As if millions of 30 and 40-something voices cried out in delight, and were suddenly interested. If you're an ageing nerd who loves a bit of Long Time Ago / Far Far Away but worried that DICE's upcoming original trilogy shootybang game Star Wars: Battlefront [official site] would involve far too much fraternising with terrifyingly skilled and extremely sweary children, rest easy. The offline solo mode is so central to it that even the upcoming beta will include a taste of it. Also that beta will be freely open to everyone, so you don't need to get involved in icky pre-order schemes.
It's hard to say at this stage if all three maps and modes in the beta will feature in the offline mode, but the wave survival mode set on Tatooine certainly will.
There's also going to be a king of the hill-style mode called Drop Zone, which in the beta will be set on the planet of Sullust, though the full game will also stage this mode on Star Wars' holy trinity of plantery bodies, Endor, Hoth and Tatooine. More details on that here.
As for getting in and exact dates, it's still a case of watch the skies, but at least there's confirmation that anyone can play. Write EA: "We're excited to say that the beta is open to everyone! Get ready for the beta release date and also make sure your system is ready to download the beta the moment it goes live." Which I guess means clean all those copies of the Star Wars Holiday Special off your hard drive to make sure you've got room for this thing.