Few characters in Star Wars are as terrifying to face as the leader of the Separatist droid army, General Grievous. So it’s fitting that today — the day before Halloween — he arrives in Star Wars Battlefront II.
The first of several Clone Wars-era characters to be added post-launch, General Grievous brings four arms, four lightsabers, and a series of phenomenal quips to the game. Playing as Grievous will offer players the unique experience of feeling the character’s hulking cyborg-frame and swift mobility. Few will be able to out-fight him, even fewer able to outrun him.
Did we mention he has four lightsabers?
Creating a hero…or villain
When it came time for EA DICE to start working on Grievous, the team began considering all available references for the character, whether it be movies, comics, books, or any number of Star Wars compendiums. Following the research, developers outlined the core aspects of the character to include in the game.
“Some abilities are iconic and must be in the game, of course,” Guillaume Mroz, hero designer at DICE, tells StarWars.com. “Like Grievous’s sabers spinning during his fight with Obi-Wan.” From here, Mroz created a design document that was shared with both Lucasfilm and his team. Animators, VFX artists, audio designers, and masters of many more specialized crafts were necessary to create the final “hero” product.
DICE made a significant effort to respect the history and legacy of General Grievous throughout development. It might surprise fans to hear that the primary inspiration for Grievous didn’t come from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but instead from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. To wit, the “Thrust Surge” ability (more on that in a bit) is pulled from an encounter General Grievous has with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the episode “Grievous Intrigue”; the concept behind having battle damaged versions of the villain was inspired by “Lair of Grievous,” in which the cyborg general repairs his injuries. Grievous would be pleased, we think.
Outmaneuvering the master strategist
As of today, General Grievous is one of the most unique heroes playable in Star Wars Battlefront II, with several original abilities and characteristics that truly help the player embody the Jedi hunter.
The first of Grievous’s three abilities is “Unrelenting Advance.” Just as he did while facing Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, Grievous can wield four lightsabers as he advances towards his enemy, blocking any frontal attacks coming his way. (Simultaneously striking down enemies and defending allies is an exciting prospect.) In the right hands, Unrelenting Advance is an unstoppable weapon.
With his Thrust Surge ability, Grievous zeroes in on a target and rushes them with four lightsabers in hand. You’ll need to plan properly if you face Grievous on the battlefront, assuming you hope to survive. “Be really careful about your placement and be ready to react,” Mroz says. “All of Grievous’s abilities are about being mobile in a battle. You have to outsmart him.”
The third and final ability is “Claw Rush,” a terrifying action that turns the tide of the fight if utilized properly. Once Claw Rush is activated, Grievous will drop down to six limbs and advance forward at a rapid speed, damaging any enemies in his path. “As Grievous is all about positioning, we wanted an ability to let him retreat but also go behind enemy lines and wreak havoc for his troops to move forward,” Mroz says. “Even if he is an imposing and powerful villain, Grievous still escapes many times in the Clone Wars series when he sees the tide of battle is against him.”
For those who choose to play as Grievous, activating his abilities at the right time will yield devastating results. From a distance, Grievous can quickly enter the fight using his Thrust Surge ability. Upon joining the fray, Unrelenting Advance disorients and terrifies enemies, opening them up to attack from your squad mates. Then choose to stay and fight, or inflict further terror by activating Claw Rush and running away, leaving your enemies with the lasting image of a cyborg spider running at full speed. Every second will count, so be sure to plan wisely. Jedi (and other type of) scum won’t stand a chance.
Just the beginning
The arrival of General Grievous in Star Wars Battlefront II is, to quote Count Dooku, “just the beginning.” The famed rival of Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, will leap into the fight this November alongside the debut of the planet Geonosis in Galactic Assault. Early next year, Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker appear for the first time alongside a new large-scale game mode, the addition of 501st Legion Appearances, and more. It’s a good time to be a fan of the Clone Wars, no matter which side you’re on.
Come back later this week for StarWars.com’s interview with the voice of Grievous, Matthew Wood!
Check out StarWars.com’s interview with Star Wars: The Clone Wars actors Corey Burton, Matt Lanter, and James Arnold Taylor on reprising their roles in Star Wars Battlefront II!
Tyler Westhause is a contributor to StarWars.com and the founder of the Star Wars Podcast Alliance. He is also an avid gamer and podcaster. Tyler is also always happy to run your ear off about why Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the greatest video game of all time. Follow him on Twitter @twesthause.