Three Stories From Star Wars Battlefront

I love Star Wars Battlefront I and II. I should qualify that; by SWBI and SWBII I mean the original games, created by Pandemic Studios in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

They were my introduction to large-scale warfare games and the fact it was also Star Wars themed was a bonus (and so many prequel levels!). What made it even better was the splitscreen capabilities, allowing for endless co-op and counter-op matches with friends and siblings. I loved the series so much that I rebought both games for the original Xbox, as they were backwards compatible with the 360.

I didn’t play the original Battlefront when I was younger, skipping straight to Battlefront II. I had wanted to see the difference between the two games (as well as the “new” maps) so picked up a copy. As soon as I booted up the game, it instantly came back to me; that rush at the start of a map, trying to score a tactical position, aggressively pushing for the vacant capture points or maybe taking to the skies to knock out support vehicles. No other game I’ve played feels just like it.

Each level and each match has its own stories, the little differences that you talk with friends about. And after having so much fun going back to SWBI, I thought I would share three recent stories of my time playing. These stories are all from a co-op perspective with my friend, Alex, being the other player.

I hope you enjoy reading this little experiment in content. I’ve been wanting to stretch my creative writing muscles since graduating from university and this seemed like an excellent opportunity to do so. The three stories are below, just click on either name or the accompanying picture to read the story.

Rhen var

naboo__plains_1234_0

Bespin

 

 

 

Banner Photo Source: polygon.com.

“The Rebel Hare” Photo Source: battlefront.wikia.com

“Ride of The Kaadus” Photo Source: gamemaps.com

“Knight (Of The Galactic Empire’s) Skies” Photo Source: youtube.com (Channel: repinscourge)

“Knight (Of The Galactic Empire’s) Skies” – A Star Wars Story

Bespin Platforms

Local Time – 1100 hrs.

Team – Rebel Alliance

***

Alex and I spawn in late, with only one X-Wing left for the taking.

“Mine!” we both shout as we race towards the cockpit. I reach the ship a millisecond before Alex and engage the engine, taking to the skies as he fires angry blaster shots towards the craft.

“Even all the Y-Wings are taken!” he moans over the commlink.

“You could always take the center command post,” I suggest. I look towards my wrist-mounted computer and tap the screen, bringing up the map, just to see the previously white icon turn green. “Ah, scratch that, we’ve already taken it.”

“I’m hopping in an Ion Cannon,” Alex says, “Maybe I’ll shoot you out of the sky!”

I’m about the reply when I hear the unmistakable SKREEE! of a TIE Fighter’s engines. I swing around the X-Wing and realise that the sky is full of Imperial ships. I pass a Rebel platform and look on, pained, as a X-Wing tries to take to the skies but is immediately blown apart by a TIE bombing run.

I pull the joystick as far back as possible and put the thrusters on full, flying high into the atmosphere. As I reach the edge of the combat area, I dampen the engines and pull the ship around. I can now see the entire map below me, locking on to the closest TIE Fighter and fire three shots, hitting the craft right in the cockpit, blowing the ship apart.

I continue to descend at a snail’s pace, firing shots and missiles at any TIE craft that comes close. As I enter the high orbit of the platforms, I see a fellow X-Wing get blown apart by an enemy Ion Cannon, which promptly sets its sights on me. I try to swing around, but the cannon hits me square in the body, cutting my fighter’s health in half.

I can’t wait for the cannon to cool down; I’ve got to destroy it before it has a chance for another shot. I push the thrusters forward, flying straight at the cannon before reversing them completely and firing a missile. It was a tactic of “pressing”, getting as close to an enemy as I could get, so that there is a 99.9% chance of a hit. The missile streaks forward and hits the cannon at the base, completely destroying the machine.

I turn the X-Wing around and fly high again, but my computer starts to beep.

“Missile Lock, Missile Lock”.

A missile strikes me in the back, cutting my health down even further. I engage the thrusters to get away from my attacker, but they’ve seen I have low health and come in for the easy kill. I’m trying to do a quick repair and regenerate my ship’s health, but the TIE Fighter who hit me keeps firing blaster shots, and each third one hits my craft, diminishing any work I do.

“Alex, can I get some help?” I ask.

“What can I do? I’m just sitting here waiting for a craft to spawn in. I’d take a Cloud Car if I had to.” Alex replies.

