With the Star Wars Battlefront open beta only days away now, developer DICE has been talking more and more in depth about the elements we will be able to sink our hands into. Senior Producer Jami Keen, speaking with Gamespot, opened up about the role of hero characters in the game, the trouble of balancing them, and what it was like working with Lucasfilm.
Referring to characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Keen said, “These are the very important parts and high points of the franchise, so we all want to make sure they’re done and realized in the most faithful way possible.”
As far as getting the nod of approval from Lucasfilm and Disney, “Working with them, we put forward what we wanted to do gameplay wise, what I wanted to realize, and those sorts of things. And Lucasfilm very quickly understood how much we felt for them as characters…” Keen goes on to explain, “There’s been a real give and take. There’s some stuff where Lucasfilm has said, ‘This character just wouldn’t do that.’ We have to respect that. It’s their opinion at the end of the day, and that’s something we have to fall in line with.” That said however, “At the same time, they’re very good about understanding this is a different situation. This is a gameplay situation… It’s as much evoking a sense of their spirit and essence as it is a completely faithful translation.”
That is the same reasoning behind the odd case of seeing Luke Skywalker in his Return of the Jedi outfit on Hoth. Explaining at length, Keen said, “From a gameplay perspective, we wanted that moment that Luke is on his way to becoming a Jedi Master. It’s probably the most interesting point from a gameplay perspective. It lets us put in powers that we can play around with, but at the same point he’s not fully mastered his art yet. Whereas for somebody like Darth Vader, we want that sense of effortlessness. He is the Dark Lord. He is snapping his fingers and lifting people up, and he just has complete mastery of the force and the powers around him. Whereas Luke has huge power, but he’s still finding his way through it slightly. So there’s still a residual need for him to push through something. He has more of an active effort, and I think that’s why we picked the Jedi Knight costume; he is at the zenith, and his moment of transition into becoming this kind of Jedi warrior.”
When it comes to bringing the hero characters into the standard games however, things tend to get tricky. “It’s a very delicate balance because you need to think about the person that is playing as the character, but also the people that are fighting against them. This is kind of weirdly counter-intuitive, but if they are overpowered, that actually becomes more boring for the people that are playing as the Jedi character, than the people that are fighting against them.”
It was also recently announced that Star Wars Battlefront will not feature microtransactions. The Battlefront open beta launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC October 8th, the game set to release November 17th. Will you be jumping into the beta? Let us know in the comments.