The controversy surrounding unnecessary and sometimes predatory “loot boxes” in gaming has led to a massive pushback in the industry. Some countries have made loot boxes illegal, while EA completely changed the progression system and loot box practices of Star Wars: Battlefront II after an overwhelming amount of pushback from consumers.
Thankfully, the hard, viral lessons major companies have learned over the last few years are that you can’t milk your fanbase dry, and you can’t see a full-price game then expect people to pay more in order to stay competitive. Battlefield V is emerging from Battlefront II‘s crater with a better plan.
After some gentle ribbing on the subject by Battlefield V reveal show host Trevor Noah, RockPaperShotgun’s Edwin Evans-Thirlwell talked to DICE senior producer Lars Gustavsson, and came right out and asked about the elephant in the room:
RPS: How have your problems with Battlefront’s microtransactions influenced the design of Battlefield V?
Gustavsson: I think for me personally, and primarily, I’ve been with the franchise since 1942, and we’ve continued down the path we set out a long time ago, which is that Battlefield is all about rock-paper-scissors – there shouldn’t be a superior weapon on the battlefield. You can extend your arsenal but there’s only different tools for different situations, and for your playstyle rather than better weapons [per se]. I think the big way forward here for us is what we’re doing with Tides of War, in removing the Premium Pass, as that means we unify the community and everything gameplay-related, and the only way of progressing is through play. That’s important to us, it’s always been that way for Battlefield – we live and die by our rock-paper-scissors guns. And then of course we add a layer of customisation and portraying yourself, which you can earn through playing the game and getting rewarded for special events in Tides of War, but also the opportunity of paying for what you like.
RPS: So the microtransactables will all be cosmetic elements?
Gustavsson tried to dodge the issue somewhat, but IGN was able to confirm that you will not be able to use real-world cash to buy a ridiculous amount of loot boxes that will give you passive bonuses or upgraded weapons. This, combined with their new policy of putting out a game and keeping the community together by not releasing expensive DLC, is a big deal.
It seems like gamers voted with their wallets, and won.