An iconic aspect of Star Wars™ Battlefront™ – one that you’ll spend a lot of time with – is blasters. This is the dominant weapon type in the galaxy and mastering all the different models will give you a great edge in game.
Weapon Designers Christian Johannesén and Tommy Rydling are responsible for defining the gameplay characteristics of the Star Wars Battlefront blasters. That entails things like damage attributes, balancing, and figuring out what’s unique for each weapon. The goal has been to design a unique and varied selection of blasters true to the world of Star Wars™.
We’ve prepared some questions about blasters for Christian and Tommy. Note that there are a lot of other special weapons and items available via the game’s Star Cards, but we’ll focus on blasters in this post. Let’s fire away.
Could you describe the selection of blasters in Star Wars Battlefront?
There are 11 primary blasters that can be divided into three core groups. First we have the standard blaster pistols, like the DH-17. These work well on short to medium range and is an intriguing choice for modes like Drop Zone. Then there are the close-to-medium range rifles such as the E-11 and A280C blaster rifles, which have high accuracy and a good damage rate.
Finally, we have the heavy blasters that have more spread than other weapons, but on the other hand, maintains a solid damage rate across range. One example here is the fast-firing DLT-19 heavy blaster that can sustain heavy fire for a longer time.
What are the in-game abilities and specifics for blasters?
You’ll see four stat bars for each blaster in the weapons menu when you’re spawning in. Damage shows how powerful the blaster is per shot, compared to other weapons. Rate of fire shows how many bolts per second the weapon can fire, again relative to all the other blasters.
Cooling power shows how many bolts you can fire before the blaster overheats, and Range displays a combination of factors like spread, recoil, and how much power is lost over distance.
Is there a blaster for everybody?
I believe there is. Every blaster has its own unique identity which will fit many different playstyles. There are many examples, but if you’re playing on maps with tight corridors, something like the CA-87 shock blaster fits a “shotgun” style of gameplay. That’s really suitable for running into enemies around close corners.
That said, if you’re within 10 meters of your target every weapon should be a valid choice. But in those up-close situations, the CA-87 would deliver a one-shot kill.
How have you managed to balance all of the blasters?
Balancing started on day one when the first blaster - the E-11 - was implemented. Ever since then, we’ve done tweaks to that blaster as new ones have come in; those, in turn, of course have to be balanced accordingly with each iteration. During development, we’ve constantly asked ourselves how much damage a blaster should do, and how this affects all the other weapons.
The core values for balancing is rate of fire, damage for each shot, cooling power, and ranged accuracy. Combining those properties together should give each weapon a unique role.
Two weapons we’ve tweaked a lot are the E-11 and A280C, the starting blasters for the Empire and Rebels. We didn’t want them to be exactly the same, but you should get similar results with them. We gave the A280C a slightly faster fire rate in relation to the E-11, but to compensate that, we lowered the damage, and it’s also a bit harder to control.
How does the blaster heating and overheating system work?
Blasters will overheat if you sustain fire for too long, resulting in a few seconds where you can’t use the weapon at all. How fast this happens depends on the blaster; the DLT-19 heavy blaster can fire around 40 sustained bolts before overheating, whereas the DL-44 pistol cannot even fire 10 shots before that happens.
As you get more experienced, you’ll get better at avoiding overheating. A skilled player will learn where the overheat limits are for his or her weapon and try to release the trigger now and then to prevent the weapon from overheating. That way they can always join a firefight or defend themselves.
You also have a chance to cool the blaster faster if you time a button press when cooling down. If you hit that sweet spot, your blaster will be instantly cooled, but if you miss you’ll overheat and your cool down period will be extended.
There are many iconic blasters in the game. Which ones are your favorites and why?
One of my favorites is the SE-14C. This is a semi-automatic blaster pistol that fires a 5-bolt burst. You can land some really quick bursts on an enemy with this weapon, but if you miss you need to wait for the burst to be able to fire again. So when I’m feeling darish, it’s a great choice.
I would go for the DL-44, perhaps best known as Han Solo’s blaster. This one gives a lot of damage per bolt, but overheats really fast. That’s a huge tradeoff: if you don’t hit with every bolt you’re going to overheat and be vulnerable. This risk versus reward setup is fun, and really fits the daring, gun-slinging style of Han Solo.