Iden's homeworld) to retrieve Protectorate Gleb. As the satellites for Operation: Cinder begin destroying the planet with terrible storms, Iden and Del go against their orders and try to evacuate the civilians in addition to Gleb, causing Hask to betray them. Disillusioned by the Empire's actions, the pair make their escape, now traitors to the Empire. Seeking out the Rebel Alliance, they meet General Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), who gives them the choice to help stop Operation: Cinder, or escape to start new lives. Choosing to help, they aid Leia Organa (Misty Lee) in protecting Naboo, destroying the satellites for Operation: Cinder and reactivating the planet's defenses. After Naboo is liberated, Inferno Squad joins the New Republic.

Several months later, Inferno Squad - Iden, Del and Shriv Suurgav (Dan Donohue) - are sent to Takodana to assist Han Solo (John Armstrong) in his mission to extract critical data from an Imperial defector that can help liberate Kashyyyk. The data also reveals that Admiral Versio is commanding Imperial operations on Bespin and Sullust. On Bespin, Iden and Del attempt to capture Admiral Versio, but are led into a trap by Hask, though the pair escape, destroying a Star Destroyer fuelling station in the process. On Sullust, Lando and Shriv investigate a hidden Imperial weapons cache on Sullust, but find a weapons factory instead, which they destroy.

These operations cripple the Imperial fleet, which makes a last stand at Jakku. During the battle, Iden shoots down Hask and boards the Eviscerator, intending to rescue her father. Admiral Versio decides to go down with his ship, feeling obligated to die with the Empire he fought to protect, and urges Iden to escape and live a new life, commending her for seeing the weakness of the Empire. Iden takes an escape pod and reunites with Del. The two embrace and kiss, as the battle marks the end of the Galactic Empire.

Three decades later, Del is captured on Pillio by Protectorate Gleb, who hands him over to Kylo Ren (Matthew Wood) and the First Order. Ren uses the Force to interrogate Del about the location of the map leading to Luke Skywalker, before leaving him to Hask, still alive, who expresses disgust at Del choosing to father a daughter with Iden instead of becoming a soldier and kills him. Hask then tells Gleb that the Republic cannot find out about "Project Resurrection" and orders her to leave the Corvus on Pillio as bait to lure Iden out of hiding.

Resurrection

Shriv Suurgav, now an agent for the Resistance, discovers the abandoned Corvus and informs Iden and her daughter Zay (Brittany Volcy), revealing that Del had been helping the Resistance investigate rumors of mass disappearances that may be connected to Project Resurrection. They head to Athulla, where Del was last seen, to investigate, only to be ambushed by a Jinata Security fleet, which they destroy. The survivors admit that they had been kidnapping children on the behalf of the First Order, and that Project Resurrection had been moved to Vardos.

On Vardos, Iden and Shriv investigate, leaving Zay on the Corvus, and spot a bright streak of red light in the sky, before being captured by Hask, who reveals he killed Gleb and Del and that the First Order has used Starkiller Base to destroy the Hosnian system, effectively wiping out the New Republic (as seen in The Force Awakens). He then orders his Star Destroyer the Retribution to destroy the Corvus, though Zay survives by taking an escape pod, and Iden and Del escape after the Jinata Security, angry at the First Order for betraying them, attack Hask's men. Making their way through the conflict, the pair reunite with Zay and together they board the Retribution using stolen TIE fighters.

Fighting through the ship's personnel, they eventually discover that Project Resurrection is the First Order's operation of kidnapping children and indoctrinating them into stormtroopers, as well as that the First Order has built up a massive fleet large enough to retake the galaxy. After stealing the plans of a First Order Dreadnought, the trio split up, with Iden and Zay destroying the Retribution's hyperspace generators, causing it to pull out of hyperspace near Starkiller Base just as the Resistance destroys it. They also kill Hask when he ambushes them, though Iden is mortally wounded in the process and orders Zay to escape with the Dreadnought plans, before dying.

