The beta teased a wide variety of game modes, but only Walker Assault was available. Very early this morning DICE lifted the lid on three other modes: Cargo, Droid Run and Hero Hunt.
DICE's strategy with Battlefront is becoming immediately apparent: keep Star Wars fans engaged through a wide variety of gameplay. With Drop Zone and Walker Assault known to all and sundry, the inclusion of Cargo, Droid Run and Hero Hunt means there are now five modes we have information about.
Let's run through them in order.
It's a twist on Capture the Flag, where two teams of six players try to steal cargo from each other. The trick is that both teams start on 5 points a piece, and you don't need to have your cargo in your base to score a point. If the enemy team gets your cargo back to their base, they'll go a point up to 6-4 — but if you run past with their cargo, the scores level up.
It basically ties into the point we made with our video on Monday: Battlefront is looking more and more like Bad Company 2 with fast-paced, almost frantic, modes. Dennis Brannvall, a lead level designer at DICE, also spoke about how the Millennium Falcon is a central point for the Rebel Depot map on Tatooine, with Braanvall recommending players use the jet pack to gain a positional advantage.
I'm pretty sure nobody needs to be encouraged to use the jet pack to go, well, anywhere, but there you have it. Let's move on.
EA leaked that Hero Hunt was on the way but now we know precisely what it is: a 1v7 King of the Hill-esque mode where the solo player gets the wonderful honour of running around as one of Battlefront's iconic heroes.
"Should you deliver the killing blow on the current Hero or Villain you take their place, spurred on by a short, cinematic sequence as you respawn," DICE wrote.
Brannvall, who contributed tips in posts for all three modes this morning, suggests teaming up with a friend whenever a Hero or Villain is near (Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, you et the picture). In my experience of King of the Hill modes, I'm not sure what will be the more tense standoff: having Vader walk towards you mockingly or seeing which of the 7 players can bait each other out the hardest.
It'll probably serve as a good primer for Walker Assault, since the key to playing heroes is not getting too aggressive and controlling your exposure to blaster fire. Facing off against seven troopers encourages one to divide and conquer.
I wonder if DICE deliberately had that convergence of gameplay in mind when designing new modes. Also, does anyone else find it weird that DICE's official screenshot for a mode where 7 players are supposed to blow Vader and his Force-wielding compatriots away involves Vader getting supported by 7 stormtroopers and 2 AT-ST walkers?
Anyway, let's talk about the third offering.
If you're a fan of big maps and big player counts, then look away because Droid Run's another 6v6 offering. Players get 10 minutes to fight it out over three droids, and you won't have any vehicles, villains and heroes to play with either.
It's a bit similar to Drop Zone and its 8v8 battles, although in Droid Run all three droids are active on the map at all times. One twist is that the droids themselves move around the map and have to be captured "before the capture process can start". Not the most helpful wording from DICE, that.
Droid Run's playable across a wide variety of maps, with DICE specifically mentioning Sullust, Hoth, Endor, Jakku (when it's released in December) and Tatooine. Tatooine, which has only been playable in the survival, Horde-esque mission to date, seems like it would be interesting with its mix of long ranges and vertical diversity.
I'm a filthy sniper, mind you. Anyway, Brannvall adds that there is a Ice Caves variation of Hoth, which sounds like a cross between Battlefield 4's Operation Locker and an expansion of the cave from the Rebel cave in the Walker Assault mode. But maybe I'm entirely wrong on that.
Either way, it's interesting to see that all three modes feature 12 players or less. That means there's only one announced mode using the game's maximum player count of 40. I'm sure DICE will add to that in the coming weeks — it's just over a month until Battlefront launches on November 17 — but it's also another stake in the heart for old-school 1942 and BF2 players who long for lots of vehicles, hardcore servers and 64-player counts.