Here’s what we know so far about EA’s Battlefront II offline options
Players will get a couple of options to enjoy EA’s Battlefront II offline when it launches November 17.
The featured selection is the game’s campaign—something EA’s first Battlefront lacked. There will also be an option for those wanting to enjoy local co-op.
I’ve gone ahead and gathered what information I can find on these two options. Some info comes from the question-and-answer session I attended on Saturday, while other bits come from promotional materials and the reveal panel at Star Wars Celebration.
Crafted by Motive Studios, Battlefront II’s campaign begins just after the destruction of the second Death Star. It’s set to cover the roughly 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. During those three decades, it will tell the tale of Iden Versio, the commander of the elite special forces unit Inferno Squad. The story is canon within the Star Wars universe.
“When Motive started to work on this campaign, it was at the time when The Force Awakens was still in theaters,” said Motive’s game director Mark Thompson during the reveal panel. “We were all super excited about that because that leaves so many amazing questions. […] So we thought, ‘Hey, let’s try and tell one of those stories that connects these two amazing trilogies together.’ ”
As a twist on what we normally see in Star Wars, Iden is allied with the Empire and not the Rebellion. She is the daughter of high-ranking Imperial officer who brought their homeworld, Vardos, into the Empire.
“We wanted to take off the helmet of a stormtrooper and find out who they were,” Thompson said. “Why they believed in the Empire and what it meant to be an elite Imperial special forces soldier.”
During the campaign’s missions—which Thompson referred to as “chapters”—players will be able to step outside of Iden’s shoes and play as classic Star Wars characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren.
“In the movies, they keep switching the point-of-view between the protagonist and the antagonist and it gives you a different perspective on the situation,” said content producer Paola Joyaux during the Q&A session. “We’re doing the same thing. So mainly you’re going to be playing as Iden, but sometimes you’re going to be playing as the heroes, like Luke and Kylo. That’s what we’re giving you: A different perspective. There will be scenes with Iden and giving you a different perspective on what Iden’s doing.”
Iden will also have a “backpack droid” as a customizable companion character.
“You have this awesome droid that is slightly more nimble,” Joyaux said. “You are going to be a constant companion. […] It has a very symbiotic relationship with you. He’s kind of camped on your back and he has cool skills.”
This droid is very similar to the ID9 seeker droid used by the Seventh Sister in the Rebels TV show. However, Jouyax clarified that Iden’s droid is merely “inspired” by the droid from Rebels and is instead “his own unique little guy.”
During the post-panel Celebration-only behind-the-scenes trailer, we got to see this droid shock a Rebel trooper, attach to a wall and have a customizable voice.
The campaign will also offer its own unique progression system that’s separate from the multiplayer portion. However, its progression system is still designed off of the one used by multiplayer.
“[The campaign has] a progression system that is modeled on the multiplayer one,” Jouyax said. “So Iden will have her own progression system and, as in multiplayer, you’ll be able to customize weapons, gadgets and special abilities. […] We definitely want to build a consistent game, so the mechanisms that we’re building in multiplayer, we’re using them in [the campaign].”
Players can also expect ground combat, in-atmosphere fighter conflicts and “big space battles” throughout the campaign. Jouyax further hinted that the narrative provides the player “some elements of choice”, but declined to go into any more detail.
The campaign is only playable in single-player and won’t offer a co-op experience. The co-op portion will be wrapped into Battlefront II elsewhere (see below).
EA has not revealed the expected length of the campaign. However, considering similar games in the shooter genre, I’d guess it’ll last somewhere between five and 10 hours. Note that’s purely a guess at this point.
Unsurprisingly, the campaign ties in with the upcoming novel, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. While the game’s campaign takes place post-Return of the Jedi, the novel will begin immediately following A New Hope and the destruction of the first Death Star. It’s due out July 25 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
I speculate that the campaign will end with Iden’s death on Starkiller Base. This would sort of echo how the campaign begins with the second Death Star exploding. Or, to quote George Lucas, “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.” However, I don’t actually know how the game will end. I’m curious to hear your thoughts!
Going on past the campaign is Battlefront’s split-screen co-op option. As of now, EA has remained rather mum on this mode’s details, except that the split-screen specific option is only offered on consoles.
On battlefront2.com, its description reads:
Team up with a friend in two-player offline split-screen play. Earn rewards, customize troopers and heroes, then take your skills and upgrades to the online battleground.
In the official announcement post for Battlefront II, EA mentions: “You will also cooperate against AI foes in skirmishes that span the cinematic eras, and engage enemies in entirely new modes.”
Digging deeper, several pre-order pages for the game—including EA’s Origin store for PC—note that you’ll be able to “train offline.” The store description further reads: “Practice makes perfect. Enjoy solo offline play where you can earn rewards, customize troopers and heroes, then bring your upgrades into the online multiplayer battleground.”
Of an interesting note, the Origin store page seems to confirm that this mode will offer a solo option. Not terribly surprising, but the previous two announcements only mention its co-op capabilities.
A couple of YouTubers have also mentioned that this offline portion will be similar to Skirmish from the first game. According to MassiveG, “The [offline] mode’s going to be a little similar to Skirmish of Battlefront 2015, but revamped and improved.”
Robby from Star Wars HQ added that DICE’s Niklaus Fegreus previously said that “fans should expect something similar to Skirmish mode to return [for Battlefront II] and evolve as [DICE] learned from their audience from Battlefront 1.”
However, as these aren’t official EA sources, note that the above comments could be speculation. EA has yet to officially confirm if the announced co-op options are similar to the last game’s Skirmish mode. So make of it as you will with MassiveG and Star Wars HQ’s comments; I figured it was at least worth including because they do likely know more than the average player.
While he was specifically comparing the multiplayer progression with the campaign’s, I think that these comments from Dennis Brannvall, the game’s design director, ring true about how the co-op offline play will allow you to unlock multiplayer items:
“We don’t want to end up in a situation where [in] previous games that we made, players who maybe didn’t like multiplayer or they liked one of the two, felt compelled to play the other one just to collect that one thing,” he said during the Q&A session. “We want to make it a more united experience here where you can play whatever you want and you still feel like you’re progressing.”
Personally, I’d guess that the offline co-op bit EA has mentioned is some form of offline multiplayer, where players can take part in the multiplayer modes, offline and against bots. This mode then would allow you to unlock items—perhaps at a slower pace than multiplayer. I find a mode like this might echo Instant Action from the first two Battlefronts.
On the flip-side, I suppose it’s possible that this mode will merely be some sort of training mission, such as a survival-type mode. Based on how you perform, you could unlock items. However, I’m hoping that it’ll be a more robust Skirmish or Instant Action-type offering.