Star Wars Games and Their Developers at EA Play
Star Wars: Battlefront, Visceral, Respawn and more
Electronic Arts took time during their EA Play Press Event to provide fans with an update on their upcoming slate of Star Wars titles. They recognized their achievements from the past year and looked forward to updates, continued support and further development of unreleased titles. Most of their time on Star Wars involved a glimpse into each development studio working on the license for EA. The press conference lacked any major gameplay demonstrations for the upcoming Battlefront DLC packs, which is disappointing considering the show’s proximity to their release. Instead, EA directed most of its attention to the developers and the work being done behind closed doors.
EA’s Star Wars development diary can be viewed here:
Star Wars: Battlefront will move forward with new characters, locations, and eras in future content. Fans cried for DLC set in the new time period of The Force Awakens, and EA claims to have listened. EA Motive and Criterion Games will be involved in DICE’s development process for updates to the multiplayer FPS. However, it is unclear whether it involves additional DLC or a full-fledged Star Wars: Battlefront II. The video makes it clear that Motive will be working within the Sequel Trilogy Era that began with The Force Awakens. A First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter can be seen on a screen in their studio while voice-over touches on moving forward with the IP.
Respawn Entertainment followed with a behind-the-scenes look at their third-person action game in the early days of development. The video does not shy away from displaying a motion capture session involving a carefully choreographed lightsaber duel. Prior to the developer diary, it was said that Respawn’s game would delve into an untapped era in the Star Wars Universe. Director Stig Asmussen assured that their primary focus would be gameplay and the execution of “wow moments” that are inevitable in a Star Wars property.
Capital Games touched on the further development of their mobile game Galaxy of Heroes. They emphasized the importance of creativity and the freedom of the sandbox and imagination. Bioware Austin also pointed out that they will continue support of their MMO The Old Republic.
Visceral Games capped off the EA Star Wars slate with a look into their upcoming title directed by Amy Hennig. Admittedly, there is very little go on from the information provided by EA. There are brief shots of concept images and a studio full of gorgeous art that points to the game being set somewhere during the Original Trilogy or just before.
In the only in-game footage shown of Visceral’s work, a character exits what is assumably the Mos Eisley cantina if landmarks are to be believed. On a far wall to the upper right corner of the screen, there is a painted emblem reminiscent of the early version of the Rebel Alliance Phoenix as seen in the animated television series Star Wars: Rebels. This would suggest Visceral’s third-person action game is set just before A New Hope and around Rogue One.
It is interesting to note that every individual speaking in the video has a Star Wars insignia next to their name card superimposed on the screen. At Motive, Game Director Mark Thompson is marked with a First Order badge which further indicates a move to the current film era for future Battlefront content. Stig Asmussen at Respawn is paired with the winged lightsaber of the Jedi Order. At Visceral Games, Amy Hennig and Doug Chiang represent the Rebel Alliance and Jade Raymond the Galactic Empire. To extinguish any doubt of this pattern, James Ohlen, Director of Design on Star Wars: The Old Republic is marked by the crest of the Old Republic. Perhaps these are small hints to tease Star Wars fans before revealing more in the future.
EA’s Star Wars segment could have been better. It lacked effective gameplay demos and spent too much time reiterating marketing verbiage that bled into redundancy. However, if you are willing to look close there are gleams of hope for future Star Wars titles. If EA isn’t going to come out and make the information known, the acute details will suffice for now.