Mitch Dyer is a writer at Motive Studios. He co-wrote Star Wars Battlefront II with Walt Williams. Follow him on Twitter @MitchyD.
When Motive Studios started making Star Wars Battlefront II, we worked closely with the Lucasfilm Story Group to create a new character, a hero of the Empire, and her detailed history. Commander Iden Versio is the result of that collaboration. Iden brings a new perspective — she’s a loyal Imperial, she’s special forces, and she has a lot of story to tell.
In the game, Iden’s story spans from Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens. In Christie Golden’s explosive, emotional novel, you’ll see where Iden comes from, how far she’ll go to protect her Empire, and how dangerous an early Inferno Squad truly is. Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad is a perfect prequel to Motive’s single-player campaign. Here are seven reasons why. Note: Some minor spoilers follow.
1. Inferno Squad’s origins.
The Inferno Squad novel sets Iden in the aftermath of Rogue One, where Saw Gererra’s Partisans are angrier than ever. The Rebel Alliance has the Death Star plans, and we know what they do with them. How does the Empire respond to such a catastrophe as losing the Death Star? With fury and fire. Inferno Squad is created to protect the Empire – and the novel explores exactly how far they’ll go to do just that. Their early missions are awesome…especially when they go sideways.
2. Meet the family.
Inferno Squad is sculpted from the Empire’s finest. Iden Veriso is a top-tier pilot struggling with perceived nepotism. Her father, who creates the special forces task force, pulls from all ends of the Empire. Del Meeko is an exceptional engineer, Gideon Hask a ruthless soldier, and Seyn Marana a peerless intelligence officer. This is Inferno Squad, Iden Versio’s family, whose bonds form in the book and grow deeper in the single-player game.
3. The great Christie Golden.
Dark Disciple is among the best Star Wars novels available — author Christie Golden is incredible at finding the heart of a character, pushing it to its breaking point, and leaving the reader in ruins. Inferno Squad packs serious emotional punches because of Christie. She will make you weep for Imperial heroes you’ll fall in love with. Even if you don’t agree with the Empire, you will know Inferno Squad as people who fight for what matters.
4. The great Janina Gavankar.
Who better to tell Iden’s origin story than Iden herself? Janina Gavankar plays Iden with a powerful sense of confidence, and in the audiobook version of Inferno Squad, Janina’s narration gives you the best possible way to experience her character’s journey. Iden was rewritten around the woman playing her — so it’s perfect having Janina tell Christie’s story before you see who Iden becomes in the game.
5. Get ready for the Dreamers.
Christie Golden’s book is an independent and emotional character story. The Rebellion is rising, and the Empire is in its prime. Part of that rebellion is the violent, furious Dreamers: a faction of the Partisans, or some of those remaining after the attack on Jedha, anyway. The Dreamers have a plan, and their story collides with Iden, Del, Seyn, and Gideon in fascinating ways. You’ll see two sides of the war with equal compassion, varying degrees of hope and hate, order and justice. Hardcore Star Wars fans are in for surprising treats. No spoilers.
6. It connects to the game.
The origins and history of Inferno Squad reverberates all the way through the single-player campaign of the video game. If you read the novel, you’ll have invaluable context about the commander you play. These characters suffer, and grow, and that carries into the campaign. You can see Iden’s memories in Janina’s performance. You can feel the natural evolution of these characters’ relationships. And, if you listen carefully, you’ll pick up on fun references you might have missed otherwise.
7. Welcome to Vardos.
Iden’s homeworld, an Imperial planet that lives to serve Emperor Palpatine, plays a major role in the novel and game. It’s a critical place with pivotal people. It has a thoughtful history, haunting folktales, and unique natural and architectural features you’ll hold in your hand July 25, and walk through when the game releases November 17.
Honestly, I could have written an infinite number of reasons the Inferno Squad book excites me — and Christie, and Janina, and everyone at Motive, DICE, Criterion, and across Electronic Arts. All of us feel so lucky to be part of Star Wars, and we needed to do right by this galaxy we cherish so much. We’ve spent hours on the phone, in person, and at work making sure the untold Inferno Squad story is special. On the page, in your ears, and in your hands.
Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad will be released on July 25 and is available for pre-order now.
Star Wars Battlefront II will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and on Origin for PC in November 2017.