“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to try to convert everybody to the Dark Side,” Mark Thompson, Creative Director at EA’s Motive, says before introducing us to Commander Iden Versio.
Versio, the main protagonist of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, is the leader of the Inferno squadron, an elite group of Imperial Special Forces soldiers. Clad in menacing black, armed with all manner of blasters and with lethal personal droids attached to their backs, Versio and her squad are introduced laying waste to Rebel forces on Endor. Soundly in control, that façade crumbles as the Death Star II is seen exploding overhead. This momentous occasion to the Rebels is one of utter tragedy for the members of Inferno; the loss of the Emperor, Iden says, is the start of her true war.
“We’ve heard a lot about the heroes of the Rebellion — the soldiers on the frontline of combat,” Thompson says, detailing Motive’s decision to play on the side of the Empire in Battlefront II’s single-player campaign. “We wanted to give the Empire heroes in that same way.”
“There’s so much rich opportunity to explore what had not been explored before,” LucasFilm’s Steve Blank adds. “Not just that particular timeline, but that perspective.”
“We never say the Empire are the bad guys,” Thompson says, nodding. “We never say Iden is the villain.”
Iden, played by Janina Gavankar (Far Cry 4, TV’s True Blood), is positioned to be the newest strong female character in a franchise committed to presenting them. Thompson says she’s as lethal with a blaster as she is a TIE Fighter, an elite soldier with a story perfect for the Battlefront franchise. Iden is a product of the planet Vardos, a shining Imperial stronghold, one made exclusively for the game. A planet where people grow up thinking the Empire is good and just, committed to order and peace, Iden sees the Rebels as fighters who threaten the Empire’s way of life. She’s far more than just a cog in the Empire’s war machine – she’s wholly committed to the cause.
Says Thompson, she’s not only the perfect soldier to avenge her Emperor, but one players will empathise with.
“She will be in every way, that [same] type of hero,” Thompson says. He believes Iden will stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Rey and Leia, already held to the same level of esteem by those that are loyal to the Empire.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 17 November 2017. We’ve much more on the game to come, direct from Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida.