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Gaming: Rogue One swan song for Star Wars Battlefront II; Summer Game Fest teases big reveals & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Scarif beach scene in Star Wars Battlefront II

When (nearly) three years old they reach, look this good, most games will not. On the strength of its regular slate of free expansions, Star Wars Battlefront II has kept up a devoted fan following since its debut in the fall of 2017. But after the latest update, it’s all coming to an end.

EA DICE announced this week that it’s ending community support for Battlefront II with the arrival of The Battle on Scarif, the final free expansion for a game that’s seen a crowd-pleasing stream of them — 25, to be precise. But, via IGN, DICE is eyeing the approach of the next console generation, and is reportedly moving on to focus on the next-gen development of the next game in the Battlefield franchise (which has no relation to EA’s Star Wars series, despite the similar-sounding name).

But what a swan song to conclude Battlefront II’s blast-from-the-past "Age of Rebellion" update cycle: The Battle on Scarif puts players right in the thick of the tropical beachfront chaos that waged beneath Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and K-2SO in Rogue One’s epic climax, and like the rest of Battlefield II’s Star Wars settings, it appears galactically faithful to the look and feel of the film itself:

Just because regular content updates are ending, it doesn’t mean DICE is leaving Battlefront II behind like some desert planet that starry-eyed farm boys just want to escape. EA will continue to woo fans back with “in-game challenges, recurring events such as Double XP and more,” according to creative director Dennis Brännvall, who posted to the game’s official blog.

The Battle of Scarif is available now, and coupled with Monday’s limited-time “May the Fourth Be With You” triple XP day — which ends promptly at midnight ET when the day is done — it sounds like the perfect time to make one more trench run through Star Wars Battlefront II.

With this year’s E3 canceled even as interest in video games reaches a social distancing-assisted all-time high, players may be fidgeting for a place to find the epic new game reveals that’s become a June rite of passage.

Enter The Game Awards executive producer Geoff Keighley, who’s just revealed a new virtual event aimed at giving fans (and game studios) a place to come together over all the biggest trailers and announcements that’ll be dropping over the summer. The inaugural Summer Game Fest, a slow-rolling online-only event set to unfold from May through August, is pledging an entire “season of breaking news, in-game events, and free playable content,” according to a press release that organizers sent out last week.

Summer Game Fest 2020 event banner

“Designed from the ground up as a first-of-its-kind, all-digital consumer celebration, Summer Game Fest is a multi-month global festival that highlights video games, the world’s leading form of entertainment,” the organizers tease. Judging from the studios and publishers they’ve got lined up, Summer Game Fest may just bring the goods, too.

Among the companies signed on to participate are 2K, Activision Publishing, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda Softworks, Blizzard Entertainment, Bungie, CD Projekt RED, Digital Extremes, EA, Microsoft, Private Division, Riot Games, Steam, Square Enix, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and — especially notable, since they skipped E3 last year — Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

So far, Summer Game Fest’s website looks like it’s simmering in placeholder mode until the first planned event arrives. But players can loop in now by heading to the page to leave their email address, so they won’t miss a beat when the news does start heating up.

Grown-ups can argue all day long about whether Monopoly can qualify as a child’s game, but when the planned Mandalorian-inspired version touches down this fall, no one can dispute that it’ll be the Child’s game — as in Baby Yoda.

Yep, everyone’s favorite pint-sized Star Wars wonder is about to pass ‘Go.’ Pre-orders for Star Wars: The Mandalorian “The Child” Edition of Monopoly are already live through online game retailers ahead of the silent one’s date with Galactic credit-hoarding players everywhere this September.

Star Wars Mandalorian Monopoly box
Star Wars Mandalorian Monopoly tabletop set

Sure, it’s not the only Star Wars-themed game in Hasbro’s Monopoly lineup (there’s also Monopoly Star Wars: The Complete Saga Edition, as well as the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Special Edition)…but it is the only one that lets you lope adorably around the game board as one of four different versions of the cutest, greenest, Force-powered species to be found anywhere on Disney+.

Instead of hotels and railroads, get ready to buy up hideouts and common houses across the galaxy, according to the game’s description, while taking your cues from Mandalorian-themed bounty puck cards. Like regular Monopoly, the goal is still to bankrupt everyone else…but we’re guessing no one will dare accuse you of cheating if you use the Force to get there.