LucasArts Entertainment announced last month that it will soon release Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns, an expansion pack for its real-time strategy game Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. The expansion will include a variety of improvements to the game, as well as a number of new scenarios inspired by the large-scale battles depicted in the upcoming film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. To learn more about what the expansion will include, we spoke with Garry Gaber, the director of the project at LucasArts.
GameSpot: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Garry. First, can you tell us how long Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns has been in development?
Garry Gaber: We started the expansion pack right after we signed off on Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds.
GS: Was it always the plan to release an expansion pack with Star Wars: Episode II content?
GG: It had always been something I considered.
GS: Are you pleased with how Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds has been received? Are there any specific criticisms of the game you hope to address with the expansion?
GG: I am delighted with the way that Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds has been received. The community is constantly growing, and people seem to really be enjoying the game. There are many specific criticisms that we are addressing with the expansion--we've really gone back and reworked some of the balancing, units, and other aspects of the original game with this expansion pack.
GS: The official announcement of Clone Campaigns mentioned that it will include gameplay improvements based on user feedback. Can you tell us specifically what these improvements are?
GG: One of many is the addition of team bonuses. In other words, if the Trade Federation allies itself with the Galactic Empire, they both enjoy specific bonuses just by virtue of being allied. We have also done a lot of work to make the different civilizations more varied and diverse--the Naboo have some new bonuses, the Rebel Alliance gains a new air unit, and there are improvements to the Galactic Empire's assault mech, the AT-AT, that make it a really cool unit.
GS: Will the expansion add any technical improvements to Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds?
GG: Yes. We have upped the population limit for each civilization to 250 units per side, among other improvements.
GS: The announcement also mentioned that the expansion will include several large-scale battles based on scenes in the upcoming movie. Can you tell us anything about these battles?
GG: Because a lot of this information is "Episode IIClassified," I can't give you any details on the battles we are exploring, except to say that we will be showcasing the big land battle from Episode II in this game in two of the scenarios.
GS: How closely do the scenarios follow the story of Episode II?
GG: They use Episode II as a jumping off point. We follow two generals, Echuu Shen-Jon (from Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds) and a Chiss military commander named Sev'Rance Tann.
GS: What new civilizations will Clone Campaigns include?
GG: The two organizations from Episode II, the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
GS: Can you tell us about the new environments and vehicles that will be in the expansion?
GG: We have added a new planet named Sarapin that is all lava and volcanic ash. It is quite striking, and it even has its own predators, the vaapads. We show the planet Geonosis from Episode II, and we have created a lot of new vehicles for the scenarios as well as the toybox--the scenario editor. These include the Virago and the Outrider from Shadows of the Empire (something the users have been asking for), as well as a lot of the characters and vehicles associated with Jabba the Hutt.
GS: Assuming everything goes as planned with Clone Campaigns, are there any plans to release a second expansion pack with content inspired by Star Wars: Episode III?
GG: Anything's possible.
GS: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
GG: Just a sincere thanks to the users of this game. We really are listening to your comments and doing everything we can to make this the best Star Wars game ever.
GS: Thanks for your time, Garry.
We've posted some new screenshots from the expansion in the gallery above. For more information about Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns, take a look at our previous coverage of the expansion and our full review of the original game.