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EA discusses why it didn’t stick to cosmetics for Battlefront II loot boxes

The controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II has been going back and forth for a while but since switching off microtransactions, EA has been pretty quiet on the subject. Now, the publisher's CFO, Blake Jorgensen has elaborated a bit more on EA's decisions leading up to release, specifically addressing the subject of cosmetic loot boxes.

At the Credit Suisse Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Jorgensen started off by talking about the decision to switch off microtransactions: “We pulled off on the MTX, because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic. The reality is there are different types of players in games. Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time. You want to always balance those two.”

Jorgensen is right that gamers were very concerned about Battlefront II's ‘pay to win' nature. Meanwhile, cosmetic loot boxes likely would have been accepted without much hesitation. However, it seems that potential ‘violations' of the Star Wars canon kept EA/DICE from going down that route:

“The one thing we're very focused on and they are extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars. It's an amazing brand that’s been built over many, many years, and so if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon, right? Darth Vader in white probably doesn't make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don't want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don't think that's right in the canon.”

Now, in the aftermath of Battlefront II's release, EA is looking into things the company can do cosmetically instead: “There might be things that we can do cosmetically, and we’re working with Lucasfilm on that. But coming into it, it wasn’t as easy as if we were building a game around our own IP where it didn’t really matter. It matters in Star Wars, because Star Wars fans want realism. But Star Wars fans may also want to tailor things — a different colored lightsaber, things like that. So you might see some of that.”

The main issue with the argument of violating the Star Wars canon is that Battlefront II already does this in its multiplayer. There are maps where you can have Darth Maul face off against Rey, or maps where Yoda can be on the same field as newer characters. With that in mind, having a white version of Darth Vader doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, it would look potentially silly, but it would have been a lot better than trying to sell Star Cards.

KitGuru Says: I have no doubt that LucasFilm has some strict rules in place when it comes to outside companies creating content based on Star Wars. Those restrictions may well have been why cosmetic boxes were off the table in the first place. However, it seems that following on from this, EA and LucasFilm may be able to find a decent middle ground. Whether or not Star Cards will remain inside loot boxes is still up in the air though. 

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9 comments

  1. Hey EA….um
    . you are aware that you don’t have to put loot crates and other microtransactions into a game. Just saying that you could invest the time and energy into the game itself.

  2. “The one thing we’re very focused on and they are extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars.”

    Oh sod off Blake. You used pay-to-win contents, not out of respect (you’re both EA, and the CFO Blake Jorgensen, respect ain’t in you matey-boy), but because you and your team believed it would tempt more people to buy them. LucasFilm did not step in on this one. They, through their own work and licenced products, have demonstrated that cannon does not matter. None of this is respectful, none of this is a service to the player, it’s all total bullsh!t.

  3. Typical twat pulling any excuse out of his ass, both BF2 and the reboot already through “canon” out the Window in their multiplayer games. You’ve had none canon cosmetics in the previous game already, female storm trooper? And you can take the helmet off? Do you know nothing EA!?

  4. People with more money shouldn’t get to skip progression. There is no “balance” to find because it’s plain wrong.

  5. Yet a pink fucking Vader lady is totally okay in the commercial? lol…

  6. Somehow I doubt EA will give a shit about “canon” when they have to issue a profit warning for next quarter.

  7. “We pulled off on the MTX, because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic. The reality is there are different types of players in games. Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time. You want to always balance those two.”

    In other words, EA doesn’t care about the gameplay experience and just wants to find the bottom of each and every gamer’s wallets.

    As for the cannon gibberish, that’s basically EA saying “Sorry Disney, we really like Star Wars. True story, Picard is my favourite.”

  8. If I had to hazard a guess as to why they care much about canon at all, it would be because Disney tells them they have to care. I can’t imagine they would intentionally forgo such easy skinning cosmetics just because of some garbage canon…

  9. To me this is total bull pucky. You use these excuses yet it was you that made the choice to turn a nice game into a pay to win game. Yes you may be able to finish it without spending another dime I am not totally sure about that since I have not bought the game yet or plan to in the future. I was looking forward to this game until all this bull pucky came about. BY trying to do things like this you probably lost a high number of buyers like me.

    Here’s the thing you make the money up front form the game sale trying to pad the bank account by putting stupid crap like this into the game only hurts sales of the game and probably future games as well. Is it worth the loss of sales to try and pad the bank accounts and suck more money out of our wallets. You may want to sit down and think about that for a while and maybe next time just make a good game and hope it sells well.

    Now if you have to put micro transactions into the game DO NOT MAKE IT A PAY TO WIN type thing. Just give us the choice of buying purdy little trinkets or some toon skins to make them look different. It was bad enough that a lot of games in not so long ago past started having parts of the game removed so it could be sold as DLC 2-3 weeks later now we got this happening as well…pretty sad indeed.