‘You can have my X-Wing, if I don’t crash it.”

“Fine, where are you coming from?”

“South-west, coming straight for you.”

Alex turns the cannon and see me, full thrusters, flying straight at him.

“Watch your descent, you’re coming in too fast!”

“That’s the point, when I cut the engines, shoot.”

I fly closer and closer to the cannon, counting down the distance.

Hundred metres.

Fifty metres.

Twenty Metres.

Ten.

Five.

Two.

I cut the engine fully, dropping the X-Wing vertically, lining up the pursuing TIE Fighter with Alex’s cannon.

“Fire!” I shout.

From my cockpit view I see the TIE Fighter pilot finally realise what is going on. The pilot tries to veer to the side, out of the range of the cannon. But Alex’s shot rings straight and true, hitting the craft in the front of the cockpit, splitting the craft in two.

I clamber out of the cockpit and head up to the platform.

“Nice shot,” I say, “The X-Wing is yours.” We both look at the craft, balanced awkwardly off the edge of the landing platform.

“You could of landed it a bit better,” Alex says, climbing in, “but I’ll take it.” He boots up the machine, putting the engines on their lowest setting and slowly turning it so that it drops off the platform and engages flight.

“Hey, this X-Wing is nearly dead!” he shouts.

I laugh.

“I said I’d bring an X-Wing Alex, not a brand new one!”

“Knight (Of The Galactic Empire’s) Skies” Photo Source: youtube.com (Channel: repinscourge)

“Ride Of The Kaadus” – A Star Wars Story

Naboo Plains

Local Time – 2031 hrs

Team – Republic

***

“We need to get the center command post,” I say to Alex. “The CIS charge at the start of the battle. If we wait, the AATs and Droidekas will claim the position and cut us down in droves. I say we ride in on Kaadus and get the drop on them. They are fastest mounts we have.”

Alex nods.

“Good plan. Lets go with it.”

A flash of blinding white light washes over my eyes and the next moment I’m on the green rolling hills of the Naboo countryside. I start to run towards the Kaadus, seizing one and hoisting myself into the saddle. I turn back to see Alex running away from the battle.

“Where are you going?!!” I call out to him.

“Get moving. I’ll be there in a second.”

I turn around and whip my Kaadu. I’ve lost precious seconds figuring out why Alex is deviating from the plan. I can see the AATs already moving towards the center command post. The light Kaadu is twice as fast as the slow-moving AAT and within a few seconds I’m at the center, but the rolling Droidekas have already beaten me to the post. I leap off the Kaadu, landing behind one of the fallen structures, as a hail of gunfire flies towards me,

“Alex, where the hell are you?!!” I shout into my comm link.

“Right here,” he replies, as a Jedi Starfighter streaks overhead, laying down pinpoint fire onto the Droidekas, obliterating them in seconds. I watch him engage his thrusters for a second, flying high into the air, before spinning round and firing homing rockets into the incoming AAT, disabling it.

I whoop in celebration, watching in awe as he lays down more covering fire, destroying all incoming enemies before I can even draw a bead on them. Suddenly, an enemy rocket flies across the sky, hitting the starfighter in the back; the weakest point.

With my heart in my mouth I watch as high above, Alex ejects. He’s planned for this moment; instead of the Engineer class that can repair the fighter while piloting it, Alex has chosen a Jet Trooper. As he throws himself out of the cockpit, he engages his shoulder-mounted jet boosters, gently gliding himself down and landing with a gentle thud a few feet from me.

“Quite an entrance!” I say, as we crash forearms together in celebration. A Gungan rushes in on his own Kaadu, dismounting to help take the center command post, giving Alex a Kaadu to commandeer.

I clamber aboard my own mount that has been patiently awaiting my return and I call a general round up of all available troops to follow us. Alex and I whip our Kaadus and race off across the green pastures, as a stream of Clone troopers and mighty Gungans follow in our wake.

Ten seconds later we disembark at the final CIS command post, on an outcrop overlooking the entire battlefield. But we’ve misjudged the timing. The Kaadus have deposited us far ahead of the pack, and we are heavily outnumbered.

“Spin!” we both shout at each other, a tactic born out several hours spent playing co-op Timesplitters 2 Siberian zombie horde mode. We face opposite sides and start to spin counterclockwise, firing at the closest enemies to us.

