Star Wars: Battlefront 2 stands to be one of the year’s biggest games, and its single-player campaign is shaping up to be perhaps the best across all Star Wars games.
What really sets Battlefront 2 apart from its counterparts is that it will tell a story from the perspective of the Empire, specifically Iden Versio.
She is the playable character, and DICE appears intent on showing a structured, coherent perspective of the Empire’s objectives, and why it so aggressively battles the Rebellion for control of the galaxy.
EA has confirmed that Battlefront 2‘s story is indeed canon, so Battlefront 2 will be a prime opportunity for DICE and its collaborators to build an important layer in the Star Wars universe.
We know a few details about the story, including that it takes place immediately after Return Of The Jedi. In the reveal trailer we can see the second Death Star exploding, as was the case at the end of ROTJ.
DICE and LucasFilm spoke with Glixel about that era, and the challenges in building a story around the series’ most evil entity.
“From day one, this was something that we wanted for the campaign mode – we wanted to intersect with [classic original trilogy] characters,” LucasFilm creative executive, Steve Blank, said. “Because of what’s been established by the Battlefront brand, [we wanted] the ability to step into the shoes of these characters,” he continued, referring to soldiers of the Empire.
Blank explains that the Battlefront 2 team spent a lot of time working out who the right characters were, not just from the perspective of who they are, but also from the perspective of “feeling organic to the story”.
“You’re following Iden and Inferno Squad for this whole time, and so we didn’t want it to be like, ‘And now off to the right! random thing!’ for no reason,” Blank continued. “It needs to organically fit into what they’re doing. That took a lot of work, but I think we ended up in some pretty awesome places, and the ability to play as Luke Skywalker and as Kylo Ren is pretty amazing.”
Battlefront 2‘s story spans an important time in Star Wars lore: the time from the explosion of Death Star 2 at the end of Return of the Jedi, right through until the events of The Force Awakens. That’s a 30-year period of Iden’s life.
What stands as the most intriguing element of Battlefront 2‘s campaign is that it will tell a detailed, emotional and lengthy tale from the perspective of an Empire soldier.
Blank says the Battlefront 2 team isn’t trying to reframe how people view certain characters in the galaxy, but rather it wants people to better understand the reasons behind certain actions.
“It’s just about perspective and understanding, that not everybody in the Empire believes in exactly the same thing,” he said. “Everyone has their own personal view of what the Empire means, what’s right or wrong inside the Galactic Empire, in much the same way that we probably all have a different opinion about the way that democracy works and what its pros and cons are.
“Those kinds of discussions, those kinds of beliefs – when you start to meet Inferno Squad and you take the helmets off and you see them as people, you start to understand their perspective.”
Importantly, according to Blank, the team isn’t looking for sympathy, more so empathy.
“Understanding their perspective and who they are as people and what drives them and motivates them. Ultimately, we just need to bring people on a journey to the point that they understand why Iden and Inferno Squad make the decisions they do and believe in the things that they do.”
Blank says that the intent is not to convince the audience that the Death Star is a force for good, but rather that those involved with the Death Star don’t necessarily support it.
“Because in much the same way that I don’t believe that every stormtrooper, or every single imperial, thinks that Death Star was the right course for the Empire to take. It’s an extreme measure,” he said.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 launches November 17 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.