Update, January 5: Suspicions confirmed, as it turns out GOG have been producing the recent Battlefront II patches, both on their version of the game and on Steam.
News of a new patch for Battlefront II (the one from 2005) first came from GOG, so we assumed that the October patch was part of a collaboration between GOG and Disney. But we weren’t sure who was actually doing the work to make the update happen. Both Battlefront II patches have also come to Steam, and Disney have largely washed their hands of the whole game development thing.
Enjoy the best multiplayer games on PC.
A Disney spokesperson tells Polygon that it is in fact GOG making these Battlefront II patches happen. GOG certainly have experience putting out updates to make old games more playable on modern computers - it’s pretty much the basis for their entire business - but the scope of these multiplayer patches are a bit beyond what they usually offer. Particularly with full cross-play between Steam and GOG players.
Nonetheless, GOG’s work here is dedicated to technical maintenance. Plenty of players on the Steam forums are asking for things like Workshop support and dedicated servers, but those seem to be several steps beyond the scope of these patches.
Update, January 3 2018: Battlefront II classic has gotten a new patch aimed at fixing multiplayer.
Star Wars: Battlefront II - the one by Pandemic and LucasArts - got a major update back in October aimed at restoring the old game’s official multiplayer functionality. Things didn’t go entirely according to plan, with players having plenty of trouble enjoying the game with varied technical issues following the update. Now there’s a new patch aiming to fix those problems.
The 240MB update features “minor bug fixes and optimized performance,” and lists the following as the most important points:
- Lobby functionality has been improved
- Steam usernames should now display correctly
- Ping calculations are more accurate
It’s a shame the multiplayer fixes didn’t work 100% in the first place, but I don’t think anyone was expecting patches for a decade old game at all. To whoever it is at Disney, or EA, or GOG, or Steam, or LucasFilm that’s in a closet somewhere trying to make this game work again: thank you.
Update October 3, 2017: Star Wars: Battlefront 2's multiplayer restoration hasn't gone entirely smoothly.
Amidst the understandable excitement that the classic game's multiplayer is back, there are widespread reports of difficulties connecting, and serious laga after having done so.
A casual browse of the Steam thread will turn up many such reports, but it's a similar story over on GOG, whose collaboration with Disney is responsible for the whole resurrection.
GOG are on the case, with technical staff investigating a common problem where the game simply freezes when attempting to join multiplayer mode. They say "it is most likely related to the matchmaking servers being hit with much bigger traffic than anticipated."
Other common issues include an 'unknown error' crashing the game, and there are many complaints that mods are no longer working.
Original story October 2, 2017: EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront series, lavish and gorgeous as it is, still stands in the shadow of the original games bearing the name. That’s partly nostalgia talking, but it’s also true that original-style Battlefront is quite good. Now, multiplayer features for Battlefront II are back in business.
The restored multiplayer apparently comes from a partnership between Disney and GOG. Not only is multiplayer live again, but it’s live across both Steam and GOG Galaxy clients with players on each service having access to each other’s games. This is the first time the game’s had official online features since GameSpy shut down in 2014.
Battlefront II hasn’t been truly dead all this time, of course. The game has continued to be in circulation through digital distribution, and fans have been modding in access to unofficial servers with just a little hassle. Still, the difference between “little” hassle and “zero” hassle is a significant one.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to player counts over the next few days, whether players are digging the game out from their dusty ol’ digital libraries or taking advantage of GOG’s current sale on all things Disney-related. Oh, and that other Battlefront II is likely whetting people’s appetites for some multiplayer Star Wars action.