We spin three or four times, taking down nearly every enemy with lock on to. I draw a bead on an incoming Engineer droid and fire off the last few rounds from my blaster rifle. The shots flying wide of their intended target. Damn! I had forgotten that continual fire makes the blaster rifle overheat and lose accuracy, and I’m about to pay for my mistake.

“Roll!” I shout to Alex as I switch to my sidearm and drop to prone. Alex doesn’t think about the command, rolling to the side and continuing to shoot down enemies facing him. The droid fires a cluster over my head, right where Alex had just been standing. I fire one shot into the droid’s chest plate before twitching a centimeter up and fire another shot. I miss by a hair and now am in range to be obliterated.

A blue bolt of energy flies over my prone form and hits the droid squarely between the photoreceptors, bursting the metal hunk into flames. I push myself up onto my knees and Alex grabs my arm, hoisting me onto my feet.

“That’s twice I’ve saved your skin today!” he says with a devilish smile, as the rest of the Clone/Gungan battalion finally reaches the peak of the hill. We secure the hill in a record time and the twenty-second victory counter starts to tick down.

“Same again?” Alex asks.

“Always,” I reply.

With two seconds to go until the round ends, we throw grenades ahead of us, before rolling towards them. The explosion goes off at zero, giving us our victory poses; a squashed character model, twisted like a pretzel, a millimeter from being vaporized by fire.

“Ride of The Kaadus” Photo Source: gamemaps.com

“The Rebel Hare” – A Star Wars Story

Rhen Var Harbour

Local Time – 0500 hrs.

Team – Rebel Alliance

***

The ice beneath me is cold and hard, not at all like the training simulations. I’m prone, trying to make my body as flat as possible, cradling my sniper rifle, looking out over the frozen harbour of Rhen Var.

As I perform last minute checks, my radio comm crackles into life. I shift my weight onto one side and hit the transmit button.

“Hey Alex, you nearly set?”

“Yep, just linking up with a few other fighters and we’ll be entering the caves. Whereabouts are you?”

“On the ice lake, ready to catch a few skinnies accompanying the AT-AT. Once I’m done I’ll make a dash and meet you on the other side.”

“Okay, good luck. Out.”

I switch off the comm link before pressing my shoulder against the butt stock of my rifle and looking through the optics. There is no movement in front of me. I hear a rumble from the heavens as heavy fog starts to develop and roll towards me. It always happens in the early morning, it gives the Empire an edge. Not to worry though.

I zoom in a bit further and immediately a silhouette pops out, darker than the surrounding vapor. I nudge the rifle a little higher to compensate for drop off before squeezing the trigger. It takes around a second for the light beam to travel across the whole ice lake and hit the grunt squarely in the temple, taking him down.

I start to swivel my rifle from side to side, picking out darkened outlines here and there, each one being brought down by at most two shots. I want to try and get as many at this range, before I am in any mortal danger. I move away from the optics to reload and out of the corner of my eye I start to see the first waves of soldiers break out of the mist and into the daylight.

Their all white uniforms make them easily identifiable against the grey background they emerge from. I pick off a few of the forward troops, before scanning for the big hitters; jet pack troopers and rocketeers.

I set my scope on a lovely Dark Trooper, but a giant metal boot obscures my line of sight. I back out of aiming to see what it is.

The AT-AT? Already? How did it sneak up this far without me realising? I’m a sitting duck if I stay here. I jump to my feet, grabbing my rifle and slinging it over my shoulder, before dashing across the harbor towards the walker. The AT-AT has a powerful set of cannons on its front side, but can’t aim straight down. If I get close enough, it won’t be able to focus its weapons on me, making it useless in terms of combat.

As I pelt across the ice and snow, I draw my pistol. Even though I’ve thinned the ranks, the majority of the Empire’s forces are charging across the bay. I serpentine towards the legs of AT-AT, rolling behind one to dodge incoming fire. I peek out and fire off a few non-committal shots, keeping any nearby soldier at arms length. I need to keep moving; staying under the AT-AT isn’t the safest option, even less with Snowtroopers surrounding me.

I roll away from the AT-AT’s back legs and sprint away. The Snowtroopers fire a few shots my way, but I am soon out of range, and they turn back towards the main battle. I make my way up a small snowy mound, switching back to my long-range rifle and do a quick scan of the horizon. There are only a few stragglers entering the party late. I quickly dispatch them, leaving the coast clear.

