If you’ve already spied our Star Wars: Battlefront preview, you’re well-aware that our behind-closed-doors demo was crammed with enough cool moments to choke a Sarlacc. Still, despite being treated to stomping AT-ATs, throat-crushing Sith Lords, and epic speeder-bike-versus-tree explosions, we exited our preview session craving more.
Alas, you’d have more luck bullseying a womp rat than uncovering additional details on EA and DICE’s highly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront for Xbox One. Despite all the secrecy, though, DICE Senior Producer Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir was happy to chat with us following our demo, to discuss what we’d seen, tease what’s to come, and talk about what the Battlefield developer is bringing to our favorite galaxy far, far away.
Xbox Wire: Longtime fans of this franchise have been waiting nearly a decade for this – will they immediately recognize EA’s and DICE’s reboot as a familiar Battlefront experience?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: I think fans of the original Battlefront games will like what we are doing. One of the core pillars of that game was the third-person perspective and you will be able to dynamically switch between first- and third-person in our game. We were fans of Battlefront, and we’re incredibly happy as a studio to bring Battlefront to a new generation of fans. That being said, it’s also important for us to feel like we have the freedom and the ownership of the franchise going forward to be able to create it in the way that we want. So I would say that we are quite inspired by the old Battlefronts, while at the same time making it our own.
Xbox Wire: DICE has a long history of creating amazing multiplayer experiences. How will this pedigree be applied to Battlefront?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: DICE is bringing, of course, many years of creating first-person multiplayer games, and that is an incredibly big part of the DNA of the studio. I think there are lots of elements from DICE games that you will recognize that have to do with quality of execution, depth of gameplay, and engaging experiences.
However, we are rebooting Battlefront and making it our own. It’s important to us that people feel like we are bringing them a fresh experience, and that they don’t immediately feel like “Oh, they have just taken Battlefield and put a Star Wars game on it.” I would say we have a good mix of people to be able to do that… to be able to approach it and look at it with fresh eyes and think about how we designed it from the ground up to be this franchise, with its own type of DNA and its own identity. So while we have this heritage of Battlefield, we have approached Battlefront from the get-go from the perspective of creating a fresh, new take.
Xbox Wire: Can you talk about the Frostbite engine and how that’s being used in Battlefront?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: Frostbite is a great graphics engine. All of our Battlefield games have been running on Frostbite, so we know it quite well. It’s also continuously being developed and evolved, so Battlefront will run on the latest edition of it. Frostbite, coupled with the technology, like the photogrammetry that we use to capture both the environments and the assets, as well as the physically-based rendering capabilities that have been added to the engine… it really gives us the ability to create these very authentic, immersive environments and assets.
Xbox Wire: Frostbite is known for creating really dynamic destruction effects. Can we expect to see some epic destruction tearing up the Star Wars universe in Battlefront?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: It’s hard to point at any one specific example, but I think that when you see the visuals of the game as a whole, and you compare in your mind with games that have been running on previous generations of consoles, you can just see the leap in capabilities of the hardware – as well as what the engine can really do, given that increased power.
Xbox Wire: Part of that fantasy will include the ability to create battles in different environments with different characters and vehicles, tight?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: Well, we are bringing in a lot of the vehicles that are sort of core to the fantasy from the original Star Wars trilogy. We are bringing you to Endor, Tatooine, and Hoth, which fans know and love. But we are not only giving you the environments that you see in the movies; we are also expanding on those planets, showing you sides of the planets that you haven’t previously seen.
We also have the planet of Sullust, which is hugely inspired by my home country of Iceland. Based on this planet of black-and-red lava and smoke, that has been a part of the Star Wars universe before… but the visualization, how we bring it to life – that is DICE’s contribution to the universe, and a great example of how we work with Lucasfilm.
Xbox Wire: And within these environments, players will be able to customize matches?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: We are creating these amazing settings for different fantasies, and that is where you get to mix-and-match the vehicles and experiences in these different environments, and in the different maps and modes that we have. We are catering to specific fantasies, so in some cases we want to give you something like “Walker Assault,” an all-out 40-player war mode. Then we have smaller modes that cater to a very different fantasy. We are not one-size-fits-all; we are giving you varied experiences with different modes, and different means of playing out these fantasies.
Xbox Wire: What about the iconic characters from the films?
Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir: We are giving you the ability to play as many Star Wars heroes and villains, like Darth Vader, Boba Fett… and then we have more characters that we haven’t announced yet.
Xbox Wire: Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, then! We can’t wait to get our hands on Star Wars: Battlefront when it hits Xbox One on November 17, followed by the Battle of Jakku downloadable content pack on December 8 (or December 1 for those who pre-order before launch)!