Yesterday the world got its first glimpse of the desert junkyard of Jakku, a newly revealed planet in the Star Wars galaxy, but the story of how that world came to be littered with fallen starships will be told in a video game just a few weeks before The Force Awakens hits theaters in December.
Star Wars: Battlefront is a title fans have been awaiting for 10 years, ever since the release of 2004’s Battlefront and its 2005 sequel Battlefront II, which placed gamers in the boots of soldiers on both sides of the galactic civil war raging between the Empire and the Rebellion.
The new game doesn’t have a number after it, but it is essentially Part 3 in the series, if you’re counting only console titles and not portable games.
The big news out of the Celebration convention in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday was that the EA/DICE-produced game would finally hit stores in the U.S. on Nov. 17, and would include a free download that will allow them to fight “The Battle of Jakku.”
In the panel discussion leading up to Thursday’s release of the new trailer for The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams confirmed that the desert wasteland we have seen is not Luke Skywalker’s homeworld of Tatooine, but this different arid and inhospitable planet. Daisy Ridley’s scavanger character, Rey, is seen speeding up to a fallen X-Wing fighter with the mountainous remains of a crashed Star Destroyer looming in the distance like a massive tombstone.
Abrams declined to say any more about why Jakku is important to the story, but the Celebration convention is full of little clues for those who seek them. The Battlefront game contains an especially large breadcrumb in this trail.
“You saw the sand planet of Jakku, and you saw the downed Star Destroyer, and you think what happened? Where does this Star Destroyer come from?” Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, a senior producer for EA-DICE, said at the Battlefront panel. “What that means is basically that not so long after the Battle of Endor, on the remote planet on the Outer Rim, the planet of Jakku, there is a battle.”
So, yes, the Empire collapsed with the death of Darth Vader and the Emperor at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi, but the Rebellion still had enemy hotspots to extinguish and one of them took place in the skies above this dusty world.
Game designers had close collaboration with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, as well as some of the filmmakers and producers creating the new series of movies, to craft storylines that fit into the new canon being established. Check out the new trailer below.
Most of the new Battlefront game will take place within the original Star Wars trilogy, with recreations of the conflicts on Tatooine, the forest moon of Endor, the ice planet Hoth, and other locations, alternating between boots on the ground and X-Wing and TIE Fighters soaring through the air.
One other new world explored in the game will be Sullust, a rocky, lava-threaded world occupied by creatures like Nien Nunb, the alien with the fleshy flapjack face (sorry, Nien) who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi.
The planet has never been explored in the films, although in that same movie, Darth Vader informs the Emperor of a rumor the Rebels are gathering their forces near that world. The evil old creep isn’t worried about it.
Most of the playable characters are just different types of soldiers, but iconic characters such as Boba Fett and Darth Vader will also be at the gamer’s control.
Although Battlefront goes on sale Nov. 17, the download for “The Battle of Jakku” will be available Dec. 1 as an incentive to people who pre-ordered the title. Those who buy the game after its release will have to wait until Dec. 8.