Even Star Wars’ most optimistic followers would seem hard-pressed to say that the reputation of Disney and Lucasfilm’s four-decade-strong science-fiction universe within the video gaming industry hasn’t been tarnished somewhat of late.
No matter how many past wrongs EA righted in crafting their ambitious online FPS follow-up Star Wars: Battlefront II, not least by ditching Season Passes and introducing a single-player campaign, it’s safe to say that their controversial-at-best Loot Crate system fared about as favourably as the Empire’s myriad Death Stars upon its debut.
The show must go on, however, and Disney evidently plans to waste no time whatsoever in directing fans’ attention away from Battlefront II while EA continues to perform damage control on said debacle, focusing instead on their next licensed project set in a galaxy far, far away.
- The project in question? Star Wars: Rivals, a self-proclaimed competitive action shooter which pits both the heroes whom fans love and the villains whom they love to hate against one another on cover-based, semi-destructible PvP battlefields.
- As with most entries in its genre, players progress through Rivals by completing Arena Leagues, collecting both common and rare characters to recruit on their team, utilising each contender’s unique weapons and abilities, and striving to earn Bonuses by teaming up heroes from the Rebellion, Underworld and other factions.
- If our usage of the phrase “common and rare characters” set off any alarm bells in your mind, then it’s not entirely without reason. Disney’s press release does openly admit that Reward Crates will make their not-so-long-awaited comeback in some form here, though with no further details on pricing provided as of yet.
- On the plus side, one aspect of the revived Battlefront franchise which Rivals won’t borrow is its 2015 freshman outing’s refusal to look beyond the Original Trilogy for inspiration. Expect to see settings including Empire’s Bespin, Rogue One’s Scarif and The Force Awakens’ Jakku amongst the shooter’s initial Arena roster.
- As for the scoundrels, Jedi Knights and nerf herders duking it out on these maps, we already know that Han Solo, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn, Captain Phasma, Chewbacca, Admiral “it’s a trap!” Ackbar, Orson Krennic, R2-D2 and (brace yourselves) Salacious Crumb will appear, with more heroes still to be announced.
Will Rivals defy as many expectations as Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi, throwing in legions of Porgs, “yo mama” jokes and outrage-inducing mythology subversions en route?
Time will tell, but so long as Disney can manage expectations as to how their Reward Crate system – the likes of which usually better befit free-to-play mobile games anyway – will operate, then chances are that the Force could still prove strong with this one.
We’re still waiting on Rivals’ official release date for the time being, but those wanting to pre-register on Google Play can do so now right here and scoop themselves some bonus Death Trooper support units fresh from Rogue One in the process.