So, massive Star Wars fan. Battlefront is my favourite series. Everyone's heard it from loads of different Star Wars fans, and even a couple that aren't [just the Battlefront part]. Point is, if you want to make a Star Wars game, give the player control.
Take The Force Unleashed series for example. You play as one person who's a Jedi, going through preset levels with a few puzzles, bosses and powerful foes here and there. Nothing truly ground-breaking, but you have control of a range of Force moves and two lightsabers. You have the fun the first few times, the challenge is good. You complete it, get bored easily from that point on. Why? Hardly any replayability unless you are a completionist.
Again, take the game on all sixth generation consoles [GCN era]. Star Wars Clone Wars focuses on battles during The Clone Wars. We play as a range of characters in a range of levels doing a range of things. It has a great multiplayer mode that entertains, but going back to the main story once you complete it still gives you the challenge you had before, but again is lacking something.
That something is full control. 2004 came along and the first Star Wars Battlefront game comes out. A range of factions, a range of classes including a specials for each faction, a range of vehicles, a range of locations. You can choose anything to do within the games limits. Take the fight on foot or blow up a stack of droids in a tank. Be a hero in the team, be a villain and shoot your own teammates, it affected the outcome of the battle.
Yes, there was a story mode, but it still gave the sense of control by still allowing us to do all we can to wipe the enemy out. And the gameplay wasn't focused on the story mode. Battlefront doesn't need a story mode to be a good game, but we get one anyway. Why is simple to understand.
What comes next however is how the Battlefront series gets remembered and followed. Battlefront 2 is released a year later, giving us more classes, vehicles, locations, and new modes which equals more factions. We also get space battles. It is then we look upon the story mode.
Still giving us the freedom to do what we want, it added missions to the maps, and while we have to complete these missions, we also have to do them quickly to keep our reinforcements up. However, there were some technical glitches within the game, and we could also play as Jedi in the free play mode, including a new mode exclusively for the heroes and villains. This then, is how the Battlefront series goes.
What is sure to be the next Battlefront game should have come out in a year or two, but due to difficulties was stopped and handed to Rebellion, who developed a version of Battlefront only for the PSP in 2007. This version introduced the character creation, which enabled us to use three bodies, three heads, a range of colours and insignias to create a soldier. It also gave us custom weapon loadouts, and also gave us spawning as a leader on the spot.
Then came the faults. The controls weren't the best, and had advantages and disadvantages depending on which of the two control sets you used. Then there was the gameplay of using a lightsaber, which was awful. And so was using a jetpack. You could sprint faster sideways than you could forwards, and sometimes even normal running forward was slow.
Then came the missions, which felt more locked than ever by utilising the custom loadouts to great effect. Or so it started out as. Everyone has their preferred loadout, and because there was a limit - which each weapon and item added a certain amount to – this preferred loadout was often ruined when the mission objective called for something specific.
Two years later came Elite Squadron, which fixed a lot of issues with the other PSP version game, but also brought more along. This one came with three custom loadouts and six presets, again with character customisation. However, instantly a problem.
Almost everything is locked. Following the achievement system from Renegade Squadron, Elite Squadron had nearly all customisation features available as unlockables either with these achievements or from completing missions in the story mode, which again is more locked than freedom. And another problem. It's not just completing the story mode, it's also completing it with all three difficulty modes.
And also, while we might have land to space battles, it did mean we get only two space vehicles, while Renegade had five. The two were the fighter and shuttle. And while we got some special space battles in Renegade with capturable middle bases, in Elite it was just the plain basic two cruisers. Even the importance of destroying the critical systems on the cruisers took second place compared to ridding the shield and blowing the reactor up.
So, with Battlefront 3 making headlines, what should it be like when it finally comes out (if it does)? Should it follow the first one with the freedom of everything including the story mode, or should it take the restrictions of the latest versions? Should it use the customisation options of the later versions, or bring the return of classes? Bringing customisation to the series removed some of the best characters in the game.
Hopefully, when a new studio gets this game, they can decide what makes Battlefront good. But this comes back to the first point. To make a good Star Wars game, you must give a lot of control to the player.