XBLA’s Most Wanted: Star Wars Battlefront Arcade
Ah Battlefront, a series that fondly remembered on last generation consoles, and perhaps only slightly less fondly on handhelds. The world was crushed when the oft-rumored Star Wars Battlefront III was revealed to be in development via a leaked trailer only to find out via that same trailer the game had been canceled, canned, dropped. To quote Obi-Wan, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” It’s a fairly safe bet to say that someday we’ll see a Battlefront III, but what are we to do until then? We at XBLAFans submit to you a hybrid title, Star Wars Battlefront Arcade.
What should change:
A sprinkle of HD – Battlefront Arcade wouldn’t need much to stand as a strong XBLA title. Those who’ve played Star Wars Battlefront II on the original Xbox know it was one of the best looking games of that generation. A simple port with 1080p support would suffice with a few minor updates. For instance, while most of the game’s character models look great, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Dooku and Mace Windu just look awful. LucasArts has a deep vault of models they can pull from previous games to replace them, thus cutting production costs.
Battlefront II with all of the original’s features – The second game, technically speaking, is far superior to its predecessor. But fans of the original are quick to point out that characters cannot go prone in the sequel and that the advanced squad commands are gone. Bringing those features back along with all of the original game’s levels would satisfy everyone equally.
Expand replayability – Fans mods have extended the game past its original shelf life on the PC. Mods such as The Dark Times and the Star Wars Battlefront Conversion Pack have added new gameplay dynamics. Fan-based modes such as Order 66, which pits clone troopers against jedi, Holocron, a team-based capture and hold mode, Jedi CTF and others would breathe new life into the game. Combine these modes with all the levels from the first two Battlefronts and you’ve got yourself a 1200MSP game. The promise of DLC would further bring incentive to players to purchase the game.
What should stay the same:
Core gameplay on the original engine – The fact is no XBLA title can be expected to fulfill the dreams of every player. That being said it stands to reason that the original engine should be used, as that’s what players are familiar with. Sure, LucasArts would have to dig it up and purchase the rights from the remains of the now-defunct Pandemic Studios, but the familiarity will bring players back to their beloved franchise.
The Xbox-era visuals – Aside from the aforementioned HD upgrades, the game can easily stand on its own as a fun, decent looking XBLA title. The emphasis with XBLA titles will always be fun over looks. If it’s not fun, nobody cares if it’s pretty. So LucasArts should focus on the amount of content, not the visual quality. More levels at the current visual scale means more replayability, more enjoyment, and frankly cheaper development costs, which means more profit in the end.
Some day players will get the Star Wars Battlefront III they crave so desperately. Until then, Star Wars Battlefront Arcade could provide that bang-for-your-buck enjoyment we have come to love from the series. And for those with tighter wallets, Battlefront Arcade could feed their craving without breaking the bank.