Star Wars Forces of Corruption

Recently I got to ask David Silverstein, Assistant Producer some questions about the pending Expansion to Star Wars Empire at War. I want to thank David for Taking Time to answer my questions

What is the background and setting of the game and where does it tie in with the last game as well as the film series?

David: The expansion pack picks up where Star Wars: Empire at War and Episode IV left off. The first Death Star has been destroyed and the galaxy has become engulfed in civil war. The story focuses in on a criminal mastermind named Tyber Zann who escapes from prison and is rebuilding his criminal empire to take control of the galactic underworld. He does not care about who wins the war between the Rebellion and the Empire — his focus is on his own rise to power, securing Jabba the Hutt’s downfall, and finding the ultimate galactic prize, the Eclipse-class Star Destroyer!

There have been reports of a third faction in the game. Will players be able to play three sides in the game, Smugglers, Rebel, and Empire and if so, how do you approach missions and units for the new class?

David: Yes, we are adding a brand new faction to the game, currently dubbed the Underworld, led by the criminal mastermind Tyber Zann. Players will be able to play all three factions in multiplayer Skirmish mode; however, the campaign story will focus on Tyber Zann’s rise to power as the greatest criminal kingpin since Jabba the Hutt and Prince Xizor of the Black Sun pirates.

The Underworld has many units that players may find similar to standard army. However, Tyber Zann does not have the same resources as the Rebellion or Empire. Because of this, the Underworld has to use a variety of corrupt, sneaky and underhanded tactics and weapons to even the odds. Nothing is off limits to the Underworld: outlawed droid technology, chemical warfare, cloaking ships, hiding in asteroid fields, bribery and sabotage are all fair game.

The mixture of space and ground battles in the first game was a nice wrinkle on the genre, how have you tweaked it for the expansion pack?

David: The story missions are currently being designed. I don’t want to spoil the surprise by going into specifics, but we definitely plan to provide an exciting mix of space and land battles. Since we don’t want to ruin a good thing, we are designing the story missions to be played in a similar fashion to how the Rebel and Empire campaigns worked in EAW.

How many new units are available and what are some of the weapons and features that will be included? Will there be new super weapons?

David: More than 35 units are being added, with most going to the new Underworld faction. We are also upgrading the Empire and the Rebellion. Some of the new units for the Empire include the TIE interceptor, TIE defender, TIE phantom and Darth Vader’s new flagship, a Super Star Destroyer called the Executor. The Rebellion will also see new units like the Mon Calamari frigate and the B-wing. The Underworld will get a variety of new unique and outlawed units for both ground and space, as well. All of the new units will have their own exciting and unique unit modes.

We also have a few new unit types, such as the ground troop transport like the Juggernaut that can carry troops across the battlefield and Mobile Defense Units that can be deployed anywhere on the battlefield as a turret, rocket launcher, shield generator, sensor array, etc.

Additionally, we will have the second Death Star in as one of two new superweapons. Unlike its predecessor, the DS2 can fire on capital ships. We are also introducing the prototype Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer as another new super weapon. The Eclipse is even bigger than the Executor and much more deadly.

What can you tell the readers about the guerilla warfare feature as it seems to be a feature that gamers have not seen before?

David: The Underworld does not have the same access to resources as the Empire and the Rebellion — they have to fight dirty. For example, Tyber employs mercenaries to his dirty work, uses outlawed droid technology, and his ships can cloak as well as hide in asteroid fields without taking any damage. Tyber knows that everyone has a price, and he is perfectly willing and able to bribe enemy units to fight for the Underworld. Saboteurs can be used to destroy enemy war machines and structures, helping to level the playing field. If that doesn’t work, he can dig even deeper into his bag of dirty tricks 😉

Knowing that fans can be sticklers for details, how much of a challenge was it to include the Underworld into the game’s timeline as previously only Jabba had been established in the original saga and characters like Xizor and Talon Karrde were left to the expanded universe? That being said, it must be very exciting to really be able to delve into a segment of the Star Wars universe that has not been heavily featured.

David: There are a lot of exciting story strings that the movies present to us and plenty of room in the existing lore to tell a compelling new story about this exciting new character we are introducing.

Will players be able to use technologies from the Underworld in their Rebel or Imperial units? Also, what can you tell the readers about the new strategic features of the game?

David: Each faction has its own units, technology and abilities. While the Underworld can steal units from the other factions, this is a one-way street — the Rebels and Empire do not enjoy this ability (with Chewbacca being the exception, of course!). The biggest new strategic feature is the introduction of Underworld corruption. Rather than take direct control of every planet and build bases on every single one of them, the Underworld has the option to corrupt neutral and enemy planets. Corruption is central to the Underworld strategy in that corrupting planets yields the Underworld several important benefits: an extorted percentage of that planet’s income, the option to spy on enemy activities, the ability to sabotage enemy bases, and uncontested travel past enemy planets.

Who are some of the characters from the films as well as Expanded Universe that will be in the game?

David: We have several familiar movie characters, as well as lore characters. To name a few, the Rebellion will have Yoda, Garm Bel Iblis and Luke Skywalker, who leaves Red Squadron to become a powerful new ground and space hero. The Empire will have Admiral Thrawn, and the Executor will become Vader’s new flagship with Admiral Piett at the helm. IG-88, the Nightsisters, Bossk and others will work with the Underworld. Jabba the Hutt and Prince Xizor also make appearances.

What forms of multiplayer will be available?

David: Using the EAW multiplayer functionality as a base, in Skirmish mode we are adding mirror play for the “what if?” situations we all debate. All three factions can battle it out in a free-for-all mode, as well.

What are some of the new planets that will be featured in the game?

David: We have 13 new locations, some movie planets and some from the expanded universe. Just to tease you a bit, we are planning to include Mustafar, Kamino, Dathomir, Hypori, and Mandalore, to name a few.