Despite allegedly selling over 14 million copies within six months of release and offering one of the most authentic Star Wars experiences possible, Star Wars Battlefront was mildly disappointing, to say the least. While even the game’s most vocal critics couldn’t find fault with Battlefront’s graphics and sound effects, that the game lacked some rather basic elements like a singleplayer campaign, or any depth beyond being a multiplayer shooter, or meaningful customization and progression options (among other things) was rather crippling in regards to its long-term performance. This unsurprisingly led to discontent among the game’s audience, with the game receiving an average a review score of 73 on Metacritic.
In all fairness, the core gameplay of Star Wars Battlefront was rather enjoyable even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, but, in what some may say is typical EA fashion, the game’s archaic DLC model put the final nail in the coffin of the game’s potential. While it is unquestionable that the Star Wars brand, and the marketing potential that comes with it, drastically helped Star Wars Battlefront perform as well as it did, most people would presumably be unwilling to pay full retail price for a multiplayer-only game that doesn’t really offer anything new compared to all the other options out there (see Battleborn). After all, Battlefront may have sold well, but from a consumer’s point of view, what good is a game that sells well when no one on your friends list is playing it months after release, especially when you know that the game’s population is spread out over who knows how many DLC maps?
On the bright side, EA seems to have taken at least some of Battlefront’s criticisms seriously; the trailer for the game’s sequel, creatively titled Star Wars Battlefront 2, confirmed that there will be a singleplayer campaign that puts you in the boots of an Imperial soldier after the Battle of Endor (which in itself is rather rare among anything Star Wars related), space battles in some form or another, and Battlefront 2 will let you play across all of the eras featured in the movies. Furthermore, Bernd Diemer, the creative director of Battlefront 2, has stated that there will be no season pass specifically because it would fragment the community. In regards to the gameplay, there will be more vehicles that you can actually control, along with the return of more traditional multiplayer classes (or at least that’s what the pre-order bonuses imply). Taken at face value, this makes it seem like Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be the Star Wars game that everyone wanted two years ago, but as we all should know by now, pre-release promises mean nothing.
As far as the campaign goes, EA has shown that they are capable of creating fairly decent singleplayer campaigns, so in that regard there shouldn’t be too much to worry about (see Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, etc.). In a somewhat ironic twist, however, the fact that there is no season pass may be the cause of some concern, primarily because no one knows what will inevitably replace it. One possibility is that cosmetic microtransactions will make an appearance in Star Wars Battlefront 2, another (based on the pre-order bonuses) involves the selling of weapons, weapon attachments, and ability packs. In any case, suspicion is warranted here as EA has very rarely given away meaningful content for free, though it isn’t unprecedented (see Mass Effect 3 multiplayer). Either way, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that this is the largest concern for most of the people who are in the game’s target audience, as many of them are likely aware of the effects that DLC has on a multiplayer game’s quality and potential longevity.
Fortunately for EA, this holiday season isn’t exactly packed with competitors. As far as anyone knows so far (until E3), the only game that can conceivably share the same audience with Star Wars Battlefront 2 is Destiny 2, a sequel to another game that also had a lot of potential but ultimately fell short. For what it’s worth, people aren’t carpet bombing Battlefront 2’s trailer with dislikes a la Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare either—as of this writing, it has almost 7.5 million views, over 200,000 likes, and almost 8,500 dislikes, which is a fairly good sign—so whether due to poor memories or legitimate excitement, people are at the very least curious about the game. Ultimately, only time will tell whether or not EA truly learned their lesson from the feedback that the first Battlefront received, but they are in an exceptionally strong position this holiday season if they can manage to assuage fears that Star Wars Battlefront 2 will just be another pretty looking game with no substance.
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