Following a stellar performance at E3 2015, it seemed like Star Wars Battlefront could do no wrong. It looks amazing, it plays amazing — what could possibly go wrong?
Well, it was only a few short months ago that fans were up in arms over the game's apparent lack of content. Most of said misinformation (such as level counts) was corrected, but fans were still tied up over one giant feature: the ability to pilot AT-ATs — the giant, four-legged walkers from the Battle of Hoth.
They'd been a huge part of the series before. Despite their lumbering speed, the AT-AT walkers were a blast to pilot, if only for their massive firepower. It begged the question: if it could be done on the PlayStation 2, why can't players control the walkers in the latest game?
As it turns out, removing the ability to pilot AT-ATs was a conscious (if not controversial) decision: according to EA (via EuroGamer), the "Walker Assault" mode simply wouldn't work if players were given full control.
"[The AT-AT]'s a part of the mode itself, because the AT-AT is the objective of the mode. They have a set path because they're headed to the shield generator.
If you were to control their path — that would be game breaking."
For the uninitiated, Walker Assault recreates the classic scene from The Empire Strikes Back, in which Imperial Walkers assault a Rebel base. In Star Wars Battlefront, the objective changes based on your team: Rebels must repel the Imperial Walkers as Stormtroopers try to escort the massive AT-ATs to their target.
As a result, AT-ATs are far more important to Star Wars Battlefront than any other game in the franchise. While the walkers acted as a mobile respawn point/walking gun platform, taking them down didn't mean much in the long run. Instead of being playable and not having an impact on the match, the AT-ATs now represent a far more important aspect of the map.
Technically, the AT-ATs are playable – players can take control of the walker's forward cannons – but their path is scripted. While it's disappointing that EA has seemingly no intention of changing this, it does at least make sense: by removing the ability to choose the Walker's path, EA can keep the mode focused and fair. Think of it this way: the Rebel pilots would have no way of destroying the AT-ATs if the walkers' pilots decided to march side-by-side.
There are also other concerns, such as idle or griefing players. Again, it's a shame that the AT-ATs won't be playable, but it's a far better solution than playing through a game with an obvious disadvantage.
Still... is it too much to hope for full control in another game type? Team Deathmatch, for instance?
One way or another, the game isn't all that far off — Star Wars Battlefront is set to launch on November 17.