Zay reunites with Shriv and the pair escape the Retribution, before linking up with the Resistance. They transmit the plans to General Leia, who then orders them to head to the Outer Rim to gather more allies.

Post-launch content

It was confirmed during EA Play 2017 that there would not be a season pass; rather, all downloadable content will be free for all players and will be included in events called Seasons.[19]

The Last Jedi Season

The first Season expansion, The Last Jedi Season, was released on December 5 and is centered around Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, the eighth film in the Star Wars saga which was released on December 15, 2017. It added a space map over D'Qar, a new Galactic Assault map on the planet Crait, Finn as a new hero for the Resistance and Captain Phasma as a villain for the First Order, and Tallie Lintra's RZ-2 A-Wing as a new hero ship.[20] The Last Jedi Season also featured a campaign addition available December 13, titled Battlefront II: Resurrection, which details Iden Versio's journey during the First Order's rise to power and contains three chapters.[20]

Solo: A Star Wars Story Season

On May 3, 2018 EA Star Wars published an announcement on Twitter stating that the second Season in the game would be based on the character of Han Solo, releasing alongside the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.[21] The first part of the Han Solo Season was released on May 16 and features the returning map from 2015's Star Wars Battlefront set in Jabba's Palace, along with a new game mode called "Hero Showdown". Two new skins were also released for Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian based on their disguises in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, along with the addition of starfighters to Arcade. The second part of the Han Solo Season was revealed in a trailer on June 6 and its content released on June 12, which included a new map on the planet Kessel, along with a third Millennium Falcon, piloted by Lando Calrissian and L3-37, as a new hero ship, based on its appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Also returning to the game was the mode Extraction, which was playable on Jabba's Palace and the new Kessel map. New skins were also released for Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca, based on their appearances in Solo: A Star Wars Story.[22]

Clone Wars Season

The game's Design Director, Dennis Brännvall, teased that Star Wars: The Clone Wars content was going to be added to the game at some point in the future.[23] At EA Play it was revealed that in the fall of 2018, a Clone Wars Season was going to be begun and would include a Galactic Assault map on the planet Geonosis, new Clone Trooper skins, and General Grievous and Count Dooku as new playable villains, and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as heroes. General Grievous was released on October 30, 2018 with an alternate 'Battle Damaged' appearance, and was followed up on November 28 by Obi-Wan Kenobi, with an alternate "Jedi Robes" appearance, and the 212th Battalion skins for Clone Troopers, as well as a new "Shattered" General Grievous skin, the BARC Speeder and the STAP for the Speeder reinforcement class. This update also included a new Geonosis map for Galactic Assault and the AT-TE as part of the Artillery reinforcement class for the Republic (and is exclusive for the Geonosis Galactic Assault map).[24] A December 12 update added a new "General Kenobi" skin for Obi-Wan, based on his appearance in The Clone Wars TV show. Count Dooku was released on January 23, 2019, with an alternate "Dark Ritual" skin following up on January 30, based on his appearance in the episode "Sacrifice" of The Clone Wars TV show; the update also added the Geonosis map for other game modes, including Blast, Heroes vs. Villains, and the Arcade modes. Anakin Skywalker was released on February 27 with an alternate "Jedi Robes" appearance, alongside a new game feature called the "Emote Wheel" (which allows the use of up to ten emotes at the same time), voice lines for all the heroes (which are unlocked at the same time as the emotes), and numerous new Clone Trooper appearances, most notably the 'armored' appearances for the Officer class and the '501st Battalion skins' for all clone troopers.[25]

