StarWars.com dives deep into the large-scale multiplayer mode inspired by the Clone Wars with DICE and Lucasfilm.
During last summer's EA Play media briefing, DICE's Dennis Brannvall took the stage to tease a brand new multiplayer mode for Star War Battlefront II. “We'll be delivering a large-scale multiplayer sandbox experience focused around capturing command posts and attacking and taking out capital ships,” shared the game's franchise design director.
Brannvall immediately followed the announcement with news he and his team would also be responding to fans' overwhelming requests for Clone Wars content by adding heroes, villains, and planets from that “iconic Star Wars conflict.” As Battlefront II players are well aware, DICE began making good on that promise last fall, bringing General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, new clone troopers, and the planet Geonosis to the game. More recently, the Clone Wars updates continued with Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker joining Battlefront II's villain and hero rosters, respectively.
As it turns out, the new mode announced at EA Play not only serves as a natural complement to the last several months of Clone Wars updates and additions, but a climactic celebration on that fan-pleasing path. “So we’ve been in the Clone Wars for quite a while now, and we're really viewing this mode as the culmination of this part of the live service for Battlefront II. It’s also the biggest battle we ever see in the film, and we wanted to see if we can recapture that excitement in our game,” shares Brannvall in a recent interview with StarWars.com.
Officially dubbed “Capital Supremacy,” the large-scale mode will double-down on delivering that Clone Wars fantasy over two unique phases. The first will see two teams of 20, plus 12 AI soldiers on each side, vie for control of five separate command posts spread across Geonosis' sprawling surface; once a team has taken a majority of those posts, they can then progress to the second phase, which tasks them with boarding the opposition's capital ship before trying to take it out by setting timed explosive charges.
Whether siding with the Separatists to bring down the Republic Attack Cruiser or helping the Galactic Republic turn the Dreadnought to dust, this second phase -- according to Lucasfilm games team Senior Producer Orion Kellogg -- plays a significant role in fueling that Clone Wars fantasy. “When you board the ship at the end of each ground map, you have the exciting opportunity to add reinforcements to your cause. The clone troopers are going to be getting out of the LAAT gunship and the droids have cleared space for their HMP gunship to take off and head into the atmosphere, so you’ll see all that. Being able to get into a ship and head up into the atmosphere and board...it's a real nostalgic thrill appropriate for the Clone Wars fantasy.”
While the intense exchanges of blaster fire and clashing lightsabers might keep you from sightseeing during the mode's epic boarding sequence, Kellogg urges fans to take a second to spy the ships' impressive interiors. “We’ve worked with assets from the show [Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series], our creative director, Hez Chorba, and, of course, all of the DICE art team to bring the Venator and Dreadnought interior to life in a way we’re really excited about. We’ve even gotten down to the way we’re painting vehicles to make sure these all come from the same point in the Star Wars timeline. Everywhere you look should feel like an authentic Clone Wars fantasy."
Building on Kellogg's enthusiasm for the mode's presentation, Brannvall promises the core gameplay -- particularly in selling that massive-scale, Clone Wars-era vibe -- will sport the same attention to detail. “We really wanted to make it feel large-scale, epic, and very Star Wars. It’s some of the largest Star Wars experiences we’ve ever built. It’s more spread out and we’ve added AI to both sides. So not only is it a 40-player mode, but we’re actually adding even more playable boots-on-the-ground with AI soldiers joining in.”
The addition of computer-controlled infantry is completely new to Battlefront II, but a key element in supporting Capital Supremacy's immersive scale. “It’s the first time we’re doing it with soldiers running around. We’ve had it before in starfighter modes, and that’s been quite successful for us in not only providing a larger scale experience in the field, but it’s also really fun for players. Even if you get defeated by an enemy player, you might have taken out quite a few AI before you got shut down; so it really empowers the player and makes them feel very heroic,” continues Brannvall.
On top of having extra bad guys to blast, players can look forward to a more free-form, objective-filled experience when they hit Capital Supremacy's battlefront. “It delivers a bit more freedom when it comes to what you want to do, a bit more choice in terms of where you need to go to be effective. If you manage to get a hold of a Republic walker or a Separatist tank, where do you want to go with it? It's not an attack/advance scenario like our Galactic Assault maps, where one team is always playing on the defense. There are more objectives on the screen for you to worry about; there's the command posts you’re fighting over with 40 people, plus AI that are trying to catch you. There's lot of things to defend or run towards in order to take it back, so we'll keep you moving a lot more,” explains Branvall.
The command posts -- which longtime Battlefront fans might remember from the original 2005 game and its sequel's Conquest modes -- play a particularly integral role in defining Capital Supremacy's tactical gameplay, says Kellogg. “The command posts really make the battlefront. They put the battlefront in the player’s hands, so they can look around and get a quick sense of where they need to be. And with all the great heroes, villains, vehicles, and clone troopers at your disposal, you get to be tactical in an instant. The command posts really help make this an empowering mode.”
Of course, while attempting to take these coveted spots, you'll also need to stay a step ahead of the mode's two new reinforcements, the Galactic Republic's dual-wielding ARC troopers and the Separatists' vibrosword-swinging droid commandos. “Those two characters are spicing things up quite a bit because they are reinforcements rather than heroes and villains. We can have many more of them running around at the same time, so you’ll see a lot of those flanking you, and trying to carve you up with their sword or their pistols.”
Upon being reminded how “deadly and fast-moving” the droid commandos are, Kellogg jumps in with some Capitol Supremacy strategies for existing players. “The first thing I’d say is don’t sleep on the boarding sequence. It’s definitely important to prevent the other team from loading up a whole ship, because the more points they gain there, the better chance they’re going to have taking down your capital ship. I’d also say don’t give up. If you’re able to reject an attack on your capital ship, you’re going to have a chance to come back to the ground and get back up to their capital ship. There’s a bit of a tug of war, so even when it seems dark, you’ve got an opportunity to turn it around and win.”
While Kellogg hopes to give seasoned fans a leg up with his advice, he also encourages less skilled players or complete newcomers to join the fight. “You don’t always have to be on top of the leader boards or capturing a command post to have an incredible time in this mode. There are many ways to contribute to your team's success. When you are in the Venator or in the Dreadnought, you’re going to assist your team by taking down the opponent. But on the ground, when you’re boarding the ship, just getting into the ship -- and bringing additional reinforcements with you -- is going to give your team a better chance of survival when they levy their attack.”
Whether you're a longtime Battlefront II fan craving fresh content or a Clone Wars geek getting into the game for the first time, Capitol Supremacy has something for Star Wars enthusiasts of all stripes.
Capital Supremacy is now available as a free update for players who purchased the base Star Wars Battlefront II game.
A full-time freelance writer born in Lizzie Borden's hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.