Posted on Monday, November 13th, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Update: Electronic Arts has heard the internet loud and clear and has changed course on character unlocks for Star Wars Battlefront II. You can find all of the details below.
The Star Wars Battlefront video games are glossy, expensive, highly polished experiences from a major developer. They are also just a sleek update on how you used to play with your Star Wars action figures – timelines don’t matter as characters from different eras clash against one another in locations they never visited. And that’s okay. That’s what playtime is all about.
A new live-action Star Wars Battlefront II trailer knows this, tapping into the nostalgia inherent in anyone who has grown up with this universe. It’s lovely, really. And of course, it arrives just as Battlefront publisher Electronic Arts shoots itself in the foot with the most hated Reddit comment of all time.
That Lovely Live-Action Star Wars Battlefront II Trailer
Let’s start with the warm-hearted (and admittedly cheesy as hell) advertisement, which follows two Star Wars fans who grow up taking everything a little too seriously. I like to think I’m immune to marketing that tries to gut me and spill my nostalgia all over the floor, but I’ll just be honest. This one got me. It’s too cute. It’s too hokey in the right ways. It gets the heart of what makes the Battlefront series fun in the first place – this is your chance to role-play Star Wars! And that’s fun!
Of course, this trailer doesn’t feature any actual footage from the game’s single-player story, which is set after Return of the Jedi and puts you in the shoes of an Imperial operative working to preserve the failing Empire. It also doesn’t feature any footage from the game’s multiplayer, which is the real draw and the component that should keep players occupied for months to come. But it does a fine job of selling the idea of this game and its predecessors. Eat your heart out, Don Draper. Or Space Don Draper. Hey, Lucasfilm: Mad Men, but on Canto Bight. You’re welcome.
EA Shoots Itself in the Foot
However, all is not well with Battlefront II. Electronic Arts has the habit of angering video game fans like no other company, often inserting ridiculous monetary systems into their games to squeeze more cash out of players or forcing multiplayer into single player games, often in an attempt to force players to keep playing and to keep spending money. The most recent controversy is a little different and the company’s response has become the most downvoted post in Reddit history.
The short version: in order to play as various heroes and villains in Battlefront II, players have to invest a number of hours into the game, earn in-game currency, and spend it to unlock characters. That’s fairly normal. That’s just game design. That’s progression. However, gamers did the math and realized it would take 40 hours of gameplay to unlock Darth Vader, which is an unreasonable thing to ask of anyone who isn’t a teenager with a holiday break on the horizon. And then EA jumped into a Reddit thread about the issue to explain the reasoning for this particular design decision:
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well, with many users accusing the company of forcing players to face an uphill battle or pay extra cash to unlock characters faster. The post currently has 367,000 downvotes from Reddit users. The previous record holder for most downvoted post had 11,996.
Update: Electronic Arts has released a statement from John Wasilczyk, an executive producer at Battlefront II developer DICE, that states that they have been listening to fans and will reduce the number of credits required to unlock characters:
So, we’re reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits. Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players.
You can read the whole statement at the link above.
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