- Star Wars Battlefront 2 release date: November 2017 (TBC)
- Formats: TBA, likely PS4, Xbox One and PC
- Developer: DICE, Criterion and Motive
- Price: TBA, likely $59.99 / £49.99
EA’s multiplayer-focused shooter, Star Wars: Battlefront, launched in November 2015 to mixed reviews. Star Wars fans praised its authentic, accessible and chaotic recreations of classic trilogy scenes like the 40-player Battle of Hoth. Others dismissed the game as shallow; lacking a meaningful solo-player campaign and the depth of developer DICE’s more tactical, squad-based, Battlefield series. The distinction was quite deliberate, argued its developers, but EA’s shooter adapted to its community’s concerns, striking back with a wave of high-quality premium (and free) DLC through 2016.
Loyal players were rewarded with new maps, characters (like, er, Dengar) and modes on Bespin, The Death Star and Rogue One’s tropical Scarif. PS4’s latest free update, the Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission, delivered on its intoxicating premise. We defy you not to squirm in awe when a Super Star Destroyer slides overhead, obliterating your field of view.
EA have confirmed that Star Wars Battlefront 2 will debut at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando on April 15th. Developers DICE have teased some clues to the sequel’s setting, campaign mode and release date – and added extra intrigue by the involvement of EA studios' Criterion and Motive, as we'll explore.
Star Wars Battlefront 2's release date is late 2017, likely November before Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars Battlefront launched in November 2015, shortly before The Force Awakens. Logic suggests history will repeat, with the sequel to debut in November 2017, shortly before Star Wars: The Last Jedi. On November 2nd 2016, EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told a conference call of analysts that SW: BF2 would arrive "a year from now" – so Nov 2017 looks fairly conclusive, give or take a week or two.
Star Wars Battlefront 2’s first trailer will debut on April 15th at Star Wars Celebration
EA have confirmed that Star Wars Battlefront 2 will debut its first trailer on April 15th at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando at 1930 BST / 1430 ET / 1130 PT. The reveal trailer will be the highlight of "The Galaxywide Premiere of Star Wars Battlefront 2" panel. We'll be in attendance at SW Celebration, to bring you all the key details.
Star Wars Battlefront 2’s setting will span 'multiple eras' including the new movie trilogy
EA have talked in ambiguous terms about the sequel being 'bigger and better', but in Feb 2017, CEO Andrew Wilson confirmed that Battlefront 2 will span multiple Star Wars eras with an expanded solo-player campaign (in itself, a reason to sing the Ewok nub-nub song of happiness): "Our next Star Wars Battlefront will be even bigger, taking players into more locations, and allowing them to play with more heroes and characters across multiple Star Wars eras. There will be new ways to play, including an all-new single-player campaign, and much, much, more that we are excited to share with our players in the month ahead".
The original Star Wars Battlefront (and its DLC packs), have explored most of the key original trilogy locations, and we know that the sequel will explore material from the new films. "This year we’ll have the opportunity to leverage content from the new movies and we think that will make the opportunities much larger", explained EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, in a conference call in late 2016.
Here's a list of the key locations that Star Wars Battlefront has already explored – and where it could go next:
Star Wars Battlefront – previously explored maps and locations
- Tatooine (Star Wars)
- The Death Star (Star Wars)
- Hoth (Empire Strikes Back)
- Cloud City of Bespin (Empire Strikes Back)
- Endor (Return of the Jedi)
- Jabba's Palace (Return of the Jedi)
- Sullust (The Clone Wars)
- Jakku (The Force Awakens)
- Scarif (Rogue One)
Star Wars Battlefront 2 – possible new maps and locations
- Ahch-To (The Force Awakens)
- Takodana (The Force Awakens)
- Hosnian Prime (The Force Awakens)
- D'Qar (The Force Awakens)
- Starkiller Base (The Force Awakens)
At this stage, it's unclear whether Star Wars Battlefront 2 will explore the prequel trilogy, but we'd welcome the opportunity to explore planets such as Naboo, Coruscant (the Republic's sprawling city), Kamino, Geonosis, Utapu, Mustafar (the volcanic planet where Obi Wan and Anakin clash, and rumoured to *mild spoiler* reappear in The Last Jedi) and Kashyyyk (the wookie home world).
Officially, nobody knows what planets Star Wars: The Last Jedi will explore, but Ahch-To (where Luke is in hiding) is a certainty. You can keep up to date with latest Star Wars 8 rumours here.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 leak claims the sequel will appear on Switch, and already has a subtitle
We're *extremely* dubious about this, since the source of the rumour has a dubious track record (a Reddit poster called 'Geno' claiming to work in marketing with Nintendo, who wanted to share the company's plans for their new console), but – proceed with due spoiler warning – gossip did the rounds that Star Wars Battlefront 2 was subtitled 'Wrath of the First Order'. The Reddit poster claimed that the game would also appear on Nintendo Switch in 'Fall 2017', with plans for two special editions, themed on the Resistance or The First Order.
It sounds plausible and in line with EA's official quotes, but 'Geno' has posted leaked Nintendo Switch info before (back when it was codenamed Nintendo NX), which largely turned out to be false. In the real world, plans do change… but we're treating this with high scepticism.
Star Wars Battlefront 2’s characters and heroes will inevitably focus on the new trilogy… and prequels?
Star Wars Battlefront 2's new characters can be narrowed down by deduction, with 14 key (and not-so-key) series' heroes and villains available in the original game. So far, we've seen…
Heroes: Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Nien Numb, Chewbacca, Jyn Erso
Villains: Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Greedo, Dengar, Bossk, Emperor Palpatine, Orson Krennic
There's some notable blind spots from the original trilogy, notably Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness version), Yoda (although, er, he's a little fragile)… but if you get more creative, there's IG-88, Boussh (Princess Leia's bounty hunter disguise), Lobot (Lando's pal), Wicket the ewok or – taking a gameplay leap – the Wampa.
Looking at the new trilogy, the near-certainties to appear are Rey (likely to play similarly to Luke, with force push and agility skills), Finn (like Han Solo), Poe, Kylo Ren (like Darth Vader), Captain Phasma and General Hux. Diving deeper, it'd be fun to play as the First Order 'Traitor!' trooper, FN-2199, Maz Kanata (she gives off a Yoda vibe) and – for sadists – Unkar Plutt (which sounds absurd, but he appears in a deleted scene having his arm ripped off by Chewbacca).
The prequel trilogy offers Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor vintage), Padme Amidala, Qui Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Yoda (bouncy edition), Darth Maul (this would probably cause the internet to meltdown), Jango Fett, General Grievous and Count Dooku. You could throw in Jar Jar Binks, but then you're only a raspberry-blowing special attack short of Nute Gunray, Sy Snootles or Watto in terms of absurdity.
Star Wars Battlefront 2’s story will feature an all-new solo player campaign (which John Boyega requested)
EA has confirmed an all-new solo campaign mode for Star Wars Battlefront 2, addressing one of the biggest criticisms of the original game. It's a move that is sure to delight John Boyega (Finn in The Force Awakens), who tweeted his concerns about the lack of single-player activity in Star Wars Battlefront to EA.
Boyega explained that he was a long-time fan of the Battlefield games, but wanted 'to engage within a narrative'. Star Wars Battlefront was essentially an online-only game until EA added more solo challenges via DLC updates. While it's hard to predict how EA will handle an expanded Story mode, they have form when it comes to crafting engaging narratives from unlikely gameplay parameters. Xbox-exclusive Titanfall was an online-only mech-combat game, but sequel Titanfall 2 debuted the best first-person-shooter story campaign in recent history. Even less likely, FIFA 17 crafted a convincing narrative with its The Journey mode, so Star Wars is a no-brainer.
The question is whether you play as an established hero (or heroes), leaping between key moments / people in the movies – an approach similar to Battlefield 1's campaign – or as an all-new character, most likely within the new movie trilogy universe. This would allow EA more scope for expression, less chance of upsetting hardcore fans and – as Rogue One proves – there's rich material between 'working the cracks' in the established lore.
What do developers Criterion and Motive mean for Star Wars Battlefront 2?
Former Burnout developers Criterion (now a vastly different studio from its mid-2000s PS2 heyday) created the Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission, so it's tempting to suggest they're working on expanded VR missions… but it's also possible they're working on an element of the game, like space combat.
If VR does return, let's hope this moves beyond the confines of space to include on-foot combat – count us in for the Battle of Endor, with its towering redwood skyline and chaotic skirmishes – but, technically, this may prove impossible. Well, unless EA target the powerful PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio hardware and constrain the experience on PS4 and Xbox One, which feels unlikely.
EA Motive are more of a wild card, led by former Assassin's Creed creator Jade Raymond, who are working on another original Star Wars game – believed to be an action RPG similar to the canned 1313 'Boba Fett' project. Ex-Portal creator and level designer Kim Swift recently joined the studio, and it feels safe to assume they'll be helping to craft the new solo campaign.
What changes do Star Wars Battlefront fans most want to see in the sequel?
EA's Battlefront forums have a fantastic visual guide to the most-desirable planets and characters from the Star Wars prequels – which, cannily, notes how the droids vs troopers battle at the end of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones would be ideal for expanded 32-vs-32 player warfare, the same size as the online battles in Battlefield 1.
Shack News have some interesting thoughts about vehicles, and how Battlefront's clumsy token-collecting system should be replaced by more organic 'dive in, dive out' AT-ATs, X-Wings and Tie-fighters. In other words, copy how vehicles work in other Battlefield games, with seamless interchange between ground and air combat. In reality, technical issues might put paid to that, but PS4 Pro and the imminent Xbox Scorpio offer some hope. The Star Cards load outs should be replaced by a class-based system, argues the writer, allowing each player to act like a specialist (e.g. gunner, healer, stealth, sniper etc) as you do in Overwatch.
Again, this sounds intriguing, but part of Star Wars Battlefront's appeal is that it's *not* like other, more complex, shooters – and allows players to dive-in, and change their play style by shuffling weapons and special abilities. An ideal solution might be to offer a 'standard' and 'advanced' mode of play, so you can tackle the game as a gung-ho arcade-experience or focused on tactics and squad building. You can argue it both ways and it's interesting to read one player's journey to stop hating Battlefront for what it isn't and embrace the game on its own terms.
What can we learn from 2004's original Star Wars Battlefront… and from the 2015 version's DLC updates?
Galactic Conquest mode, from 2004's original Star Wars Battlefront, is another popular fan request, but this turn-based strategy mode would require DICE to significantly expanded Star Wars: Battlefront 2's volume of planets. Some of Star Wars Battlefront's (2015) modes seem certain to re-appear, like the territory-conquering Supremacy (where you fight for control of five key points on the map), the popular Walker Assault (where you take down – or protect – AT-ATs), the tug-of-war-style Cargo, plus Heroes and Villains.
A clue to the sequel's evolution might lie in the Infiltration mode, added to the Rogue One DLC, set on Scarif. Inspired by the events of the film, this multi-stage mode moves from vehicle space combat to land infiltration, a mixture of attack and defence. You can see all the new maps, modes and weapons added to DICE's shooter during 2016 by following the Star Wars Battlefront season pass link.
Another Reddit poster offers this detailed, and highly informed, analysis of everything Star Wars Battlefront does right and wrong, including some stern views on premium DLC.