Yeah...good luck with that.
The Feature: First- or Third-Person View
The Function: Did you know that both original Battlefronts allowed you to switch from FPS to TPS and vice versa? Yes, this includes in-vehicle views, too. The change is made via the pause menu, but here's the kicker: both games also have fully customizable controls - so you can map a button to switch views without pausing. On top of that, both views had a zoom function (scoped view for FPS, and zoomed over-the-shoulder for TPS) for precision aiming. Apparently Pandemic couldn't decide which type of shooter they wanted to create, so they included something for everyone!
The Future: Apart from games that include this function that really only serves a purpose in certain contexts - like the Metal Gear Solid games - I only know of one shooter that can switch views freely, and that's Tribes Aerial Assault. It's an incredibly player-friendly option that I'd like to see more often, and not just as a cop-out for splitscreen (looking at you, GRAW 2).
The Feature: Dedicated Servers...on PlayStation 2
The Function: Only one console game supported a standalone PC-dedicated server before Battlefront, and that's the aforementioned Tribes: Aerial Assault. (Coincidentally, Tribes was also the first online shooter game for the PlayStation 2.) In both cases it worked really well, and thanks to the foresight of each subsequent developer we can still today fire up a server from home, custom stat tracking and all. Try doing that on Chromehounds, Mercenaries 2, or All Points Bulletin...
The Future: The good news is that dedicated servers for consoles seem to have evolved into a console-hosts-console situation, with no PC involvement. Whether this is to deter cheaters or is simply a limit in development time or technology, it's a step forward from the days before Star Wars Battlefront II...and a step backward in the days since.
The Feature: Player Classes
The Function: You know...the class system has really been abused since it's infusion from RPG-style games into the FPS mod Team Fortress. Star Wars Battlefront was an early adopter of player classes, but went a step further for Battlefront II and locked the more powerful classes at the beginning of each match. Players who performed well were allowed to then respawn as their choice class, often some type of officer or - in the case of the Rebel Alliance - a Wookiee.
The Future: Class systems are for balance and will likely be around for a long time. My official opinion is that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare improved on it by allowed players to customize a class, which Battlefield: Bad Company 2 also mimicked. Halo: Reach disagrees.
That's all I have for now, but to be honest I could spend all weekend dissecting the Battlefront games. They're a staple of my early adulthood and left their mark on this semi-casual gamer. Thanks for helping me celebrate this personal favorite of mine.
If you haven't ever tried either game, Star Wars Battlefront II is available on Steam for a limited time for $5.00 US (75% off). I highly recommend it for a fun bit of casual throwback gaming.