On March 26, a new update was released, which included a new "Infiltrator" class (represented by Advanced Recon Commandos / ARC Troopers for the Galactic Republic and BX-series Droid Commandos for the Separatists), along with an alternate "Exquisite Pajamas" skin for Dooku (based on his pajama outfit in the episode "Nightsisters" of The Clone Wars TV show), a rework of the lightsaber combat system, and a new large scale game mode called "Capital Supremacy", set in an alternate Geonosis map, inspired by the original Battlefront games. On April 24, a new Kashyyyk map for Capital Supremacy was released, alongside some special events and an alternate "Princess" appearance for Leia Organa, based on her iconic look in A New Hope, in celebration for Star Wars Day. On May 22, a new Kamino map for Capital Supremacy was released.[26] On June 21 the Droideka was added as part of the Enforcer class for the Separatists, and the TX-130 assault tank as part of the Armor class for the Republic. This update also included a new Naboo map for Capital Supremacy, '212th Recon Division' and '41st Scout Battalion' appearances for the clone troopers, and a "General Skywalker" skin for Anakin Skywalker, based on his appearance in The Clone Wars TV show.[27]

On August 28, several skins for the battle droids were added to the game, along with the ships from Capital Supremacy being added as new maps for Heroes vs. Villains, and several new Star Cards to replace the "Health on Kill" ones; instead, "Health on Kill" has become a passive ability for each hero (minus Bossk) and no longer requires a Star Card. On September 25, a new map for Capital Supremacy based on the planet Felucia was released, as well as Clone Commandos as part of the Enforcer class for the Republic. In addition, all Capital Supremacy planet maps were made available to be played offline in a new game mode named "Instant Action", referencing the original Battlefront games.[28] Furthermore, the Daily Crates, which gave the player 500 free credits each day, were removed, Extraction was removed and merged with the Strike game mode, a new PvE game mode called "Co-Op" was added, Darth Maul received a new "KENOBI" emote (inspired by the Star Wars: Rebels TV show), and Luke Skywalker received a "Farmboy" skin, based on his iconic look in A New Hope.

On October 23, the Ewok Hunt game mode received a major update, being now set in a new Endor map, as well as Co-Op, which was made its own separate type of game mode (besides single-player and multiplayer) and now allows the players to play defense against the AI rather than just offense. Moreover, a Felucia map was added to Heroes vs. Villains, the Jet Trooper of the Galactic Republic received a new default skin based on the 501st Legion, with the previous two ones added as free skins, and a "Yavin Ceremony" skin was added for both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, based on their look at the end of A New Hope.[13]

Celebration Edition and The Rise of Skywalker updates

On December 5, 2019 the Celebration Edition was released, a paid version of the game that allowed complete access to all current skins, emotes, voice lines and victory poses up until then. It is also available as an upgrade from the original version. Along with it came an update, originally meant for late November, which added 14 new skins for the Infiltrator and Enforcer reinforcement classes for The Clone Wars TV show, namely the Jet Trooper, ARC Trooper, Clone Commando, Droideka and Commando Droid, and also made several changes in the gameplay. On December 17 another update based on Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final movie in the Skywalker Saga, was released and included several new reinforcements: the Ovissian Gunner as the Enforcer class and Caphex Spy as the Infiltrator for the Resistance, and the Sith Trooper as the Infiltrator and a new Jet Trooper as the Aerial for the First Order. The update also added new skins for Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren based on their appearances in The Rise of Skywalker, along with a new Ajan Kloss map for most game modes, and it brought the Co-Op mode to the sequel trilogy era.

A second update based on the sequel trilogy was scheduled for release in January 2020, but was delayed to February 3. The update added BB-8 as a new hero for the Resistance and BB-9E as a villain for the First Order, and the sequel era maps Takodana, Jakku and Ajan Kloss for Capital Supremacy and Instant Action. It also added Ajan Kloss for Hero Showdown, two new emotes for Finn and Kylo Ren, and the Droideka as an AI for the prequel era Co-Op and Instant Action, and made several changes to the gameplay, most notably the Officer class' 'Battle Command' ability (which buffs nearby allies) being reduced in range and changed to a 360° radius, the AI being now able to use melee attacks, the Droideka receiving a buff to its shield's health and damage reduction whilst in wheel form, and Darth Vader receiving a damage reduction whilst using his Force Choke ability.[29]

