Developer: Pandemic Studios
Release Date: Q4 2005
One of the things that surprised me was Star Wars: Battlefront was the best-selling Star Wars game of all time. Given that it's almost a mod of Battlefield 1942, I guess that's not too surprising. Set for release in Q4 this year, Battlefront 2 looks to do all the things a sequel should do: keep what made the original game great and add the requisite new things.
The big addition is space combat. Perhaps now, finally, we can relive what I feel is one of the high-water marks of the Star Wars franchise: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. The space maps are significantly larger than the ground and interior maps to allow for the extra room required to fly around; it was nice to see the capital ships almost dwarfed by the map and it's possible to land in a hanger and seamlessly transition to the land fighting. The space fighting is very arcade-y, so people who are scared of flight sims should be ok here.
Also added is the iconic first battle in Star Wars: A New Hope where the Empire invades Princess Leia's ship the Tantive IV. It's also possible to play as Darth Vader on this map. The new Jedi system works in separate ways for single and multiplayer. For the single player game, you'll be rewarded for accomplishing goals by being able to play Jedi. On multiplayer games, the host of the maps will determine how a player can play a Jedi. There will be one per side, and it can be either turn-based (where players can just take turns playing them); who gets the first 10 kills; or even who was the worst player on the previous game — how's that for a stigma; you are so bad that you have to play a highly-powered Jedi to compete with the regular players.
I was happy to see there's a much improved single-player campaign this go around. The campaign tells the story of the "Fighting 501st" — a squadron introduced in a Timothy Zahn novel and became popularized by a fan-based costume group (if you've ever gone to an event with costumed stormtroopers, the odds are pretty good they're from the 501st). The campaign tells the story of how they became Vader's Fist.
Battlefront will be released on PS2, Xbox, PC and PSP (the PSP version will be very much tailored to the mobile platform, so don't expect the full functionality).