Despite the 2015 reboot of the Battlefront series being an incredible display of impeccable sound and visual design, fans (including myself) bemoaned the fact that there was no single-player campaign. Thankfully, EA DICE have listened to the fans and Battlefront II will be including a story-driven single-player campaign. The events of the campaign take place at the tail end of Return of the Jedi and finish with the events leading up to The Force Awakens – essentially bridging the gap between the original trilogy and the new Star Wars era.
With Motive studios leading the development of the campaign, this week I had the opportunity to speak to Motive studio producer David Robillard while also getting to play the campaign’s first three chapters. In it, you play as the brand new character Iden Versio, the leader of an Imperial Special Forces group called the Inferno Squad. After witnessing the destruction of the second Death Star and learning of the death of Emperor Palpatine, Iden and what’s left of the Galactic Empire are hell bent on hunting down the Rebels responsible for the capitulation of their once dominant dictatorship. Their first step to getting revenge begins with implementing ‘Operation: Cinder’ – a cryptic contingency plan devised by the Emperor (in the event of his death) to ensure the Rebel’s celebrations are cut short. However, the lack of exposition as to what exactly this contingency entails strongly implies the Emperor’s final wishes may not necessarily have the Empire’s best interests at heart.
Robillard says the reason they decided to explore the Empire’s perspective after the fallout of the events of Return of the Jedi was because, “You saw Rebels celebrating on Endor, celebrating on Coruscant, but what was it like for the other side? They just got totally defeated, their Emperor’s dead, their forces are shattered – we wanted to show what it’s like being an Imperialist trooper in that context”. It’s an interesting approach that harkens back to previous Star Wars games such as TIE Fighter, in which you got to go behind enemy lines to see the inner workings of the Empire.