Original Trilogy updates

On February 26, 2020, a major update was released, with content based on the original Star Wars trilogy. It added the original trilogy era maps Endor, Death Star II, Hoth, Yavin IV, Kessel, Mos Eisley and Jabba's Palace to Co-Op, along with two new reinforcements for the Infiltrator class: Ewok Hunter for the Rebel Alliance and ISB Agent for the Galactic Empire. The update also added the ships from the sequel era Capital Supremacy to Heroes vs. Villains, a new weapon for each of the four base classes (the E-11D for the Assault, T-21 for Heavy, DL-18 for Officer and Cylcler Rifle for Specialist, all of them returning from 2015's Battlefront, except for the E-11D), a new Geonosis map for Heroes vs. Villains, and the ships from the prequel era Capital Supremacy to Co-Op. Moreover, the Wookie Warrior, Imperial Rocket Trooper and Rebel Rocket-Jumper reinforcements received new default appearances, with their original ones available as free skins, several blaster heroes received major buffs, most notably Leia Organa and Chewbacca, with the former having her Flash Grenade ability replaced with three Thermal Detonators, and the UI received more updates, including character levels being shown in the Scoreboard and PC Chat with new stats.[30]

The next update, initially meant for later March, was delayed twice: once for "mid-April",[31] and the second time for late April. The update was eventually released on April 29, and added a new Scarif map, inspired by the film Rogue One, and the Capital Supremacy game mode for the Original Trilogy, along with a new offline game mode called Instant Action Missions, and skins for Kylo Ren, Emperor Palpatine, Rey (both based on their appearances in The Rise of Skywalker), and Darth Maul (based on his appearance in Star Wars Rebels), along with new Shoretrooper and other appearances for the four base classes. The update also added Palpatine and Chewbacca as available heroes for the sequel trilogy era maps in Supremacy, Co-Op, and Instant Action; same for Yoda and Darth Maul in the original trilogy.[5]

Development and marketing

On May 10, 2016, the development of Star Wars Battlefront II was announced, led by EA DICE, with Motive Studios being responsible for the single player campaign and Criterion Games responsible for the starfighters gameplay and mechanics.[32] The sequel to 2015's rebooted Star Wars Battlefront features content from the sequel trilogy of films.[33] Creative director Bernd Diemer has stated that the company has replaced the Season Pass system of paid expansion of content, because that system was determined to have "fragmented" the player community of the 2015 predecessor game. The new expansion system is designed to allow all players "to play longer".[15] Executive producer Matthew Webster announced on April 15, 2017 at Star Wars Celebration that the worldwide release of the game would be November 17, 2017.[34] The Battlefront II beta test period started on October 4, 2017, for players who pre-ordered the game. It was expanded to an open beta on October 6, and ran until October 11.[35][36] A 10-hour trial version was made available to EA Access and Origin Access subscribers on November 9, 2017.[37]

A tie-in novel, Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, was released on July 25, 2017. Written by Christie Golden, it serves as a direct prelude to the game and follows the exploits of the Galactic Empire's titular squad as it seeks to eliminate what was left of Saw Gerrera's rebel cell after the events of the 2016 film Rogue One.[38] On November 10, 2017, Electronic Arts announced the first in a series of free downloadable content for the game, featuring the planets D'Qar and Crait and the playable hero characters Finn and Captain Phasma. This content is a direct tie-in to December's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[39] On March 22, 2018, Electronic Arts unlocked all hero characters and hero vehicles for all players, and removed game-play altering drops from Crates, which now only contain cosmetic items and credits.[40]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PS4) 68/100[41]
(XONE) 66/100[42]
(PC) 65/100[43]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid5/10[44]
Edge4/10[45]
EGM7/10[46]
Game Informer6.5/10[47]
GameRevolution     [48]
GameSpot6/10[50]
GamesRadar+     [49]
Giant Bomb     [51]
IGN6.5/10[52] 8.8/10[53]
PC Gamer (US)63/100[54]

