The first game birthed from the 10-year partnership between Disney’s Lucasfilm division and video game publisher Electronic Arts was a mixed success. Star Wars: Battlefront, when first announced, was exactly what Star Wars gamers had been waiting years for, especially after seeing gameplay and art from the cancelled Battlefront 3.
Unfortunately, like most licensed properties, the game was built for a release date above all else, and developer DICE had to have the game ready in time for the theatrical return of the Star Wars film saga in December 2015 when The Force Awakens released. That meant the game had no story campaign, no space battles, smaller player counts than DICE’s other shooter franchise (Battlefield), and simplified gameplay. For Star Wars: Battlefront II, they’re aiming to do right by fans.
During today’s Electronic Arts Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call, executives answered many questions about EA’s recent financial results and some forecasts for the future of key franchises, including this fall’s Battlefront sequel. When asked about what the plans and expectations are for DLC and/or a season pass for Star Wars: Battlefront II EA’s big selling point before the Q&A session moved on to other topics was the exciting, very simply and meaningful statement that Star Wars Battlefront II is “three times the size of original game at launch.” That’s a much needed and significant investment in resources to address feedback of the original game, which despite beautiful visuals and authentic sound design, was shallow and lacking.
Battlefront 2 is 3 Times Larger Than Battlefront 1 At Launch
As for numbers, EA reports that they sold 14 million in first year for Battlefront 1, and are forecasting same for first year of the sequel but realistically expect more. Given the brand power and undoubtedly, the expectations from Disney (let alone, the fans), it’s an absolute must that EA’s triple-A Star Wars games are game of the year contenders. Missteps aren’t acceptable and can tarnish brands and sub-brands, which is especially troublesome at the very beginning of the 10-year Disney-EA licensing deal. They have multiple games in development, including games from Visceral and Respawn Entertainment so Battlefront 2 needs to set a higher bar as the example going forward.
The feedback to the Battlefront 2 reveal at Star Wars Celebration, of the story campaign, of the new Imperial heroine, of space battles, etc. was “almost entirely positive,” EA claims. EA is not ready to talk specifics of DLC and/or Season Pass type post-launch content but promise details at E3 2017 and the tie-in EA Play event being hosted by Electronic Arts just outside of it like last year. Rumor has it there’s a VR component to Battlefront 2 coming at least to PS VR that’ll be revealed in June.