I find the current situation that Star Wars Battlefront 2 finds itself in fascinating considering how quickly the community has turned on the game. Since its reveal earlier this year, the game seemingly had everything going for it, the developers said all of the magic words people wanted to hear, and it looked like a more than worthy sequel.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying the game is a lost cause at this point. In fact, it’s likely quite the opposite as I’ve heard the gameplay is actually fantastic and much better than its predecessor. It’s just really interesting how one or two decisions can really undermine the whole thing. Seriously, this whole thing is starting to evolve into a Rebels (fans) vs the Empire (EA) style match up.
Whether or not this outrage was really initiated by Battlefront 2 or has been something that has been building over the last couple of months thanks to the rapid rise of loot boxes, this whole outrage and controversy made me realize just how bad the video game side of the franchise is doing at the moment. When you really analyze the entire landscape of Star Wars video games over the past 10 years, you find that the IP isn’t nearly as strong as it should be. Let take a look at the depressing recent past for Star Wars.
For one reason or another, fans seem unable to finally get that long-awaited bad ass Star Wars video game companies typically promise us. We’ve seen a variety of issues like studios getting shut down, projects being cancelled, or final products just not being as good as everyone had hoped.
This is crazy to me because Star Wars is an IP that is absolutely rich in history and content which should be a perfect match for video games. So why is it so hard to get a game that matches the quality of the franchise in other mediums like the movies?
The downward spiral really started at the tail end of LucasArts, as the developer was deep in production on what looked to be a revolutionary new game: Star Wars 1313. Here was a game that aligned itself with a more mature and gritty style, focusing more on bounty hunters than force wielding Jedi. Based on what little footage we saw of the project, Star Wars 1313 looked to have a cinematic Uncharted style vibe to the IP, something which most fans seemed to be excited by.
As we now know, once Disney purchased the brand, the company essentially ceased internal development of all LucasArts projects and closed the studio. This unfortunately also killed a few third party Star Wars games, such as a pretty cool title centered around Darth Maul.
EA hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with their titles either. DICE’s first attempt at Star Wars Battlefront was solid but generally unremarkable. Most fans were excited by what Visceral Games was cooking up with former Naughty Dog legend Amy Hennig. After nearly two years of development, EA announced just a couple months ago that it was shutting down Visceral, and essentially moving the project to a different studio to undergo a complete overhaul. Reading between the lines, EA intended to strip out the linear single player and story heavy aspects.
The hope for something truly badass now rests on the shoulders of Respawn Entertainment, who in my eyes have yet to disappoint. Both Titanfall games were remarkable and are still incredibly fun. Their policies on DLC and post-launch content have been refreshing when compared to most companies these days. While I’m hopeful that their upcoming Star Wars project can continue this legacy, the company was recently purchased by EA outright, so things could seriously change now that they’re owned and have less control.
It’s been a rougher road for Star Wars fans than it should have been. Even with the PR nightmare that is currently enveloping Star Wars Battlefront 2, it still looks like a well-made title, even with that predatory microtransaction system in place. Here’s hoping EA learns from these missteps and that the future of this IP is much brighter than it currently is now.
Update to a post I finished hours ago and never published for some reason: Wow, I really didn’t see this coming. It’s a step int he right direction and a sure sign that DICE is indeed listening. I mean, it’s hard not to when the outcry has been so loud and unified.