I throw my sniper onto my back and draw my pistol again, before setting off towards the Imperial command post. As I get close, I see the faint red glow of the capture point, reflected on the cold-grey stone walls of a bombed-out ruin that the Empire have commandeered as their forward base.

I switch from a slight jog to walking; taking pot shots at any late-coming Snowtroopers that gets close. My radio beeps again.

“Alex, how is it going?”

“We’re a bit stuck mate. They’ve got a turret on the entrance to the ice caverns; any time we try and push it cuts us in half. You got a sight on them?”

I stop, equip my rifle and look through the sight. The enemy is easy to spot; they are sat in a revolving turret atop the ruin, firing round after round at the small opening that leads to the caverns.

“Yep, I see ’em, top deck.”

I kneel for support, before tapping the trigger, hitting the Snowtrooper’s exposed head and silencing the turret fire.

“They are down, go!”

I rush forward, catching up with Alex as he exits the caves. We stop just before the stairs leading up to the ruin.

“Any news on the rest of the battle?” I ask. Alex gives me a grimace.

“That AT-AT is destroying all of our carriers. We need to get back pronto.”

I tap the screen on my wrist-bound computer, bringing up the map. I see the AT-AT; it is almost at the entrance to the marina, destroying every speeder that manages to spawn in.

I sigh in exasperation.

“Bloody amateurs,” Alex says. “Let’s capture this post and get back!”

I turn the map off, and check my weapons.

“Well, you’ve got the rapid-fire blaster Alex, after you!”

“The Rebel Hare” Photo Source: battlefront.wikia.com

5 Star Wars Spin-Off Films I Want To See

When I first saw Rogue One, I was put out by the meandering script and the vacant characters, but upon reflection I’ve come to enjoy it more and more (even more than The Force Awakens which in my opinion is not a great film). And with Rogue One, it showed that Lucasfilm and by extension Disney can make a good spinoff film set in the Star Wars Universe. They’ve already started work on a Han Solo film and a Boba Fett movie was in the works before being stuck in development limbo, it’ll be interesting to see where the Star Wars series will go. Well, I thought up a couple of ideas and treatments of films just to get the ball rolling. These are just some themes and settings that I wouldn’t mind see in the Star Wars universe.

  1. A Wookie Film

After the Battle Of Kashyyyk (seen in Ep.III), we see the Clones turn on the Wookies, with some fighting back but the majority being slaughtered. This would be an excellent, tense setting for a film. The main inspiration would be 2008s Defiance; Wookies hiding out in the forests, taking out one or two patrols and generally trying to survive on a planet that has been conquered by the Empire. This would also be a place for Lucasfilm to go darker if they wanted to, with prison camps full of Wookies after they are rounded up by the Clones. To tie in with the series, Chewbacca could be a character in the film, and Peter Mayhew could play an older Wookie tribe leader. My pick would be to get some of the guys from the Planet Of The Apes series to help out; I’m sure Toby Kebbel is free after they killed him off in Dawn and Warcraft, and to be a Wookie you’ll need a physical actor rather than a thespian. This film might need subtitles (not such a big deal, Apes did that), or if Disney are brave they could omit all dialogue and make it an almost silent film (if it worked for WALL-E it can work for Star Wars).

defiance
Defiance was fine, now imagine it starring seven-foot tall walking carpets. Yeah, doesn’t that sound good?

2. A Podracing Film

Many criticisms have been hurled at The Phantom Menace (a lot of them unfairly in my opinion), but it’s generally accepted that the podracing sequence is one of the highlights. So, make a film on that. For inspiration, let’s look at something like Rush or Real Steel. We need a single character to focus on, but since it’s a tournament we can have a whole host of colourful and creative characters. In the deleted scenes for Ep.I we get an extended scene of listing all the racers for the Boonta Eve, some of these characters could come back in one way or another. Newer characters, especially alien characters, would be a place for the make-up, costume and special effects department to deliver some superb designs and additions to the canon. Tatooine has already been used for a race, so this is an great time to open up some new planets. Qui-Gon mentioned in Ep.I that they race on Malasatare, a planet made up of methane lakes and geysers. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like an excellent place for a set-piece; a racer crashes on the lake and now it’s just a wall of flames that they have to race through? And while I love Sebulba, I think his presence would feel a little token. Instead, this might be a good time to flesh out the underground world, with references to smugglers and pirates that could feature in other spin-offs, say the start of a smuggler’s career with The Hutts?

podracing
So much character and world-building, without an ounce of exposition.

