We’ll start off with what we knew earlier. This past weekend, EA teased an image of an X-Wing and the promise of a new mode. Many latched to the idea this was a PR 180 on the absent mode of Space Battles, but EA was quick to point out this has nothing to do with space. They were right. We saw much more than the emptiness of space and stars millions of light years away: lava, mountains, tight flying areas, and likely the biggest takeaway, clouds! Yes, those opaque obstacles present a great challenge and sense of the air-less space can never have.
This informs weather has the potential to factor in greatly in air combat. Not just that, the ability to dogfight within the planet’s atmosphere offers the same environment hazards and variance as does the ground combat. Planets have different alliances, which leads to parts of a map better defended. Flying over Jabba the Hutt’s base in Tatooine as his anti-air turrets can provide a nuisance for the rebels.
Moreover, neutral dangers like the Sarlacc creeping its hungry head out leads to further exciting variance in dogfighting maps. Space battles don’t have the opportunity to embed local color such as this and the variability of atmosphere. Needless to say, they felt cookie cutter. What’s the difference between Space Yavin 4 and Space Kashyyyk in Star Wars Battlefront II? The answer is scenery in the distance and slight alterations in frigates.