I think it’s safe to say that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was a real scandal for Electronic Arts and a negative impulse for the whole community of developers who tend to use loot boxes in their titles. The game’s loot boxes and progression system were unbalanced enough at launch that made some countries to take action against loot boxes in video games. Aside from the awful reception of the fans, it also ruined every potential the game had for a strong sequel to Battlefront 1. All these reasons have made the development team always blame itself for launching the game in such a situation. Dennis Brannvall, design director behind Star Wars Battlefront believes that if the game had launched without loot boxes now things would be much better for them.
Speaking to Games Industry, Brannvall admitted the team’s big mistake on the progression system in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and its undeniable dependency to loot boxes. Right now, Battlefront 2 is a different title compared to what it was at launch. Not every multiplayer game has a great launch but long-lasting support with an accurately planned roadmap could get it out of the critical situation. This is what DICE is attempting to do for Battlefront 2. The team believes that the 2017’s Star Wars title is going through the way that Rainbow Six: Siege has successfully passed when it was launched, though I don’t believe Battlefront 2 could offer an addictive multiplayer experience like R6: Siege. Brannvall says:
Not a week goes by without us thinking, ‘Imagine if we hadn’t launched with loot boxes the way we did. We would have been a different place, that’s for sure, because we truly believe the game is a worthy sequel to Battlefront 1 and lives up to the legacy of the Battlefront franchise.
We really needed to take a step back and do some house cleaning — not completely dissimilar to Rainbow Six Siege. They didn’t launch the way they wanted, but now it’s doing well and I think we’re on a similar trajectory.
Battlefront 1 felt like we were in the sequelised transition phase, in that we knew the end date of Battlefront content before we launched it. So if there were systems in the first game that might not be working, we could prioritise fixing it for the sequel. With this one, we challenge ourselves to undertake big overhauls of systems that aren’t doing as well as we hoped because this is it, this is the game we’re going to be working on. That’s when it feels like more incremental — there’s client patches every month, new features added, whereas in Battlefront 1 we were patching it every quarter with a big DLC and it was mostly for paid users anyway.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.