2015 is a very big year for the Star Wars franchise. Not only is a new movie coming out, but a continuation in the much loved Battlefront series is being released as well.
[Star Wars: Battlefront](tag:2684021) is being developed by DICE studios, the same company that has developed the critically-acclaimed Battlefield series which has been noted for its realism and outstanding multiplayer features. Electronic Arts has been DICE's publisher for well over a decade now and aside from Battlefield, they have published best-selling titles like Mass Effect, Crysis, Dead Space, and The Sims.
With a long list of successful titles like that, it's not surprising to see Disney choose EA to take up responsibility on the release of such an anticipated game. Gamers have been waiting years for a new installment in the Battlefront series and they are expecting an amazing delivery.
However, many fans of the franchise have voiced loud disapproval as DICE announced that there would be no space battles and the player limit for multiplayer would be set at a total of 40 players. They also announced that the Clone Wars era units and maps would not be available in the game. The predecessor to EA's Star Wars: Battlefront featured both planetary and space battles, a player limit as much as 64 on the PC, units from both the Galactic Civil War and Clone Wars era, and dozens of locations from the Star Wars universe to play on, something that DICE has said it is also cutting down on.
Understandably, fans expected the same amount of content that was present in previous Battlefront games but with improved graphics and mechanics, as well as a connection to the new Star Wars film. The elimination of what were thought of as core game features seem like steps backward, however EA and DICE promise that the game that will be delivered to us will be satisfactory and well optimized.
The Bright Side
At first, I was disappointed that space battles were going to be cut out. I expected the new Battlefront to feature a seamless transition from ground to space, similar to what was featured in Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron on the PSP, so that a true feeling of war would be established, where the objectives achieved both in space and on the ground would affect both battles. Like many other fans, I grew up playing Star Wars: Battlefront II on the PSP and PC, so being able to play a new and improved version would've been amazing.
After giving it a lot of thought though, I came to the conclusion that these changes are going to be for the good of the game. Since there will be no space battles, the development team at DICE can focus on the optimization of gameplay in the ground battles.
Starfighters will be available to be piloted above the battlefield, so more traditional battle tactics can be employed by players through air superiority. The exclusion of the Clone Wars era allows the development team focus on the extension of the new storyline that Episode 7 presents through the in-game campaign mode. Less maps could mean better and bigger maps with interactive objects and better designed game modes.
The Real Problem
What I am worried about is EA messing up the development of the game itself. One of EA's recently released titles, Battlefield 4, was a nightmare at launch. Bugs were abundant and the game was almost unplayable for weeks. It was not until about a year after the launch of Battlefield 4 that the game would've been considered completely stable. It was obvious that EA had pushed out an unfinished product.
I had sunk over 100 hours into EA's previous game, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, but I was unable to fully enjoy Battlefield 4 because of the terrible state of the game at its launch. It's exactly this that I'm afraid of for Star Wars: Battlefront. EA should allow DICE ample time to eliminate any potentially gamebreaking bugs from the game and let the studio polish the game as much as possible. EA should not push an unfinished game out of the door and instead take the time to really flesh out the world and deliver a solid game
Polishing the game won't be a relaxing process for DICE, as a release date has already been set for the 17th of November. The release date has been set before the release of Episode 7 so that players can play through the campaign, which EA has stated will be a prologue to the upcoming film. I'm not sure if I agree with that decision because games should be released once they're done. I wouldn't be disappointed if the game's release date is pushed back because that just means it will be even better once it is released. I, for one, will remain optimistic as the release date approaches.