Hours before Star Wars: Battlefront II is set for its official release, EA and DICE have reversed course on their planned microtransaction plans temporarily. The gaming company received hefty criticism ahead of the game’s release for hiding the best content behind pay walls and including a focus on lootboxes and microtransactions to gain power-ups and hero characters for use in the game. The company had already lowered the time needed to obtain hero characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader by 75 percent, but fans were still frothing at the mouth with anger over how the company treated the game.
The lootbox even started to raise eyebrows in regards to gambling, essentially pushing the company and game into a corner and prompting a statement from DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson:
Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.
But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.
The decision comes after a week that most would consider a public relations nightmare, leading to countless memes online and many changing their minds about purchasing the game. It is a game that seems like the easiest thing to get right, especially when you consider the classic entries into the series before the fall of Lucasarts. EA and DICE still managed to enrage fans by attempting to stuff the worst features of modern gaming into their game, ruining an aspect of the experience that many were looking forward to after a somewhat disappointing first installment.
Still, most are still hoping that the game will be fun after this unfortunate moment passes and it is sure to still make a ton of cash. It does raise questions about how far microtransactions will go in the future and if all games will end up falling to this model.