With the exciting launch of Capital Supremacy behind us, and more locations to the mode confirmed for the future, the Design Director on Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II’s new mode, Manuel Llanes, shared some of the inner workings of this Clone Wars-era authentic battle experience. We asked him what’s the experience that we’ve designed towards? How does the implementation of AI troops make for a more accessible mode? How are we planning on updating the mode? And more!
To top it up, Manuel offers some insight into how, and why, the ruleset of the popular Heroes vs. Villains mode is changing with the next game update in May. Also, don’t forget to check out the roadmap to get a good overview of future content coming to Star Wars Battlefront II.
How Player Agency is Enhanced with Capital Supremacy
Starting a round of Capital Supremacy, players enter a large-scale, non-linear ground battle to capture command posts. Talking about the player needs specifically designed towards in the Ground Phase, Manuel begins by saying, “It’s really simple: we want players to have more agency. We want them to feel like they can come up with meaningful actions and co-author their own stories.”
“The bigger that possibility space is, the more interesting we think the experience will be. In Capital Supremacy, you’re allowed to take a second to assess the situation, make up a plan, and then execute on that plan. Which goes beyond always taking on one, single objective. Galactic Assault has its own merits, but we felt like it was about time to explore this approach.”
The player freedom takes form in how different playstyles are encouraged. “Maybe you want to play in a slightly lower tempo – well, then you can stick around and defend a command post. Or, you can be the aggressive, cunning player who works with your squad to go behind enemy lines.”
With different trooper classes, reinforcements (including the new BX Commando Droid and ARC Trooper), vehicles, and hero characters, the ways to go about the battle are many and varied. Another initiative to broaden the experience, and accompany for different types of players, is the implementation of AI.
“The AI represent the grunt troops which you can fight in the Ground Phase. The main goal is to give all players something to do and achieve that’s a little more accessible, without taking anything away from the more competitive human vs. human confrontations.”
“The AI we use in Capital Supremacy is a different tech than the one we use in the offline Arcade modes. We needed something that was technically on server and very performant. In this way we can have 64 players, with some being AI, conveying a sense of scale.”
Co-Author Your Own Version of the Clone Wars
Then, in the Invasion Phase, the AI is left fighting on the ground while the human attackers board the transport shuttles to strike the heart of the dragon – the enemy capital ship.
“The Invasion Phase is closer to Galactic Assault in the sense that it’s a streamlined sequence. Although you still have the choice to concentrate your efforts on one single task or coordinate with the team to split your forces between the two objectives. It’s a more hectic phase for sure, and it becomes even wilder when there’s only one objective left to destroy,” Manuel says.
“We think of the Invasion Phase as a counterweight to the more open-ended Ground Phase. Here, you get a shot at finishing the fight. What’s interesting here is that you’re not required to board and destroy the enemy capital ship in one whoop. That is, in fact, tough to achieve. So, if the defenders push you back, the fight on the ground starts over.”
The dynamic back-and-forth between the two phases is one of the aspects making Capital Supremacy unique, and something that’s aimed to capture the scale of some of the largest Star Wars™ conflicts there are.
“Our goal in the end is to let you live out your own version of the Clone Wars, of a large-scale battle with this epic finale that you co-write with your friends and adversaries.”
More Locations are Coming to Capital Supremacy
Capital Supremacy was launched in March with a new location on Geonosis, Pipeline Junction West, and we’re adding more Clone Wars-era locations in the coming months that players will recognize from Galactic Assault – starting with Kashyyyk’s Kachirho Beach on April 24. As one might (or might not) expect, it’s far from a copy-paste job when bringing one map from one mode to another.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done when we start upping the number of characters on screen. In this case from 40 to 64. In general, we’re already pushing the performance and memory on the maps in Galactic Assault. Plus, now, we need to fit two capital ships in there as well!” Manuel explains.
“We change the way the maps play, and that can become a bigger or a smaller task. Certainly, it’s about moving props and assets and re-designing parts of the map, so they fit for the non-linear nature of the mode,” Manuel says.
“But we also need to accommodate for all the areas that you normally wouldn’t be, or would be prevented from, visiting. There are maps that have been potentially underused. Kashyyyk is an example, with areas you normally wouldn’t explore when playing Galactic Assault. Now, we can explore these areas, which also means they need to be better dressed.”
While Capital Supremacy will improve with more locations and content over time, there are also on-the-fly tweaks that the team can do server-side to enhance the experience.
“For instance, we can tweak the number of reinforcements you need – or how fast you gain them – in the Ground Phase to get a shot at invading the enemy capital ship. We can tweak the time it takes to override the capital ships’ doors, or the time it takes for the sabotage to be completed. There are a bunch of levers that we can pull to gain more balance, or to host special events and that kind of stuff,” Manuel says.
Heroes vs. Villains is Changing
One of the most popular modes in Star Wars Battlefront II is Heroes vs. Villains. And now, its core mechanics are being reworked. Manuel explains to us what’s changing and why, saying, “We’re changing it to be more similar to how Blast works by removing the target system. Reason being that we’ve listened to the community, and honestly, because we haven’t been fully satisfied with how Heroes vs. Villains currently works.”
Now, every eliminated enemy will add to your side’s success, effectively making every encounter count.
“We’re in service, and we believe that it’s a more fun and simpler to understand mode this way. Nothing prevents us from modifying it later if there’s an interest, but it feels good to go back to basics.”
The changes to Heroes vs. Villains are coming next month, in May. We’re eager to share even more on our plans for Star Wars Battlefront II in the coming months – make sure to watch this space to not miss out on any of it.
–Daniel Steinholtz (Follow Daniel on Twitter @dsteinholtz)
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