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Announced in April this year, Star Wars: Battlefront II is a game that's got every Star Wars fan talking. Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements this time round is the single-player campaign mode, which is actually recognised as a fully canon component of the ongoing Star Wars story. Even more excitingly, we've been told the game will run all the way from the close of Return of the Jedi to the very beginning of The Last Jedi.
But what will the story be? EW has just released an animated sequence from the game, and fans are seriously excited.
The Single-Player Campaign Story Revealed
Iden Versio's personal goal may be to "avenge our Emperor," but what is the Empire's goal in all this? As this sequence makes clear, Palpatine had orders that were to be communicated in the event of his death. Admiral Versio receives said orders from a scarlet droid bearing the Emperor's face, and he's intending to play a key role in "Operation Cinder." Versio's elite crack-team, Inferno Squad, will be on the front lines.
Fans of the wider Star Wars universe will know exactly what's going on here. Chuck Wendig's "Aftermath" trilogy told the story of the ongoing battle between the Empire and the Rebellion after the Emperor's death. We ultimately learned that Palpatine had orchestrated a terrifying plan should he ever be killed, one known as "Operation Cinder." Palpatine set aside a group of Sentinel droids to stand watch until such a time as he died. Then, these Sentinels would seek out Imperial agents he viewed as loyal to him on a personal level, ones who would obey no matter what orders were received. This animated clip shows one of these Sentinel droids, and reveals that Admiral Versio is one of those key Imperial operatives.
The ultimate goal of "Operation Cinder" was simple: burn everything. Palpatine didn't understand why anyone should inherit the Empire after his death, and so he'd prepared a plan that would draw the Empire and the Rebellion into ever-escalating, bloody conflict. All would come to a head over the skies of Jakku, a desert world on which Palpatine had prepared his ultimate contingency. The entire world had been turned into a bomb, to be triggered when the armed forces of both the Empire and the Rebellion were locked in battle overhead.
You'll note that Iden Versio doesn't know this. She's a believer in the Empire as a concept, fanatically loyal, but not to the Emperor personally. Wisely, her father doesn't tell her the ultimate goal of "Operation Cinder." But we now know that Inferno Squad will be on the front lines of this escalating conflict, one that will end over Jakku. It's even possible that the campaign mode will finally resolve a question that's been troubling Star Wars fans since The Force Awakens; How did the Millennium Falcon end up on that desert world?
From the Battle Of Jakku to the First Order
As we learned in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath: Empire's End, the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku saw a handful of Imperial survivors retreat to the Unknown Regions. Jakku had been the site of the Emperor's secret observatory, one which Palpatine was using to map the most mysterious corners of the Galaxy after he sensed a powerful dark side presence out in the Unknown Regions. Most fans believe that presence to be none other than Supreme Leader Snoke.
It's possible the campaign mode will move on from the Battle of Jakku, and will show (for the first time in the Star Wars canon) what happened to the Empire out there in the Unknown Regions. Images have revealed that the Inferno Squad works in service to Kylo Ren, and these seem to be taken from the single-player campaign, so it really does look as though we're about to explore a key part of the #StarWars timeline that's previously only been alluded to.
How did the Empire become the First Order? How did Snoke take charge? And how quickly did Kylo Ren become an agent of Supreme Leader Snoke? It's likely that #BattlefrontII will answer many of these crucial questions, and provide clues to the ones it doesn't answer when it's released on November 27th, 2017.