Battlefront best bits
The Star Wars universe is by now so stuffed with detail that Wookiepedia sometimes feels closer to reality than the more-often vandalised Wikipedia does. Given that DICE is now scanning actual props from the movies (opens in new tab), you can bet they're going to be using some of that depth of fiction to inform Star Wars Battlefront (opens in new tab).
In fact, we got a sense of that depth in just five minutes, when we saw the Hoth gameplay (opens in new tab) at EA's E3 conference. Those with a keen eye (or, yes, keen fingers and a browser open on a certain in-universe online encyclopedia) can spot some very neat details - both references to the films and the fabric of the game - in the course of one highly-scripted gameplay trailer. Here come my favourites.
The outfits, the AT-ATs - everything in the trailer is designed to give you a pleasant little shiver of nostalgia. But that verisimillitude runs far deeper than surface level. There's no such thing as "the" blaster - and this trailer proves it.
Almost every character we see is carrying a different variant of the humble laser gun, from rapid-fire hand pistols to hulking heavy machine gun-looking bastards. Each one's a direct reference to one of the hundreds(!) of variations in the Star Wars universe - more power to DICE for giving each one a distinctive feel.
New equipment too
That's not to say DICE hasn't brought a few inventions of its own along. Most obviously, there's a hitherto-unseen grenade being used by Empire troops here. While they do carry around the faithful Thermal Detonators (seen on the left of the equipment panel above), there appears to be a one-time-use grenade that can be picked as heavy equipment, too. When thrown, it creates a blast, which quickly implodes and explodes again, seemingly insta-killing anyone in its radius. Don't be surprised to see some extra flourishes here and there.
If this is true, it's proof-positive of DICE's total commitment to Star Wars nerdery. See those binoculars that a Rebel player uses at the beginning of the trailer? Well, they're not your regular binoculars - they're electrobinoculars, tech-enhanced looking glasses used throughout the film series and beyond.
But blow the trailer up to HD and you can see just what they look like up close - look that up and you find out these are a specific brand of electrobinoculars. Model TD2.3 electrobinoculars (opens in new tab), to be precise. And where were they used in the film series? The Battle of Hoth. Along with the cold-resistant Stormtrooper armour on show in the demo, it seems DICE might not just be faithfully representing classic films, but single moments within them.
Expect lightsaber tricks
When the player takes control of Luke Skywalker at the end of the trailer, the panel we've seen used for equipment or weapon types on vehicles and lesser characters suddenly becomes a little more focused. That symbol on the left denotes the Force Push, we've seen that much, but the others are left unused.
The traditional Blaster-blocking doesn't appear to be one of them - looking closer, I'd suggest the top one looks like a charge attack and, thinking a little more wildly, the one on the right could be a Yoda-style lightsaber-throw technique. Whatever it is, there's some flashy fun we're not privy to yet.
The film's Hoth battle only featured humans on the Rebel side, but Battlefront's clearly willing to play fast and loose with tradition on this count. That's a Sullustan you can see shamelessly invoking the good name of Porkins above, and Greedo-style Rodians are milling about, too.
There are a few other changes to the timeline. Most obviously, Luke's in his Return of the Jedi turtleneck phase - but there are also Alliance fleet warships hanging (and occasionally exploding) in the sky alongside the Empire Star Destroyers.
Not all starfighters are created equal
Look, I'd probably take whatever I was given if it came to the chance to fly a Star Wars spaceship, but I'd definitely be a little bit sad if it wasn't a TIE Fighter. The evil, winged billiard balls are objectively cooler than anything else going in the universe - and they've got the moves to prove it here.
Watch the player in the Y-Wing earlier in the trailer - it's a fairly standard, plane-style flying experience. X-Wings seem to follow a similar pattern. Then watch the section where a TIE Fighter swerves upwards to avoid an Ion Cannon obstacle - it shoots vertically into the air, then inverts almost on the spot to give chase to an X-Wing. It's a move that shows off just how tricky the little fighter is - another piece of detail that feeds into the gameplay.
There are power-ups we're not being shown
Check out the guy taking point on that Rebel squad in the ravine - he's using some kind of personal, portable shield to soak up fire. We see a bubble shield later in the trailer (used, brilliantly, to deflect an orbital bombardment), but that doesn't look as though it can be picked up or moved. It seems DICE has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
Wait, how big is this map?
This one's very easy to miss. Look into the distance while an Empire player takes up the gunner position on an AT-AT - there's a faint blue circle in the distance (used to denote friendlies while you're in vehicles), which, after a flurry of blaster fire, turns into an explosion.
That explosion is absolutely miles away, comfortably further than any other unit we can see. The way it lights up the ground implies it could be a walking unit, too, not just a TIE Fighter swooping in from outside the stage. Are we only seeing a portion of Hoth?