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Star Wars Battlefront II and EA have been making a lot of headlines these past couple of weeks, testing the validity of the adage that no publicity is bad publicity. Based on a series of last-minute tweaks to the game to appease fans and some recent statements from Star Wars IP owner Disney, it sounds like maybe some publicity really ain't all that great.
Star Wars has always been about the fans --- and whether it's Battlefront or any other Star Wars experience, they come first. That's why we support EA's decision to temporarily remove in-game payments to address fan concerns.
In case you've somehow missed all of the goings on, Star Wars Battlefront II boasted some systems that weren't sitting too well with players; and that's putting it very, very lightly. While some have argued that folks were simply making a bunch of noise over undesired microtransactions, the issues in this particular game went much deeper. Battlefront II boasts an unrewarding progression system, a totally broken economy and even timers on some of the game modes that prevent players from grinding out progress rather than forking over extra cash for unlocks.
There's a bit more to it than that but, amidst fan outcry, EA and developer DICE decided to roll back some of the top complaints. The cost of some unlocks were reduced and, mere hours before Battlefront II launched, it was decided that microtransactions would be turned off until the rest of the game's systems were retooled.
Over the weekend we got word that Disney's Jimmy Pitaro gave EA's Andrew Wilson a call a few hours before the decision was made to temporarily axe microtransactions. That led to the belief that Disney possibly had a hand in the matter. Now we've got this comment from a Disney/Lucasfilm spokesman about how they are happy to see EA try to fix the whole mess.
This matches up nicely with our speculation concerning the EA/Disney phone call. Disney isn't in the market of messing around when it comes to their IP's, especially if we're talking about Star Wars. We figured only so much noise could be made concerning Battlefront II before Disney stepped in to have a word with EA and, as you likely know, fans made a hell of a lot of noise these past couple of weeks.
Honestly, we wish more games publishers thought the way Disney does when it comes to Star Wars. We don't want to overstate the relationship between players and developers, but the latter can't really exist without the former. We appreciate the desire to make money, but it probably shouldn't be done in a way that is as hostile as what we saw with Battlefront II. There are right ways to go about microtransactions and the like, and the game was simply a shining example of the exact opposite.