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Eagle-Eyed Modders Spot Something Off With the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection Trailer — and Asajj Ventress Holds the Key

For so many gamers of a certain age, the debut trailer for
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unveiled during the recent
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, rekindled memories of hours spent fighting as soldiers in the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire on the likes of Endor and Hoth in the mid-2000s. But for one modder, it rekindled an altogether different memory: of their own mod.

In time-honoured Star Wars tradition, first some background. The original, Pandemic-developed Battlefront 2 that launched in 2005 had a DLC pack exclusive to the original Xbox version. This DLC added two new heroes (Kit Fisto and Asajj Ventress), as well as four maps. Both Kit and Asajj had unique animations and moves no other characters had. But this DLC was exclusive to the Xbox version, which meant it never released for PC.

Fast forward to 2021 and modder iamashaymin did what modders do and brought the DLC to PC, reskinning two existing characters to look like Kit and Asajj (Ki Adi Mundi for Kit Fisto and Aayla Secura for Asajj Ventress). To the naked eye, the modded Kit and Asajj look like their DLC counterparts. But eagle-eyed players knew they had the same default animations and attacks as the other heroes. This means that in the mod, Asajj does not hold her unique Linksabers (fiber cord-linked twin red lightsabers added especially for her in the DLC) in one hand, but instead wields two separate lightsabers, one in each hand, like Aayla does in the original game. Similarly, Kit fights like Mundi. Still, the mod proved popular with the Star Wars Battlefront community and found an audience.

Redditors noticed it first.
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the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection trailer, below, suggests players will not get the original Xbox DLC. Rather, it looks like developer Aspyr used iamashaymin’s mod, lifting it from
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, to create the models for Kit and Asajj. What’s worse is iamashaymin reckons the version of the mod used in the game is outdated.

How do people know this? In an interview with IGN, iamashaymin explained. “I was actually fast asleep when the trailer dropped and awoke to complete chaos as everyone was messaging me about it, telling me that something about it was important for me to see,” iamashaymin said. “Upon watching the trailer for the first time, a detail I noticed pretty quickly is whenever Asajj Ventress appeared she was holding two lightsabers in either hand exactly like Aayla Secura.”

As mentioned, the original Pandemic-created DLC Asajj Ventress uses the unique Linksabers weapon, which is basically lightsaber nunchucks. Riffing on this weapon, Ventress’ movement and combat is based on real-world martial arts. For example, she holds one lightsaber under her right armpit and the other in her right hand.

For the mod, iamashaymin created custom lightsaber hilts for Asajj Ventress based on her unique weapon from the original DLC. These custom lightsaber hilts have an elongated handle and a curve at the bottom that faces toward Asajj’s wrists.

“After breaking down the Switch trailer frame by frame, we (me and other modders and members of the Battlefront community) noticed Asajj's saber hilts were very similar to my modded ones and were very likely the same models,” iamashaymin alleged. Aspyr has so far failed to respond to IGN’s request for comment.

iamashaymin also believes the version of his mod used here is outdated. Earlier this month he updated the mod to replace his inaccurate versions of Kit Fisto and Asajj Ventress with versions almost identical to Pandemic's originals, after another modder solved a technical issue that had persisted for nearly two decades. “This is bad, because in Aspyr's trailers and promotional images for the Classic Collection, the Asajj Ventress seen in the majority of shots is derived from the original 2021 mod,” iamashaymin claimed.

Despite the situation, iamashaymin is philosophical, telling IGN he’s thrilled to be a part of the conversation surrounding the game. “I love the fantasy idea of something I made being in an official product, let alone an official Star Wars product,” he said. But iamashaymin would much rather an official PC release of the Xbox-exclusive DLC that includes the original heroes, and not an inaccurate modified version, “even if it is something I had a hand in making.”

“I released the source files for my mod for anyone to use, modify, improve however they wish,” iamashaymin said. “If anything I am flattered and joyous they chose to use mine for whatever purpose they needed it for. Ultimately my mod, like all mods, are property of Lucasfilm and they are free to use it how they wish as I have agreed to the license agreement regarding releasing mods created with the Pandemic modding tools.”

What will gamers play when the collection comes out? Without clarification from Aspyr, it’s unclear. iamashaymin isn’t sure whether his mod was used just for the trailer, or will end up in the launch product. We just don’t know.

For now, the mod situation is being used by some to attack Aspyr and add to growing criticism around the collection. This, iamashaymin said, is not what he wants at all. “I am sad to see a fairly negative reception from the general PC player base,” he said, “they might have the point about reselling a game after 19 years on Steam for nearly double the price with very little to offer them - and weaponizing the attention brought to the possible use of my mod to justify their opinions does make me regret bringing attention to it.

“Despite everything, I am excited for the Classic Collection, a lot of us modders are. But there is an aura of doubt and concern over it from our community - with this and other issues like whether our two decade backlog of mods will even be supported in the new release and whether or not easy to fix bugs and issues with the original game will be patched as these things have not been communicated.

“It is natural for us to have these concerns, especially after the fiasco with Knights of the Old Republic 2 on Switch.”

iamashaymin has left a feedback ticket with Aspyr support, and intends to cooperate fully with the development team, but has yet to hear back. “Naturally I am already aware my efforts are unlikely to be successful, especially prior to the game's release due to how game certification works, but my hope is either the mod use issue has already been solved or it can be patched post-release.”

There’s plenty more for iamashaymin to be thinking about in the world of Star Wars video game modding. He’s the current lead developer of the Battlefront 3 Legacy modding project. This mod for classic Battlefront 2 aims to recreate the experience and content of the canceled Star Wars Battlefront 3 from 2008, once in development from the defunct Free Radical.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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