Battlefield developer DICE wants to give Star Wars fans a chance to live out their own personal battle fantasies with Star Wars Battlefront, the new shooter set in a galaxy far, far away that’s coming to consoles and PC this holiday.
For DICE, playing out those fantasies means reliving some iconic Star Warsmoments, as well as experiencing Star Wars battles that we never saw in the films. In Battlefront, players will play as the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. They’ll ride speeder bikes, pilot X-wings and drive AT-ATs on planets like Hoth, Tattooine and Sullust. They’ll play as key characters like Darth Vader and Boba Fett, wielding the former’s lightsaber and flying around with the latter’s jetpack.
Niklas Fegraeus, design director on, said the developer wanted to tap into that feeling of playing with toys and action figures as a child, imagining your own conflicts in the Star Wars universe.
“Playing with our toys and creating our own battle fantasies, in our imaginations, that became the vision of Star Wars Battlefront,” Fegraeus said at a presentation at Star Wars Celebration. “We want to immerse players in an authentic experience, where you can create your own Star Wars battles.”
Star Wars Battlefront will be a first- and third-person shooter; players can choose which perspective suits them best. The focus, DICE said, is on online multiplayer with up to 40-player battles, but the developer is creating offline challenges inspired by moments from the films that can be played solo, or cooperatively either online or split-screen. Fegraeus said those offline challenges will be highly replayable, with a variety of difficulty levels.
The game won’t have a traditional campaign, DICE says, of the kind we’ve seen in the studio’s recent Battlefield games.
One of the Battlefront’s Stormtroopers poses for the cameraIn a gameplay demonstration shown at Celebration, we witnessed a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire on the forest moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi. On the ground, a team of rebels clashed with a team of Stormtroopers. The rebels appeared to be a bit outgunned by the Empire; AT-STs and AT-ATs showed up during the battle, and the rebels fought back by calling in a Y-wing bombing run when they needed some more substantial firepower. (That AT-AT armor is too thick for their blasters, of course.)
The rebels won’t be helpless, though. They’ll have access to iconic Star Wars vehicles too: snow speeders, X-wings, the Millennium Falcon. DICE is also adding power-ups like shields and explosives. While there are familiar-looking blasters and thermal detonators in Battlefront, the game will also have tech we haven’t really seen in the films. In the demo we saw, the rebels could use a mobile bubble shield to protect themselves from blaster fire, and one equipped a rocket launcher to blast open an AT-ST.
The game, which DICE said was running on a PlayStation 4, looked and sounded spectacular.
Patrick Bach, general manager at DICE, said that Lucasfilm has been helpful in working with the studio when it has gameplay needs that don’t necessarily line up with the movies.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT WILL FOCUS MAINLY ON THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY OF STAR WARS FILMS, NOT THE PREQUELS OR SEQUEL TRILOGY“One of the big reasons we took on the project was that we had access not only to the archives, but also we had access to the knowledge that the Lucasfilm people have,” Bach said. “They have been working with us to create a game, not a movie. They are extremely competent and brilliant at what they do [and] if we say we have a need from a gameplay perspective — ‘This is what we want to do, how do we get it right?’ — they help. We work it out.”
Bach said DICE wants to explore battles unseen in the films, where other Star Wars stories are being told.
“What happens over there in Endor?” he said, gesturing as if pointing over a hill or mountain ridge. “You don’t see it in the movies, but that’s what we want explore. We want the game to be bigger than what we see in the movies, yet stay true to it. It’s been an intimate collaboration.”
Part of that collaboration has been DICE getting access to Lucasfilm’s vaults, the models, costumes and sounds of Star Wars. Using a technique called photogrammetry, DICE turned hundreds of photographs of real Star Wars props into 3D models, making the ships and Stormtroopers of Battlefront film-accurate. Fegraeus called the game’s models “a perfect replication” of what moviegoers saw in the films.
“When you pick up a lightsaber or jump into an X-wing, you’re using the actual thing,” said Fegraeus.