Few places in Star Wars hold as much mystery, danger, and exotic locals as the Outer Rim. To EA and developer DICE, this made the region of galactic space ripe for inclusion in Star Wars Battlefront. To get more insight into what the Outer Rim expansion brings to Battlefront, StarWars.com spoke with Lucasfilm executive producer Matt Fillbrandt.
StarWars.com: Why take Battlefront to the Outer Rim? What thematically were you hoping to convey with this first expansion?
Matt Fillbrandt: We have maps set on the planets of Tatooine and Sullust in the game since launch, both of which are located in the Outer Rim, so Star Wars Battlefront had already established a strong presence there. The DICE team wanted to go deeper and bring one of the most iconic locations in Star Wars to life — Jabba’s palace — and give our fans a fun place to play and relive memories of Return of the Jedi. Sullust is really seen in depth for the first time in Star Wars Battlefront and offers a unique opportunity to show off new, never-before-seen areas of the factories that the Empire established here to fuel their war machines. Together, a theme of expanded play in the Outer Rim naturally emerged.
StarWars.com: When trying to think of new Hero characters to include in the Outer Rim expansion, what criteria was considered to find the right characters?
Matt Fillbrandt: We wanted characters that were iconic in the Star Wars universe, but also felt thematically linked to Tatooine and Sullust; they had to be fun to play in combat with abilities that fit their character, so they felt authentic.
StarWars.com: Nien Nunb was shown to be an ace pilot in Return of the Jedi, but we never saw him doing any sort of ground operations. What drove you to include him as a playable hero in Battlefront?
Matt Fillbrandt: Nien Nunb being a Sullustan, a well-loved character from Return of the Jedi, and having just made an appearance in The Force Awakens felt like a natural choice. We worked with the Lucasfilm Story Group to imagine what types of qualities Nien Nunb might have as a soldier on the ground. So thinking of him as an ace pilot, we gave him a skill set that fit the persona of precision targeting abilities that a pilot would have, that include a sniper rifle with a quick cool down.
StarWars.com: Likewise Greedo is an interesting choice. Among all the scoundrels we see throughout the films, DICE decided to make one who appears for only a minute and dies at the hand of Han Solo a playable hero. What was it about his character that pushed the studio in that direction?
Matt Fillbrandt: Greedo maybe one of the most infamous characters in Star Wars for his short lived appearance in A New Hope, but thematically he was a great choice because he is tied to Tatooine, Jabba the Hutt, and Han Solo. He was trying to collect Jabba’s bounty on Han when he met his untimely demise, now players can give Greedo a chance to get the upper hand on Han in the game, if they can shoot first…
StarWars.com: Was part of the goal with Nien Nunb and Greedo to include more characters that weren’t human?
Matt Fillbrandt: Alien species are a core part of any Star Wars experience. Even though we allow Rebel troopers to customize their look with a variety of species, we didn’t have any alien heroes that were playable so Nien Nunb and Greedo bring something new to the heroes already released in the game. Finding the right characters that fit the Outer Rim theme and the locations were equally important.
StarWars.com: For Greedo’s power set, where’d the idea for his “Confidence” mechanic come from?
Matt Fillbrandt: It came out of discussions we had with Lucasfilm Story Group about what types of characteristics we’ve seen or know about Greedo. In addition to his brief appearance in A New Hope, Greedo was featured in an episode of The Clone Wars animated series so we were able to draw inspiration from his character there, as well. Greedo has been portrayed as very overconfident, reckless, and bit of a bumbler. We gave that to DICE and they came up with the idea of a mechanic of someone that would be fueled by his own success, so the Confidence ability made sense here.
StarWars.com: And for Nien Nunb, what role is he supposed to fulfill? I think the power fantasy of someone like Han or Luke is easier to understand and build a Hero around, so I’m curious mechanically what the team was trying to make the player “feel” when in the role of Nien Nunb?
Matt Fillbrandt: Like a great wingman, Nien Nunb’s abilities are designed to support his team. He can be very effective as a sharpshooter, use turrets, or drop proximity bombs to set up traps to protect areas on the battlefield, or call in orbit strikes depending on the game mode.
StarWars.com: As for Hutt Contracts, the original forum post talked about how failing a contract could make you unsafe in the Outer Rim. Obviously that’s not true, because you just push towards progression rather than ever failing. Was there ever consideration of fail states for the contracts, to kind of lend a lore perspective to the mechanic?
Matt Fillbrandt: No, we never discussed fail states with DICE. They wanted a system that rewarded players of all skill levels without feeling punitive, and players could engage with at their own pace. We really liked the idea and it was a great way to have Jabba be a part of the game, at the same time we were adding the Jabba’s palace maps.
StarWars.com: Was part of the design behind Contracts a way to encourage unlock progression outside of simply paying for an item once you get enough credits? They seem designed similar to achievements — in that they both push you to play certain ways that might otherwise not.
Matt Fillbrandt: It has similarities to an achievement system, but it offers other ways for players of all skill levels, to chase better weapons and star cards outside of the normal progression path.
StarWars.com: Can you give any hints about the recent forum posts that talk about “more options to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront offline”?
Matt Fillbrandt: I don’t have anything I can say right now, but stay tuned for exciting announcements about future Star Wars Battlefront Season Pass updates.
StarWars.com: Can you discuss any of the other characters that were considered?
Matt Fillbrandt: When we brainstormed with DICE and the Story team, we came up with a healthy list of characters that we thought would both be iconic and moreover make for fun gameplay. But once we rallied around the Outer Rim theme most of those quickly melted away as they didn’t fit as well with the locations as Nien Nunb and Greedo. However, you might see some of those characters show up in a future update.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this peek into the way Star Wars Battlefront: Outer Rim was created. If you’re dying to try out the expansion for yourself and haven’t picked up the Season Pass yet, we’re happy to inform you that from May 13 – 15, the expansion will be available to all players on all platforms for free. So get out there and take down Rebel scum or Imperial villains and see just what the Outer Rim has to offer.
Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.