The new era of Star Wars is upon us; director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18th, with the expectation being that its box office returns will be something to marvel at. Factor in the even-closer arrival of the third Star Wars Battlefront, and it’s evident that Star Wars is going to dominate at least the world of entertainment for the last months of 2015.
In past weeks we’ve learned more and more about EA’s upcoming space opera shooter, and the accompanying hype—even around the game’s beta—has been galaxy-sized. We already know the beta will include the Walker Assault on Hoth, a 40-player battle on the ice planet synonymous with “Star Wars land battles,” and EA has teased a Drop Zone mode and other details, without revealing even more about the game's beta.
In a community blog post, Star Wars Battlefront Community Manager Matthew Everett unveiled the latest news on the game's beta. The Survival Mission on Tatooine will be playable on co-op online or splitscreen (couch co-op for next gen consoles, imagine that), and the beta Drop Zone mode teased earlier will take place on the planet Sullust. But best of all, there will be no exclusivity around the beta of any kind: the beta will be open to everyone. The game's beta will be made available sometime in October - next month, at the time of writing this.
In related news, Star Wars Battlefront Lead Heroes designer Jamie Keen confirmed to Playstation Lifestyle that the game will, in fact, use dedicated servers:
We’ll still have dedicated servers. Absolutely. It’s one of the hallmarks of making sure we deliver an unparalled online servers for the game.
At this point the Star Wars Battlefront beta not only seems to offer something for anyone interested in Star Wars or team FPS action in general, but it reads as being especially appetizing for those of us who’ve been holding out for a high-end, couch co-op shooter. The 20-versus-20 Walker Assault on Hoth and the tighter 8-versus-8 Drop Zone on Sullust modes are icing on the cake, in that regard.
A beta that’s wide open to everyone, released so close to the complete game’s launch date (and with so many features), is essentially a free-to-play version designed to tease the full game’s release. It speaks to the confidence of EA that they’re including this much of the game and making it available to all, when it’s conceivable that a widely-downloaded, extensive beta could serve as an advance warning to gamers that all is not right in the galaxy far, far away.
There's a chance that Battlefront won’t live up to the hype, of course, and that the game’s release is perfectly timed to milk gamers’ money before the release of J.J. Abrams’ film. We’ll have to wait and see if the end of 2015 will rightfully belong to this much-beloved property.
Star Wars Battlefront releases for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 17th, 2015.