As Star Wars: Battlefront II still tries to recover from its loot box scandal, one of EA's biggest names promises that the company has learned from its mistakes and will try harder in the future.
Failing to be the big hitter that EA expected it to be, Battlefront II was one of 2017's most memorable gaming flops. Grabbing headlines for a different reason, the Star Wars gaming franchise inadvertently sparked the fiery debate around the use of loot boxes in games.
While some are unwilling to forgive what happened with Battlefront II, EA's newly-appointed chief design officer is looking back at the whole sorry mess and vowing to do better. Speaking to The Verge, Patrick Söderlund admits that the game has been a steep learning curve for those involved:
“We have taken significant steps as a company to review and understand the mechanics around monetization, loot boxes, and other things in our games before they go to market. For games that come next, for Battlefield or for Anthem, [players have] made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t.”
Highlighting that the Battlefront II debacle had impacted EA as a whole, Söderlund is clearly taking the whole situation very seriously. There was a major company reshuffle which led to his appointment as chief design; however, his position of power hasn't stopped him addressing the elephant in the room when it comes to Battlefront II's misstep:
"At the same time, we got it wrong. And as a result, we had to take very quick and drastic actions to turn everything off, and we’ve since worked and redesigned the progression system. People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers. People seem to think that for the most part, we got it right...we’ll have to be very cautious with what this means for future products.”
For those who need a refresher, the use of Star Cards became even more important for Battlefront II. Although EA improved on 2015's original game by adding a single-player story, the big lure was still Battlefront's online multiplayer. As microtransactions and loot boxes became more of a necessity to improve teams and climb through the ranks of the Resistance or the Empire, the consensus was that some players were gaining an unfair advantage through the use of real money.
Söderlund may be bravely looking to the future, but are his words a case of too little, too late? Loot boxes are still a hot topic at the moment, and from Battlefront II's aggressive marketing to its dwindling odds of players getting their hands on Darth Vader, it has been highlighted in the industry as one of the worst offenders. Elsewhere, Battlefront II is still trying to shed the loot box melodrama with the introduction of its "Night on Endor" update alongside some playable Ewoks, the long-awaited season 2 content, and a push for Crystals currency to be spent on "Appearances" and not Force-choking the competition.
While loot boxes don't seem to be totally gone just yet, at least major companies like EA are shifting focus onto cosmetic gains rather than a "play to win" style of gaming. As Söderlund promises, upcoming titles like Battlefield and Anthem will be taking a different approach, so here's hoping everyone can put this ugly Star Wars: Battlefield II blunder behind them.
Source: The Verge