Star Wars Battlefront II received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[43][41][42] Metacritic user reviews for the PlayStation 4 version reached a low rating of 0.8/10, labelled as "overwhelming dislike", due to the controversies (see below) and review bombing.[55]

In his 4/5 star review for GamesRadar+, Andy Hartup praised the multiplayer but criticized the single player modes, saying the game has a "very strong multiplayer offering tarnished by overly complicated character progression, and a lavish, beautiful story campaign lacking in substance or subtlety."[49] Game Revolution felt the campaign started strong but weakened as it progressed, praising the multiplayer gameplay while criticizing the microtransactions, loot box progression system, and locking of heroes.[48]

For EGM's review, Nick Plessas praised the multiplayer combat, balancing, and variety, but criticized the game's sustained focus around loot crates.[46] Andrew Reiner of Game Informer gave the game 6.5/10, writing "Answering the call for more content, Star Wars Battlefront II offers a full campaign and more than enough multiplayer material, but the entire experience is brought down by microtransactions."[47] IGN's Tom Marks also gave the game 6.5/10, saying "Star Wars Battlefront 2 has great feeling blasters, but its progression system makes firing them an unsatisfying grind."[52]

The game was nominated for "Best Shooter", "Best Graphics" and "Best Multiplayer" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards,[56][57][58] and was a runner-up for "Most Disappointing Game" in Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards.[59] In Game Informer's Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, fewer readers voted for the game for "Best Co-Op Multiplayer".[60] The website also awarded the game for "Best Graphics", "Best Audio" and "Biggest Disappointment" in their 2017 Shooter of the Year Awards.[61] Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation ranked the game at No. 1 on his list of the Five Blandest Games of 2017.[62]

Sales

In the U.S., Star Wars Battlefront II was the second best-selling title in November, behind Call of Duty: WWII.[63] Within its first week on sale in Japan, the PlayStation 4 version sold 38,769 copies, placing it at number four on the all format sales chart.[64] By December 2017, the game had sold 9 million copies worldwide. In January 2018, EA announced that the game missed their sales target as they had hoped to sell 10 million copies in that time, and blamed the loot crate controversy.[65]

Accolades

Year Award Category Result Ref
2017 Game Critics Awards Best Action Game Nominated [66][67]
Best Online Multiplayer Won
Gamescom 2017 Best Action Game Nominated [68]
Best Multiplayer Game Nominated
Ping Awards Best International Game Nominated [69]
Golden Joystick Awards Most Wanted Game Nominated [70]
Titanium Awards Best Interpretation Nominated [71]
Best Action Game Nominated
2018 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Outstanding Achievement in Character (Iden Versio) Nominated [72][73]
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design Nominated
2018 Italian Video Game Awards People's Choice Nominated [74]
2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Convergence Won [75][76]
16th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards Audio of the Year Nominated [77]
Music of the Year Nominated
Sound Design of the Year Nominated
Best Interactive Score Nominated
Best Cinematic/Cutscene Audio Nominated
Best Audio Mix Nominated
Nickelodeon's 2018 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Video Game Nominated [78][79]
14th British Academy Games Awards Audio Achievement Nominated [80][81]
2018 Webby Awards Action Nominated [82]
ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards 2017 ASCAP Video Game Score of the Year Won [83][84]
Develop Awards Sound Design (EA DICE) Won [85]

Microtransactions controversy

During pre-release beta trials, the game's publisher EA was criticized by gamers and the gaming press for introducing a loot box monetization scheme that gave players substantial gameplay advantages through items purchased in-game with real money.[86] Although such items could also be purchased with in-game currency, players would on average have to "grind" for approximately 40 hours to unlock a special single-player character such as Darth Vader.[87] Responding to the controversy, developers had adjusted the number of in-game items a player receives through playing the game. However, after the game went into pre-release a number of players and journalists who received the pre-release copy of the game reported various controversial gameplay features, such as rewards being unrelated to the player's performance in the game.[88] The poorly-weighed reward system combined with a weak inactivity detection allowed many players to use rubber bands to tightly tie their game controllers for automatically farming points during multiplayer battles, ruining the experience of other active online players.[89]

