Almost two years after the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, it would be natural to assume that Star Wars Battlefront 3 was at least in the planning stages, but according to one developer, that’s not the case. There was a two-year gap between the first and second Star Wars Battlefront games from developer Dice, and it typically releases a new Battlefield title every year or two as well. Even beyond Dice, the idea that a popular multiplayer franchise doesn’t have a sequel in development after two years is unusual.
Battlefront 2 has grown in popularity recently, but at launch, it was somewhat of a debacle. Fans lashed out against the game’s heavy use of loot boxes to lock away content that was nearly impossible to earn through gameplay alone. EA’s infamous response, that it was done to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes” was the most downvoted post in Reddit’s history and was turned into a meme. The state of Hawaii even launched an investigation into EA for what it called predatory practices impacting children. EA responded by turning off all microtransactions, and eventually building the game back up into something worth playing. Regular content updates have included more in-depth content for popular Star Wars characters, new player characters, and new game modes.
With sentiment for Battlefront 2 the highest it’s ever been, design director Dennis Brännvall told PCGamesN that a sequel is not in the works during a Gamescom interview. According to Brännvall, it’s not just a change of priorities for Dice, but a shift in the games industry in general.
“We were so used to the chain of sequels, where we do a sequel then we do a season pass for a year then move onto the next game. I think the industry has changed on that… before it was very transactional and we made the game and we signed up for 4 DLCs and then that’s it. So then you focus on getting value to players out of what they paid for and if there was a system that wasn’t working then you put a pin in that and say we will fix it in the sequel.”
All the work that Dice has put into revamping Battlefront 2 since its release could help explain why a sequel isn’t in the works just yet as well. In a way, it feels like the game has been relaunched, and the time spent making new content for it certainly ties up team members and resources that could otherwise be focused on Battlefront 3. Rather than saving improvements for sequels, the team at Dice seems to be focused on getting things right with the game they already have out, which makes for a better player experience and certainly a better reputation for Dice. Says Brännvall:
“You’ll see us really overhauling bits that aren’t working and not be afraid of changing things, which means that your community is happier because it’s a better game overall.”
While it’s unusual to see a big developer like Dice focus on improving an already-released game at the expense of selling a sequel, it’s heartening to see it try to do right by players. There’s certainly an element of self-interest in it as well - players may not have been eager to buy another game after the disastrous launch that even Brännvall called “rock bottom” for Dice - but in the end, Battlefront 2 is still a much better game now than anyone suspected it could be in 2017. If Star Wars Battlefront 3 does become a reality one day, it will likely be much better for the time spent polishing its predecessor.