Many have asked why DICE chose to put game-impacting content in Star Wars Battlefront II‘s Crates, rather than inoffensive cosmetic content like in the loot boxes of Overwatch. Publisher EA has an answer to this question, which is to protect the sanctity of Star Wars’ canon.
Speaking at the recent Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen discussed the contentious, loot box-focused progression system of Battlefront II. When asked why the developer didn’t simply stick with cosmetic content- such as skins- to avoid an imbalanced competitive scene, Jorgensen explained that it was important to not “violate the canon.”
“The one thing we’re very focused on and they’re extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars,” Jorgensen said. “It’s an amazing brand that’s been built over many, many years. So if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon. Darth Vader in white probably doesn’t make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don’t think that’s right in the canon.”
The backlash surrounding Battlefront II and its progression system was record breaking, even resulting in a petition to have the rights to the Star Wars license taken away from the publisher, but Jorgensen still considers the game a success.
“The great news is this is one of the best games we’ve ever built,” he said. “And we’re hearing that from the players who are actually playing the game and engaging in the game. The retention day over day is better than we’ve seen in almost any of our games. The depth of the gameplay is incredible. The size of the game is incredible. And we’ll be adding in the next couple weeks, more content than we’ve ever added in a game before.”
EA has announced that Battlefront II‘s recently removed microtransactions would be returned in some capacity, but players have yet to learn when or how. Jorgensen had no new information this, but he claimed that the publisher is not giving up on devising a form of monetization that will sit well with the community.
“We feel like we’ve nailed that in the sports games, and we’ll continue to try and find the best model that works in the non-sports games.”
EA’s confidence was further demonstrated when Jorgensen recently assured investors that the company doesn’t expect any loses over the axing of microtransactions. Without microtransactions, players will need some serious grinding to unlock all of Battlefront II‘s content, as long as they don’t make alternative means of progressing.