3. A Costume/Political Drama

Now hear me out. I know a lot of people didn’t like the “political” parts of Star Wars; taxation routes and committee meetings, I can see why that can get boring. But I believe with the right care and approach, Disney can pull off political intrigue in the Star Wars Universe. As a blueprint, I would say something like A Royal Affair, Prince of Egypt or Anonymous. As seen on Naboo in Ep.I-II, some planets are ruled over by monarchies, and as the Renaissance (and William Shakespeare) showed us time and time again, the Royal Court was full of backstabbing moves worthy of Game Of Thrones Season Finale. This is where you set the stage, a monarchy that is not fully endorsed or accepted. A small conspiracy grows, not content with those in power. Possibly some Imperial influence is felt within the Royal Family (this would be a place for a Director Krennic-type character). Or it could be some Jedi on the run, looking for a safe haven where the Empire’s reach isn’t strong. And do you know who resides in Royal Courts? Assassins. Assassination attempts would give the action fans their laser beams and light-guns. Possibly a certain bounty hunter might turn up. Or a member of the Royal Family of Alderaan if you really wanted. For those still not convinced, look at Anthropoid for reference for how to make assassination sequences thrilling. And then when there is running battle in the Palace gardens and courtyards, with the place falling apart, maybe we could have some influences of 2015s Macbeth in there?

amidala.png
If anything, it’ll surely get a Best Costume/Make Up Oscar nomination.

4. A Jedi Film (in the guise of a martial arts film)

I know this one is a no-brainer and I know that there are rumours circulating about an Obi-Wan film in the works, but  I want to talk about what should appear rather than story. I know some members of the fandom felt the acrobatics of the prequel trilogy were bad (I wholeheartedly agree Ep.III was over-choreographed), but I think we can all say watching Donnie Yen in Rogue One was absolutely incredible. My idea would be to play up that angle. Jedi are meant to be peacekeepers, but they are ready to get out their lightsaber when things look bad. Just for me, I would invest in someone like Donnie Yen, Jeff Imada or Yuen Woo-Ping to choreograph the fight scenes. If the Jedi were this badass group of samurai-like people, they would know how to fight with their preferred weapon, and some would obviously become much more acrobatic with their fighting styles. Just look at any martial art; most use a combination of punches, kicks and grapples, but some like to do flips and rolls at the same time. Fighting with a lightsaber is no different. Get a stick-based art like Kali or Kendo and use it as a basis for the fights. Also, as Darth Maul showed that we can have a double-ended lightsaber and Kylo Ren gave us a Claymore lightsaber, maybe it’s time to update the Jedi’s weapons. Maybe some tonfas? Or a spear-saber? Those could give a new level of dazzle to a fight scene. Imagine the fights scenes in Hero but with lightsabers…

crossgaurd
Whatever the drawbacks are over practicality, the crossgaurd was one of the defining moments of the first film.

5. A Bounty Hunter Film

I know I already mentioned a Boba Fett film, but I really don’t see how that could be interesting. He’s a shell of a character, I think he only says three lines in the original trilogy. I would propose new characters, and for inspiration I propose Star Wars 1313. For anyone who doesn’t know, 1313 was a game in development by LucasArts, set between Ep.III and IV, and set on the 1313th level down in the depths of Coruscant. It was sadly cancelled by Disney during the acquisition, which is a real shame because it looked like it would have taken the Star Wars property in a new direction. If they do take the 1313 angle, Disney could have some impressive visuals with Blade Runner or Deus Ex: HR-like structures, with cities built on top of cities, full of smoky bars and clubs (like we saw briefly in Ep.II). Disney could also go darker with all sorts of scum and villainy in the margins, something like the trio of assassins in The Raid 2 or Jack from Kill Zone for reference. And Disney could bring in the Hutts or other gangsters into the new story and Boba Fett if they really had to.

lights
Come on, look at the concept art. This thing NEEDS to be made, it’s probably still sitting on Disney’s hardrive.

So those are my choices for new Star Wars spinoffs. If you have any ideas about what would you like to see in a new Star Wars film, comment down below.

 

Banner photo courtesy of starwarsunderworld.com. Other photos sourced from Google Images.