Star Wars Battlefront had a lot riding on it. A revitalization for the franchise, it was meant to present us with a modern take on the PS2-era classic that was Star Wars Battlefront 2. Developed by DICE, spanning multiple planets and locations across the galaxy, it was positioned to be one of the best Star Wars games in years.
What it turned out to be was something slightly more underwhelming. EA hacked the game apart in an effort to make it a vehicle for selling DLC, stripping the base game of so much that it launched with a dearth of content on some of the most substandard places imaginable. So much about it felt like it was half-realized, from the shallow design of loadouts to the aggressively linear game modes.
It was a well-intentioned but poorly executed attempt at making a game that would be both approachable for a general audience, but layered enough to keep longtime and hardcore fans coming back for more. Its transgressions are frustrating, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make amends in its eventual sequel. Because we criticize the things we love, let’s explore some of what Star Wars Battlefront 2 can do to recapture the magic of its namesake.
This is probably the most widely-requested feature in the eventual sequel, and for good reason. We’re hurting for great Star Wars games today, and while the online aspect of Battlefront makes sense, it would greatly benefit from following the same route as other shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield and add in a single-player campaign that would not only serve as a prolonged introduction to the mechanics of multiplayer, but would also give us a chance to live out our power fantasies in a galaxy far, far away.
Battlefield 1 actually gave us a great template for this. Instead of focusing on one core team (which you could also totally do ), why not explore the lives of different characters and how the war affects them via vignettes for different characters from every part of the galaxy? There’s room to explore all manner of stories here, and it even opens up for great movie tie-in opportunities later on down the way.
Rethink Vehicle Combat
For a game set in a world filled to the brim with cool and unique vehicles, Battlefront’s approach to allowing players to fly or crawl around the surface of its many planets is incredibly cumbersome. Right now, it’s all based on a system of collecting a certain amount of tokens in order to qualify for flying or driving one of your side’s vehicles.
Do away with the tokens and just treat vehicles like Battlefield does its own host of tanks and airplanes. Have them scattered around a map, waiting for anyone who might be able to access them fast enough. When they’re blown up, merely return to their spawn point and climb in again when the cooldown meter has gone away.
Replace Loadouts With Classes
The loadout system in Battlefront is laughably thin. The Star Cards add a decent amount of customization, but it’s difficult to get any real sense of variation between the different weapons and the situations in which you are encouraged to use them. Further, one of Battlefront’s biggest weaknesses is how free-for-all so many of its battles seem to be. Teamwork is not incentivized or encouraged by the rules of Battlefront, and this makes it a weaker game as a whole, especially when it’s considered that Battlefront is a game about a massive galactic civil war and the two sides fighting for dominance.
Here, I think they could borrow a page from Overwatch. Mix in several different class types for each side, giving them an assignment and a reason to exist in combat. Build turrets, hold capture points, drive out intruders, etc..give different job assignments to each class and incentives to take advantage of those unique abilities.
Battlefront is (understandably) extremely reliant on the original trilogy for content. Luke, Leia, Han, Darth Vader, and even Dengar are all heroes available to play in Battlefront. Which is great, but there are so many other additions waiting to happen. Put in characters from Rogue One, The Force Awakens, Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars...hell, there are even a few characters from the prequels that weren’t entirely terrible. With such a massive roster, let’s start to weave in the characters who really deserve a chance.
Retool DLC Plans
Battlefront’s DLC season plans were a mess from day one. It was apparent so much of it was cut out in order to pave the way for later content releases, and the way it has been fragmented off is nickel-and-diming to the point of being quasi-exploitative. Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with additional downloadable content, but having it become so segmented that it completely transforms the game by the end of its DLC seasons isn’t the best look.
Going along with the class-based approach, it would be helpful for Battlefront 2 to include new game modes that stressed cooperation and teamwork in a way that wasn’t quite as linear as the current modes they had.
The return of Galactic Conquest would also be a much-welcomed feature to include in Battlefront 2, since it had the galaxy-spanning feel of Star Wars and yielded a very believable and linear success path as you combed your way across planets. Tie that together with a solid single-player narrative, and you have a formula for an excellent game mode.