The game's assistant producer talks the influence of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Sith strategy, and why Dooku is different (and maybe better) than other lightsaber wielders.
"I've been looking forward to this."
So said Count Dooku prior to his next clash with Anakin and Obi-Wan in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but that statement also applies to our own feelings about the Sith Lord's Star Wars Battlefront II debut. Count Dooku is the latest prequel/Star Wars: The Clone Wars character to arrive in the popular game, and is available beginning today. StarWars.com spoke with Lucasfilm's Michael Dailey, assistant producer, about bringing the Separatist leader into Battlefront II. Here are his greatest insights.
On capturing Dooku's essence as seen in other media:
"We partner with the DICE animation team and point them in the direction that we think would make sense for developing the character. From there they do a lot of research, looking at examples from the movies and The Clone Wars. In this case I think, The Clone Wars was the bigger influence. They went and looked at the way that he fights and brought in elements of that into the way he was was animated -- the way he does his attacks and does special abilities. A lot of times designing a specific ability, we'll go right to a clip from The Clone Wars and say, 'Oh, wouldn't it be cool if he did something like this?' From there we may tweak things slightly to better fit our gameplay needs for the hero, in the end the most important thing is that he's both fun to play and feels authentic to both the universe and the character themselves."
On developing a gameplay identity for Dooku in Battlefront II:
"One of the most important things to nail down first is: What should the fantasy around this particular character be when you play as them in Star Wars Battlefront II? Dooku is a duelist, so that's the approach we took with him. To realize this, Dooku was designed to be a hero with great advantages in close combat. His basic lightsaber attacks deal higher damage, he is able to more effectively deflect enemy lightsaber attacks, and two of his three abilities give him further advantages in close-up lightsaber encounters."
On differentiating the villain from other Sith:
"While we focused in on his ability as a lightsaber duelist, we do see Dooku both in the films and The Clone Wars using Force lightning. Although we didn't want to lean too heavily into the Force lightning, because he might start feeling too similar to the Emperor, he is the only character that has the ability to utilize both his lightsaber and this particular Force power, adding an extra facet to his in-game character."
On how players should strategize when playing as Dooku:
“Where Dooku excels is in one-on-one fights with other lightsaber wielding heroes -- because of this, I imagine he will be quite a popular choice for Heroes VS Villains. I've already talked a bit about his strengths both offensively and defensively with a lightsaber, but it's equally important to know his weaknesses. Dooku is less effective than others at deflecting ranged attacks, meaning you will want to avoid long-range encounters and get in close to best utilize his strengths. You will want to avoid being surrounded by too many enemies, as Dooku has fewer abilities suited for dealing with groups of enemies. If you do find yourself confronted by a large group, take advantage of Dooku’s Lightning Stun ability to damage and knock down the enemies in your way, then quickly follow up with some lightsaber attacks to finish them off before they can recover.”
On why Dooku may be the best of all lightsaber wielders in the game:
“Dooku’s skill with a lightsaber is well known. In the game this is reflected in a few different ways, but what really stands out his ability to take the defensive role in a fight. Dooku is able to perform more consecutive dodges than other heroes, and blocks incoming lightsaber attacks more effectively than any other lightsaber wielder in the game, as blocking drains less stamina.”
On their secret weapon in bringing Dooku to life:
"One thing that really goes a long way and really brings an awesome touch to Dooku is that Corey Burton, who voiced Dooku in The Clone Wars, is back. He's just fantastic as that character and has a lot of great banter in the game. It's a fun way, before The Clone Wars comes back, to get a little bit more of those characters and those versions of those characters interacting with each other."
On why Dooku was an essential addition to Battlefront II:
"When you look at the Clone Wars, you kind of highlight the key figures in the war on both sides. When it comes to the heroes, Obi-Wan and Anakin are key there. If you look at the villains, Dooku is such a key part of both Episode II and II and The Clone Wars series as a whole. As the leader of the Separatists master of General Grievous, and the apprentice of Darth Sidious himself, it was an easy choice to bring Count Dooku to Battlefront. From a gameplay perspective, he counters the recent light side addition of Obi-Wan as a defense-oriented saber-user and, from a fantasy perspective, gives players the opportunity to recreate his iconic showdown with Master Yoda."
On the reception of the recent prequel invasion of Battlefront II:
"The reaction has been tremendous. We’re really happy to have been able to deliver fun and engaging prequel content that the fans are pleased with. It was definitely something they asked for a lot and were vocal about, and it's been really awesome to be able to deliver on that. Obi-Wan and Grievous went great, Dooku is here, and we're very excited for Anakin."
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.