On November 12, 2017, a Reddit user complained that although they spent US$80 to purchase the Deluxe Edition of the game, Darth Vader remained inaccessible for play, and the use of this character required a large amount of in-game credits. Players estimated that it would take 40 hours of gameplay to accumulate enough credits to unlock a single hero.[90] In response to the community's backlash, EA's Community Team defended the controversial changes by saying their intent to make users earn credits to unlock heroes was to give users "a sense of pride and accomplishment" after unlocking a hero.[91][92] This led to many Reddit users becoming frustrated at the response, which generated 667,821 down-votes, making it the most down-voted comment in the site's history.[2][93][94] In 2019, the comment was inducted into the Guinness World Records.[94] In response to the community's outrage, EA lowered the cost of credits to unlock heroes by 75%.[95][96] However, the credits rewarded for completing the campaign were also reduced.[97]

On the day before release, EA disabled microtransactions entirely, citing players' concerns that they gave buyers unfair advantages. They stated their intent to reintroduce them at a later date after unspecified changes had been made.[98] The uproar from social media and poor press reception on its microtransactions had a negative impact on EA's share price which dropped by 2.5% on the launch day of the game. Analysts in Wall Street also lowered their expectation of the game's financial prospect.[99] A Wall Street analyst writing for CNBC noted how video games are still the cheapest entertainment medium per hour of use, and even with the added microtransactions, playing Battlefront II was still notably cheaper than paying to see the theatrical release of a film.[100] By the end of November 2017, EA had lost $3 billion in stock value since the launch of the game.[101] On March 16, 2018, developer DICE announced an overhaul for the progression and economic system. Loot crates will only contain credits, one of the in-game currencies, and cosmetic items while crystals, the other in-game currency, can be bought solely for the purpose of purchasing cosmetic items for characters in the game. Progression for player abilities, or "Star Cards," is now linear as players must play a certain class or hero in order to unlock a "Skill Point" for that trooper or hero, which can then be used to purchase a new card or upgrade one the player already owns. The first part of this update was released on March 21 while the second part was released in April.[102]

Government responses

On November 15, two days before release, the Belgian gambling regulator announced that it was investigating the game, alongside Overwatch, to determine whether loot boxes constituted unlicensed gambling. In response to the investigation, EA claimed that Battlefront II's loot boxes do not constitute gambling.[103] The Belgian Gaming Commission ultimately declared loot boxes to be illegal under gambling laws, but found that Battlefront II was not in violation as EA had temporarily removed micro-transactions from the game.[104] After the investigation reported its conclusion, the Minister of Justice of Belgium Koen Geens expressed that if they prove loot boxes violate gambling laws he would start working on banning loot boxes in any future video games sold in the entire European Union.[105][106]

Reacting to the conclusion of the Belgian gambling regulator's investigation, the head of Dutch Gambling commission announced a start of their own investigation of Battlefront II and the issue in general, and asked parents "to keep an eye at the games their children play".[107] Chris Lee, a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives, called Star Wars: Battlefront II "an online casino designed to trap little kids" and announced his intention to ban such practices in the state of Hawaii.[108] Another representative compared playing Battlefront II to smoking cigarettes, saying: "We didn't allow Joe Camel to encourage your kids to smoke cigarettes, and we shouldn't allow Star Wars to encourage your kids to gamble."[109][110] Singapore's National Council on Problem Gambling are monitoring the situation following the uproar on the game, as loot boxes do not fall under the Remote Gambling Act.[111] Authorities in Australia are also investigating the situation.[112]

Notes

  1. ^ Motive Studios was responsible for the single player campaign and Criterion Games was responsible for the starfighter gameplay and mechanics.

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