Star Wars Battlefront's story never made it into the books, comics or cartoons that comprise most of the Expanded Universe – but Elite Squadron is completely canon as far as LucasArts is concerned.
They've got this thing called the "Holocron" which keeps track of continuity in the Star Wars Universe. Most of what gets done in the books or the comics goes into the Holocron and becomes so much an accepted part of the universe that "You could turn it into a movie," according to Battlefront Product Manager Pat Alvarado.
Alvarado walked me through the Hoth level Stephen Totilo got his hands on some weeks ago, emphasizing just how cool the space-to-ground and ground-to-space combat is (and it really is). But we wound up talking a lot about continuity because Elite Squadron spans pretty much all six of the films with enough content leftover at the end to fill a seventh movie.
Above: The Hoth fight totally gave me flashbacks to Shadows of the Empire on Nintendo 64.
Now, for the book nerds out there, we all know that The Truce At Bakura takes place immediately after the sixth movie. Sadly, Alvarado told me neither Bakura nor the Ssi-ruuk make an appearance in the game. But you do get to ride Tauntauns, hijack ships from the opposite faction and can expect several Force Unleashed characters to make appearances.
There are 12 worlds in the game total, and each world has its own Hero and Villain character that you can play as in Heroes and Villains mode. Lots of opportunities for continuity clogs there, I imagine, but I hope I can look forward to giving Shaak Ti a go. I just wish there were more human female Jedi in the comics, cartoons and games to enjoy – why do they all have to be aliens?
Above: "It's a trap!"
But I digress. Elite Squadron is more about playing as the clone trooper X-2 and dealing with the drama over his evil brother X-1 than it is about playing as other Star Wars canon characters. Interesting as the plot sounds, however, the multiplayer sounds even better. The two-sided battles are set up to support six-player ad-hoc matchers as 16-player infrastructure matches. Sadly, the space-to-ground component of the game is subtracted from multiplayer. Though I guess it would get really crazy to have 16 players bouncing around the atmosphere trying to kill each other.
UPDATE: LucasArts PR Coordinator Hildie Murray has contacted me to correct the statement about the space-to-ground combat. I got that information from Alvarado, but Murray says that space-to-ground combat will "absolutely" be available in multiplayer. Rejoice!
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron is out November 3.