So far, 2015 is turning out to be a great year for Star Wars fans. The franchise has returned to the small screen with Star Wars Rebels (Darth Vader was featured in the latest episode), Marvel is publishing several comics about several of the main characters (and there's plans for even more), and, of course, J.J. Abram's hugely anticipated Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will open in theaters later this year.
As if all that wasn't enough, 2015 will also see the return of the popular video game franchise Star Wars Battlefront. There have been plenty of Star Wars video games produced since the early 1980s, and 2004's Battlefront left such a strong impression because of its addictive multiplayer. Placing players on opposite teams, this third and first-person shooter made gamers feel like they played an essential part in one of the galaxy's many battles between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance; they could even take control of powerful Jedi and Sith. 2005's follow-up, Battlefront II, added new characters, modes, and space combat.
Now, ten years later, Star Wars Battlefront III adds yet another new and exciting mode: fighter squadron.
Developer Dice's latest gameplay trailer, which can be watched above, was released at the 2015 Gamescom. Clocking in at just over two minutes long, the footage shows just how hectic and fast-paced aerial battles between Rebel and Imperial forces can get. As expected, X-wings and TIE fighters are most commonly seen, but A-wings and TIE interceptors also join the fight. Just like with combat on the ground, players can switch between first and third person modes, and any Star Wars fan is sure to smile while witnessing the dogfight from the view of any of these iconic ships' cockpits.
Since ground battles feature heroes and villains making playable cameos, it's only fair that this mode has that too. Furthermore, in this mode, Han Solo and Chewbacca's Millenium Falcon makes an appearance, as does Jango Fett and Boba Fett's Slave I. The video offers a good look at the Millenium Falcon in action - complete with one of Han's memorable lines - and only provides a quick glimpse of the bounty hunters' signature vehicle.
Fighter squadron in Star Wars Battlefront supports up to 20 players and incorporates A.I.-controlled ships. The mode offers a protect/defend scenario, where one team is tasked with protecting a transport ship while the other team is tasked with destroying the ship. Each side has unique boosts; Imperials receive a speed boost while Rebels can enhance their defenses by activating a shield. Additionally, powerups will be scattered across the maps, usually in low regions that are more challenging to reach. If a player can snag one, they'll offer specials like health regeneration ("ship repairs") or decreased missile cooldown.
Associate Designer Peter Forsman called the mode "extremely exhilarating" and said the music, unforgettable sounds, and gameplay help create an "authentic Star Wars dogfight." Based on the new Battlefront trailer, it certainly does look like this mode will be a blast for fans of the franchise's space battles, since it has managed to duplicate those scenes so well. Everything from the rush of being in the cockpit during one of these battles to the sound effects has been presented surprisingly well, so it's looking like fighter squadron mode will keep fans busy for hours and hours. There's no word yet on how many other ships will be controllable or how many maps will be available, though.
Star Wars: Battlefront III will be available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 17, 2015.
Source: EA Star Wars