Even with such a horrific launch, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has retained a pretty strong player base thanks to years of patches, updates, content drops, and most importantly, a complete overhaul to the progression system that has done away with loot box and microtransaction based rewards. Electronic Arts is clearly keen on offering players reasons to come back and keep playing, so it begs the question: Why aren’t the beloved heroes, villains, ships, and locations from Star Wars: Rebels playable yet?
As divisive as the Star Wars fan base has become, few pieces of Star Wars canon are as beloved as Star Wars: Rebels. Even the most ardent Disney-naysayers give Dave Filoni’s animated masterpiece praise for its expansion of Star Wars lore, massive set pieces, and, perhaps most notably, incredible roster of characters. EA has already shown support for Filoni’s other animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with the inclusion of tons of Clone Wars content in recent updates and the game is noticeably better thanks to these additions. So, I ask again, why can’t I play as the members of Phoenix Squadron or as Thrawn in Battlefront 2 yet?
I’ve heard some argue that these animated characters may not transfer well to the graphic realism of Battlefront 2, but I’d have to disagree. Not only do the wide variety of clone variations featured in The Clone Wars animated series look fine in Battlefront 2, but so do The Clone Wars hero skins for Obi-Wan and Anakin; which were not seen in live-action. The BX-series commando droids are also rendered wonderfully in Battlefront 2, and they’re also characters we’ve only seen in Star Wars animation.
While the graphical realism in Battlefront 2 is a departure from Star Wars: Rebels’ more cartoony art style, it’s not such a severe departure that it should stop developers from bringing characters and ships over to the game — especially when you factor in the gameplay possibilities.
Each character from Rebels brings with them a unique set of skills and fighting styles that would lend themselves wonderfully to Battlefront 2. Sabine Wren, for example, would offer a playstyle similar to that of Boba Fett but with the added bonus of giving her the ability to draw the darksaber.
Could you imagine how fun it would be to drop down from the heavens into a squad of enemy troopers, slice them to bits, then blast off while firing dual-wielded pistols at everyone in sight? Or exchanging fire mid-air against Boba Fett and other jet troopers? Sabine Wren would give players an experience that combines the close-quarters combat of a Jedi with the ranged attacks of non-Jedi, plus the mobility of a jet trooper. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, then your fun meter is broken.
Leveraging Ezra Bridger as a playable hero could also offer dynamic gameplay options. If EA were to use the younger, early-season Ezra as their model, players could not only use his lightsaber to attack enemies in close quarters but use his saber’s stun-gun functionality to stun enemies as they close in.
Maybe playing as the later-season, blinded Kanan Jarrus could offer players a more tactical approach to the Jedi class, one where they utilize Kanan’s force-infused sight to relay enemy positions and incoming attacks to teammates (while still hacking enemies to pieces with a lightsaber, of course). And it goes without saying that we would all love to play as Ahsoka Tano — especially as her older, wiser, dual-white-lightsaber-using Rebels era self. Her gameplay may not differ much from the other Jedi characters aside from the dual sabers, but, c’mon, it would just be super rad to play as her.
Playing as the villainous Thrawn could offer a similar tactical experience to Kanan, in which players use Thrawn’s brilliant mind to locate strategic advantages on the battlefield. Okay, I’ll be honest, I am not really sure how that would look or work but I’m not a game developer so I’m sure somebody smarter than me at Dice or EA could figure out a cooler way to make Thrawn’s brilliance into a fun gameplay mechanic. Besides, his mastery of hand-to-hand combat and proficiency with a blaster would make him fun to play, regardless of his strategic oversight.
Speaking of villains, EA flirted with Rebels content by adding the Imperial Security Bureau Agent as a commander class character so I won’t be talking about Agent Kallus since he’s almost in the game anyway. But what about the Inquisitors? More specifically the Grand Inquisitor? Are you really trying to tell me you don’t want the opportunity to wield one of those awesome, double-bladed spinning lightsabers? There’s almost too much awesome stuff players could do with the spinning lightsabers that it’d be more of a challenge to not make the Grand Inquisitor too overpowered than it would be to develop fun gameplay mechanics.
As for vehicles, Hera Syndullah’s Ghost would make a terrific addition to Starfighter Assault. The size, maneuverability, and offensive capabilities of the ship would make it a great middle-ground between the more nimble X-Wing fighters and the bulkier Millennium Falcon. The Ghost already made a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in The Rise of Skywalker, so why not really give the iconic Corellian freighter the spotlight it deserves by making it playable in Battlefront 2?
Of course, you can’t introduce Rebels content to Battlefront 2 without the planet Lothal, which would actually serve as an excellent map for Galactic Civil War Supremacy matches. Players could start on the outskirts of the capital city near the Rebel staging ground seen in the final season before closing in on the heart of the city for more urban combat. Maybe the Loth-wolves could even be temporarily playable characters for the Rebels in early stages of Supremacy matches, or there could be a special game mode designed around them like the Ewoks of Endor.
I understand how late it is in the development lifespan for Battlefront 2. And I get that after the next large content drop (which has been hinted to contain additional Galactic Civil War content including the Battle of Scarif) the majority of the development team will likely focus on Battlefront 3. But it’s clear that EA is committed to continually adding content to the game, and the amount of content from The Clone Wars shows they’re open to pulling material from the Star Wars animated shows. So why not pull from Rebels next? A guy can at least hope, right? After all, rebellions are built on hope, or something.