However little sleep you get, however dismissive you are of facial moisturisers and sun damage, you’ll never have a countenance as majestically shrivelled as Emperor Palpatine, Star Wars Battlefront’s newly announced villain. That knobbly visage isn’t the Emperor’s primary weapon in the field of battle though, as lead hero designer Jamie Keen explains. To be honest, I never expected it to be. I just wanted to say ‘knobbly visage.’
We’re primed and ready for Star Wars Battlefront to become one of the best PC games of 2015.
Keen and the devs behind Battlefront were keen to convey the Emperor’s deceptive nature, he writes on the game’s official blog. The way he hunches over and acts frail, in fact hiding the power of the national grid at his fingertips.
“We wanted many different things with the Emperor,” says Keen. “We wanted him to be very mobile, but also about deception and fooling people that he’s fragile and weak. As you’ve seen in the original Star Wars trilogy, Palpatine pretends to be a weak old man, when he in fact is extremely powerful. That two-faced side was something we wanted to convey in gameplay and the Emperor’s abilities.”
That sounds like a lot of subtlety and character development to convey in a frantic multiplayer shooter in which you’re lucky to last longer than 30 seconds in a villain or hero’s shoes. The reality of Palpatine’s in-game abilities is a bit more pragmatic.
“Palpatine’s main attack is the iconic Force Lightning, which does a lot of damage to troops within reach. The lightning also comes in the more powerful Chain Lightning form, which is an area of effect ability dealing damage to enemies around you in all directions.”
Palpers (never call him Palpers) also gets Force Dash, which to all intents and purposes sounds like Luke Skywalker’s Saber Rush: essentially it allows him to cover short distances extremely quickly. “We’ve seen some players get really startled when they have been aiming down the sights at Palpatine and suddenly see him right up close,” says Keen. The knobbly visage comes into play after all! Hooray!
Emperor Palpatines’s third ability is Imperial Resources, which deals out health boosts to any other villains on the map and power ups to Empire team mates.
Keen advises that the best tactic for Palpatine is a “hit-and-run” offensive, getting in close with Rebel soldiers and dishing out some piping hot chain lightning, then retreating to safety with Force Dash.
The game’s out on 17 November, at which point you’ll get to (briefly) don those storied robes for yourself.