The strongest selling point of Star Wars Battlefront is that it lets players participate in massive battles with infantry and vehicles. The Blast Mode announced by DICE this week, however, has a much smaller scale.
Blast Mode is Battlefront's Team Deathmatch equivalent. Two teams of 10 players face off in infantry battles. There are no vehicles, heroes or villains here - just regular old ground troops. Without heavy armor or Jedi to back you up, finding pickups like turrets or scouting droids are essential to victory.
The objective for Blast Mode is to rack up as many kills as possible. The match ends when one team gets 100 kills or the timer reaches ten minutes.
DICE created smaller, close quarters maps for Blast Mode. Lead level designer Dannis Brannvall says that these maps are scattered throughout the galaxy:
One battle you’ll be fighting within interior levels on Endor or Sullust. In the next battle, you might find yourselves among Tatooine’s dusty canyons, or inside the undeniably cool Ice Caves on Hoth. My favorite is the verticality of Tatooine, fighting by the Sandcrawler.
The official Blast Mode preview notes that these maps aren't just smaller versions of the battlegrounds from other modes. Battlefront's development team designed the maps specifically with Blast Mode's gameplay in mind. They also included some extra visual touches, such as changing the time of day for the battle.
It might seem a little weird for DICE to include a low-player-count game mode that doesn't include vehicles or iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It's essentially a mode without the features that set Star Wars Battlefront apart from many other shooters. Would anyone actually play Blast Mode?
The answer is yes, if Battlefield is any indication. The Battlefield games have Team Deathmatch modes and they've proven very popular. Many players (myself included) like taking a break from BF4's tank battles and dogfights on occasion to have a good old-fashioned gunfight. An infantry-only battle gives instant gratification without the threat of getting bombed from above or run over by a ground vehicle. The faster rate of kills in a deathmatch makes it an ideal place for completing certain progression challenges, too. TDM might not be as widely played as the larger-scale modes like Conquest but it has a definite following.
DICE has announced several other modes for Star Wars Battlefront so far, such as Walker Assault, Fighter Squadron and Survival. What the game won't have, though, is a single-player campaign or space battles.