The Star Wars Battlefront series continues this fall with the upcoming release of the new hand-held title for the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. As they had done with Republic Heroes, LucasArts was nice enough to participate another TFN Q&A which you can check out below. More information about the game can be found at the game's official LucasArts site as well as through the related links below. (Click on any images for full views!)
What can you tell us about the story of the game? What is the time period, upon what locations do the battles take place, and who might we expect to pop up?
The story kicks off during the Clone Wars where we meet the main characters, X1 and X2, who are Elite clone troopers that help to train the Clone Army. The story follows X1 and his struggle between his brother (X2) and what he knows is right. The player will be able to battle on and above familiar locations such as Tatooine, Endor, Death Star and some not so familiar such as Dantooine, Cato Nemodia, and Vjun (Darth Vader’s secret fortress). You will also see tons of familiar faces from the Star Wars films, and even some characters you’ve met in other LucasArts titles. The campaign takes you through the entire star was saga and beyond, including content beyond episode six.
Much has been made of the new ability to go from the ground to space and back again, all within the same battle. What brought about the change (as opposed to separate space and land battles) and can you give us an example of how such an ability plays out in a story mission?
The ability to play on the different layers of the battlefield is one of the key features for both the DS and PSP. It was the natural progression of features from the previous battlefront games. BF1 allowed you to fight the classic Star Wars battles. BF 2 added space combat and Jedi. BF Renegade Squadron added player customization. With Elite squadron we decided to bring all of the previous features together and truly bring the epic movie experience to the handheld’s. The best example is Hoth. In the Empire Strikes Back you see the Ion Cannon disable the Star Destroyer. In the PSP you can play that very same experience by manning an Ion Cannon yourself and disabling the enemy’s ships shields. Thus allowing you and your side to board the enemy capital ship and try and take out the engine core for a huge points bonus! This is the classic Star Wars epic experience that people want to be apart of.
Can we expect to see any new weapons and vehicles/spacecrafts?
The 2 biggest and baddest weapons that Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron has to offer are the Ion Cannon and Orbital Strike weapons.
The Ion Cannon is a massive pulse weapon which has the ability of disabling enemy capital ship shields. Once this weapon is fired, the focus of the battle changes from the ground to the battle to hold that cap ship.
The Orbital Strike Cannon on the other hand is another wild card. Firing this weapon can neutralize enemy held areas as well as destroying the Ion Cannon itself.
We’ve also thrown a force pike into the mix for fast melee ground combat.
As far as vehicles go, expect the iconic. We’ve got everything from the Millennium Falcon, the TIE Advanced, Arc Fighters, Droid Fighters, to of course the classic X-Wing. You’ll be able to take all of these vehicles from the ground, to the air, into space, and back again in these epic arenas.
Being a personal fan of the Star Wars Battlefront franchise, I have always enjoyed the story missions. On the other hand, Galactic Conquest is what kept me playing the games over and over again. Is Galactic Conquest still a part of the game and if so, how has it been modified? Are there new worlds? Are there new classes of troopers? Are there new enhancements to be purchased? Also, how has the ability to go from land to space and back altered the way battles/worlds are won or lost?
Galactic Conquest got a face lift from Renegade Squadron. We updated the interface and added some scenarios that the user can chose to play or select free play. We also made some changes to the upgrades for Galactic conquest, all of which will keep our fans playing for many many hours! I almost forgot… single PSP hot seat mode for Galactic Conquest! What this means is that two people can play a turn based game with one PSP. How is this done? From the Galactic Conquest map the players purchase and move as normal but the actual battles are determined by the computer based on the number of troops and upgrades the two armies have. The most powerful wins! Fans of Galactic Conquest will love what we have done here!
Fun as it is to land your spacecraft inside one of the large capital ships, in the past the interiors were rather basic. (not a complaint but simply an observation) Have the interiors been expanded in this edition?
Yes, the interiors have been expanded and improved in order to support all out head to head combat! A lot of work went into delivering the experience of assaulting a ship interior as well as repelling a boarding attempt.
Is online play incorporated as it was with Renegade Squadron and has it been adjusted at all?
Yes online is back on the PSP with a vengeance! For infrastructure mode players can transition between the layers of the battlefront as they see fit. For Ad hoc the players battle it out on one layer and then transition to the next layer. The DS has 4 player Ad hoc games as well including Heroes verses Villains!
Have the controls been adjusted since Renegade Squadron or have they seemed relatively the same?
We have made some improvements to the controls as well as the interface to make navigation more accessible. We also have the original BF 2 control setting as an option.
The Battlefront series has been quite popular which gives me hopes that we will be seeing new additions to the series for years to come. That being said, is it out of the realm of possibility that future versions of Star Wars Battlefront could tie-in with the ongoing animated Clone Wars series or other future Star Wars TV projects?
Who knows, anything is possible. Right now, though, we’re just focused on making Elite Squadron the biggest and best Battlefront game we can.
Last but not least, (and in the “Had to Try” category) the last 2 editions of Star Wars Battlefront have been exclusive to handheld platforms. Do you think handhelds will be the preferred future medium for the Battlefront franchise or can we hope to see a console version again sometime in the future?
The Battlefront team is very proud of the work we have done. It was no small feat getting so much game into both platforms! Both Elite Squadron developers Rebellion (PSP) and nSpace (DS) pulled out all the stops to make sure they delivered a game that would move the Battlefront experience forward. This would not have been possible without one fundamental thing that we share with the fans. We love Star Wars! Enjoy the games!
Thanks again to Chris Cook and the folks at LucasArts for their time as we eagerly await the October release of Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron on handheld platforms. Stay tuned to TFN for any new information that pops up between now and then!
Image info: Besides the promo art and logo at the top of the post, and working from top to bottom, the first 5 screenshots are from the PSP version while the last 5 screenshots are from the DS. Make sure to click on images for full views.