This weekend, the highly anticipated seventh installment in the Star Wars saga has been released by director J.J. Abrams and the folks at Disney and Lucasfilm. EA had the marvelous idea of releasing the newest Star Wars Battlefront game right before The Force Awakens came out (and coincidentally, right before the holidays), but was this a wise decision? What we ended up getting was an incomplete version of what could have been the best Star Wars game of all time with a $50 season pass which includes 16 new maps and four new game modes, four times as many maps as are in the original title. This a complete ripoff! But that’s beside the point. Should EA have waited, given the game a little more development time, and released it after Episode VII?
Spoilers aside, a new group arises from the ashes of the Galactic Empire 30 years after its demise: The First Order. The Resistance, a fringe group/offshoot of the New Republic battles The First Order to maintain peace in the galaxy. How cool would it be if Battlefront incorporated aspects of the galactic setting of The Force Awakens alongside the era of the Original Trilogy? And while we’re talking about that, why not throw in the Clone Wars era. Whether you love or hate the prequels, the battles in the Clone Wars were spectacular (just play Battlefront II). With a bit more development time, the game would even be able to have a campaign mode, which was one of the highlights of the original games. A Star Wars game and campaign spanning three generations of Star Wars history would be spectacular and well worth the wait, even if EA was so keen on releasing it to coincide with both the film’s release and the holidays.
Meanwhile, how’s that working out for them? GameStop’s CEO Paul Raines has come out and said that sales were lackluster.
“We’re not going to quantify it in terms of actual numbers, but we had high expectations that diminished somewhat as it got closer and it failed to hit those lowered expectations.”
When I boot up a brand new game and the first thing I see is an ad for a $50 season pass, not to mention the fact that the future DLC has a much wider variety of maps than what the game launched with, I wonder why I even spent $60 on the initial game to begin with. Four maps is absolutely pathetic and there is no defending it. EA and DICE, a developer I once respected, completely dropped the ball with this and turned what could have been one of the most memorable games in recent memory into a cash-in. This is incredibly sad, both as an avid gamer and as an avid Star Wars fan. A campaign mode spanning the Clone Wars all the way up to before The Force Awakens begins? That’s roughly 50 years of Star Wars history to work with and DICE could have made the definitive Star Wars game. Instead we’re left with, well, a barebones title with four maps, no campaign, and a $50 season pass that gives us at least four times as much content as the game launched with.
If the initial sales indicate anything, fans simply aren’t putting up with this kind of behavior anymore from developers and publishers. Releasing an incomplete game is unacceptable and paying in excess of $100 for the finished version of a game is beyond ludicrous. EA should be ashamed of themselves, and hopefully fans will not buy the DLC and send the company a message. Star Wars is one of those special franchises with a very unique fanbase who don’t tolerate these kinds of practices. The franchise has even birthed its own official religious sect, called Jediism. For all we know the game is finished but EA is holding back the rest of the content to release it as DLC, which is again, sickening.
Star Wars is a magical franchise. If the game had waited a few months and incorporated aspects from both the prequels and the sequels, it would have been both the definitive Star Wars and Battlefront game. Instead, EA played it safe, stuck with the Original Trilogy setting, and released a measly four maps for the game, with no campaign mode whatsoever. There is so much missed potential here for a title that people have been waiting ten years for (almost exactly). EA may rectify things via DLC, but the damage is already done. Hopefully this sends a message to other developers and publishers that this kind of practice is not going to be tolerated.