Star Wars: Battlefront 2 devs constantly ask themselves what if the game hadn’t launched the way it did

By Sherif Saed
23 August 2019 13:33 GMT

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 may be in a different place now if launch coverage wasn’t dominated by talk of its monetisation problems.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has largely changed from its 2017 launch version. Developer DICE overhauled progression to eschew game-critical loot boxes, and made cosmetic content purchasable directly rather than as part of the RNG.

In the time it took the team to essentially retool the game, months passed without new content. Now, nearly two years later, many would argue Battlefront 2 is worth playing now more than ever. But DICE never stopped asking the what ifs.

“Not a week goes by without us thinking, ‘Imagine if we hadn’t launched with loot boxes the way we did,'” admitted design director Dennis Brannvall in an interview with GamesIndustry.

“We would have been a different place, that’s for sure, because we truly believe the game is a worthy sequel to Battlefront 1 and lives up to the legacy of the Battlefront franchise.”

Brannvall says the radical changes the team made to the game post the fan and critical backlash are comparable to what Ubisoft has done with Rainbow Six Siege, turning its fates around.

“We really needed to take a step back and do some house cleaning — not completely dissimilar to Rainbow Six Siege. They didn’t launch the way they wanted, but now it’s doing well and I think we’re on a similar trajectory,” said Brannvall.

By committing to Battlefront 2, DICE managed to turn opinion around. Not only that, Brannvall revealed that EA’s continued investment into new content is a response to the game’s active community, something that, in the past, wouldn’t have stopped the company from green-lighting a sequel anyway.

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“Battlefront 1 felt like we were in the sequelised transition phase, in that we knew the end date of Battlefront content before we launched it. So if there were systems in the first game that might not be working, we could prioritise fixing it for the sequel,” explained Brannvall.

“With this one, we challenge ourselves to undertake big overhauls of systems that aren’t doing as well as we hoped because this is it, this is the game we’re going to be working on. That’s when it feels like more incremental — there’s client patches every month, new features added, whereas in Battlefront 1 we were patching it every quarter with a big DLC and it was mostly for paid users anyway.”

At gamescom this week, DICE revealed a content roadmap that includes a new co-op mode, the return of classic Battlefront’s Instant Action solo mode, new units, maps as well as Rise of Skywalker content – all due out before the end of the year.

Brannvall says more content is coming to Battlefront 2 this year than the game’s first year, which isn’t common for two-year-old games.

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