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Star Wars BattleCry Interview: Battlefront Fans Rejoice!

by on04/24/2013
 

Have you been dying to play a new Star Wars Battlefront game? Of course you have, fortunately a small team of 20 people have put forth an effort to create a standalone game called, “Battlecry”, to act as the “what should have been” for Battlefront 3.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Cameron Spencer and his team about this fanfare they are taking part in. It is crazy/awesome to see the passion that leads fans when the developer doesn’t step in to give them what they want. I only wish teams like this were as passionate about Battlefront as I was about Gladius from LucasArts…then we could really make a great game.

Until then though, you will have to settle for the hard work being put forth into Star Wars: Battlecry. It must be awesome to be like, “Man I wish Battlefront had a clan system or more customization”, and then being able to maybe make it a reality.

What exactly is Star Wars: BattleCry?

Star Wars: BattleCry is a free standalone game being developed with the CryEngine 3 SDK. We like to think of it as the ‘spiritual successor’ to Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

We want to incorporate the core gameplay elements of the Battlefront series but fix any shortcomings the original games had. Any features added to the game will be natural progressions fans would expect to find in a new Battlefront game: after all, we don’t want the game to become another generic shooter.

How many are people do you have working on this project? Why did you guys want to take it on?

Our entire team consists of just over 20 people, but our ‘core’ team is made up of roughly half that number (core members are those who have spent a considerable amount of time making progress on the game).

Most members got involved because they wanted a challenging but rewarding experience. One of the great things about our team is that we are constantly bettering ourselves and are eager to learn new things. The amount of support we get from our fans really spurs us on and motivates us to create the best game possible.

The main reason we took this on is because we’re all such big Star Wars fans, desperate to see a new Battlefront game!

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What improvements have been made? Any new features?

The great thing about CryEngine 3 is that it allows us to have amazing graphics, diverse gameplay and advanced physics.

At the moment we are focusing on the main functions of the game, e.g. the Conquest game mode.

Other features we’re testing include space-to-ground levels (bearing in mind that there may be some performance issues), player customizations (i.e. custom weapon load-outs) and possibly even player perks.

Moving onto improvements, we all know that the biggest problems with the Battlefront games were the inconsistent AI and lack of balance.

We aim to fix the balance issues by thoroughly testing the game and ensuring weapons aren’t over powered, certain vehicles aren’t too tough and things like unlocking bonus classes aren’t too easy.

AI is a whole different ball game, but, in the long run, we want to ensure bots use cover effectively, navigate corridors without getting stuck and pilot vehicles properly (anyone remember the space hangar bug where the pilot would crash into the walls?). Either way, we certainly don’t want our bots to be staring at the floor for 5 minutes while a huge war wages on in the background!

Are there any major issues you have come across with getting this made?

Being a non-profit organization, we will have to rely on our fans a lot to help us make this game successful after launch, i.e. by hosting dedicated servers.

Copyright is something many people are concerned about, but having to abide by the laws isn’t too big of a deal. We just have to be careful that we don’t reference character names or force powers in the game.

One thing that could pose a problem is the fact that players have to log in with a CryDev account whenever they want to play the game (this requires an internet connection). Hopefully, we can negotiate with Crytek to try and get the log in screen lifted for the release.

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This seems like something the Star Wars fans have been dying for, do you think you are doing it justice?

At the moment, very much so. We have a dedicated team of people and have made some very good quality assets. We have almost all areas covered by very talented people – sound design, 2D art, textures, 3D modelling, etc. are all coming along nicely.

We are all aware how quickly time goes by, so we need to make sure the team is well organized.

Let’s say you weren’t making it, what sort of things would you expect LucasArts (RIP) to put in a Battlefront game in 2013, and do you think you could offer some of these things that usually take a full-blown studio?

We can offer all the main features the main devs would be able to like up-to-date visuals, balanced classes, more emphasis on teamwork in multiplayer and dynamic gameplay but we won’t be able to accomplish as much (content wise) or release things as quickly as a professional studio could.

Are there any changes in how the game will be set up? 

At the moment, we are focusing on the multiplayer aspect of the game. Once this is solid, we will focus on single player and the ‘Galatic Conquest’ game mode at a later date.

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Will there be more factions than what we found in Battlefront 2, and could they fight each other instead of just Clones versus Droids or Rebels versus Imperials? 

We are currently focusing on getting the Galactic Civil War era finished but will start work on the Clone Era as soon as that is sorted.

We may add other eras that weren’t in the original Battlefront games, but this is only if we have the time and resources to do so.

Will there be more kinds of units, weapons, vehicles and stuff like that?

At the moment, we are focusing most of our attention on the iconic weapons and vehicles.

That said, some of the weapons we are producing aren’t as well known and haven’t been included in the original Battlefront games. These are being added either because they look better than the original weapons or are more suitable for a particular class. For example, we have chosen the proton rifle as the engineers’ primary weapon, mainly because we thought it looked a lot better than the original shotgun.

We haven’t looked at additional vehicles yet, but we will probably take a similar approach. If there’s a vehicle from the original games we think doesn’t fit in well, we’ll consider replacing them.

Will there be new planets and maps?

We have quite a lot of flexibility with which maps we can make (mostly because there are so many maps to choose from!)

Iconic levels such as The Death Star and Hoth are pretty much essential and we can’t really leave them out. At the same time, we also want to have a good range of maps that nobody has experienced before, so the game feels fresh.

Another point worth making is that we won’t necessarily be sticking to original layouts for maps like Hoth (which is being worked on as we speak) – the layout in our version is considerably different to the Battlefront 2 version.

At the end of the day, our aim is to have a wide variety of smaller and more focused maps and huge open maps.

Their minds are in the right place and they are very dedicated to doing right by the Battlefront fans. You can follow and learn more about the project at Moddb, so you can keep an eye on a project that is bound to make the nostalgic excited.

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