Disney has a mastermind plan to induct new generations of Star Wars fans, while maintaining the older die-hard saga lovers. In addition to their TV series for kids, and the highly anticipated December release of the new movies, Disney has released their ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ beta test with Electronic Arts.
After the $4 billion purchase of the Star Wars franchise from Lucasfilm in 2012, Disney has been working around the clock to revamp the series back to its former glory after the disappointing prequel trilogy fiasco. Star Wars: Battlefront’s video game release precedes December 18th’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie premiere, which is expected to shatter all kinds of records in the box office.
The full version of the game is slated to be released in stores on November 17th of this year, just in time for fans to work themselves into a full frenzy right before the big movie premiere. The recently released version of Battlefront was a live internet-based test version that gamers went nuts for.
Star Wars: Battlefront is the most ambitious of Star Wars video games, racking up an estimated $180 million to produce and market. They’re shooting to sell approximately 12 million copies of Battlefront worldwide, which would bring in $720 million in retail sales or $550 million wholesale, if analyst Michael Pachter’s predictions are correct.
“We felt a lot of pressure — good pressure, but pressure — to nail the ‘Star Wars’ gaming experience,” said James Pitaro, co-chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We feel great about where we came out.”
Disney has also recently released a more family-friendly Star Wars video game for Disney Infinity, in addition to the upcoming release of Star Wars: Battlefront for the older gaming crowd. Pitaro has gone to drastic length to reinvigorate Disney’s flagging gaming department and bring in a new source of revenue for the company. This included a near-complete overhaul of staff and overall direction for the department.
Both the critical and public reception of the beta test were overwhelmingly positive. Battlefront leans heavily on the nostalgia from the original Star Wars trilogy, but it’s a nostalgia that hasn’t yet grown stale, even after 30+ years. Players get to run around Hoth, Endor, and Tatooine in a first-person shooter, MMO-style environment. Suiting up and joining the Empire or the Rebel Alliance is just a fun, grown-up version of the pretending games you’d play in the backyard as kids, wielding sticks as lightsabers.
“This will be the first time that the collective ‘Star Wars’ fanbase is going to have the ability to live out the Star Wars fantasy in a truly immersive way,” said Electronic Arts chief, Mr. Wilson.
There’s no denying that Battlefront is the perfect blend of nostalgia, fun, and beautiful graphics and vibrant Star Wars scenery. But there are a few kinks in the game that have earned some grumblings from players of the beta.
You don’t get to engage in any kind of space combat. Who doesn’t want to play a mission where you zip around asteroids in an X-wing or TIE fighter, right? Nor is there a single-player mode or way to play with a party of your choosing. You also can’t customize your character class, weapons, or much of anything, really.
You’re just sort of thrown into a jumble with other Battlefront beta players, and you never know what you’re going to get or who you’ll be aligned with until the game starts. It’s chaos. Enjoyable chaos- but nevertheless.
Another common complaint that beta players had was the uneven weighting of the opposition. The Rebels almost always got steamrolled by the Empire. And while it makes sense in the out-gunned, out-manned, underdog cinematic storyline of Star Wars; it makes for discouraging gameplay if one team has the odds so heavily stacked against them.
While the live beta experience the occasional (and expected) glitch or freezing up, it ran surprisingly smoothly for hosting as many excited players as it did. But the random design of the player levels contributed to the feeling of chaos.
Power-ups are scattered randomly throughout the terrain, allowing players to access better weapons, special gear like jetpacks, or operate fun vehicles. There are even power-ups that let the lucky player who stumbles across them become Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker for as long as they survive, which isn’t very long, most of the time.
Otherwise, there was no true way to customize the game, at least in the beta version. It’s all based on luck and random computer-generated assignment. Which can be fun in a haphazard way, but disappoints most players wanting a bit more control over their Star Wars gaming experience.
In comparison to other shooter games, Star Wars: Battlefront is massively simplified. But that was just the beta. Who knows what the full version of the game will allow players to experience. We’ll have to wait until November 17th to find out!