As fans all know — and have contested against — EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront did not have a campaign mode, and the reason was never truly explained. Until now.
Patrick Söderlund, EA Studios’ executive vice president, addressed the universal criticism during EA’s Investor Day briefing by saying it was a “conscious decision.” As IGN reports, Söderlund explained the decision.
“Star Wars I think is a game where you have to look at it maybe from a slightly different perspective. Yes we know that the one thing we got criticized for was the lack of single-player campaign in it. It was a conscious decision we made due to time and being able to launch the game side-by-side with the movie that came out to get the strongest possible impact.”
When Star Wars: Battlefront was originally announced back at E3 2013, the game was met with applause on all fronts. When Battlefront released in November of last year, it received generally mixed reviews: critics praised the game for its production value and Star Wars likeness, but criticized it for its lack of content in both single-player and multiplayer modes. (The Xbox One version currently holds a 75 on Metacritic, while the PlayStation 4 and PC versions have a 73 and 72, respectively.) During the original announcement, DICE’s general manager, Patrick Bach, stated that “the game is first and foremost a multiplayer game. Battlefront was a multiplayer game. That’s the game we wanted to create—to recreate the battles of the Original Trilogy.”
It seems Patrick Söderlund and company have learned from their mistake, indicating that a dedicated, fully-realized single-player would be included in the inevitable Star Wars: Battlefront sequel. Söderlund said as much during the briefing.
“The depth and breadth is something that’s proving to be more and more important. In a world where we want $60 upfront and where we expect people to stay with us over a long time, the depth of what we offer is important. We’ve actually had some dialog—Star Wars Battlefront came out and it totally nailed a lot of these factors out there but we got criticized for the depth and breadth of it. As we look at why that was, we have to go back and course correct that for another version if we were ever to build one.”
As mentioned, Star Wars: Battlefront has a consensus of “mixed or average reviews” based on Metacritic’s metric. Söderlund is adamant about improving the next installment.
“I think the team created a really good game based on the premise that we had. I would say the game has done very well for us and reached a very different demographic than a traditional EA game. So from that perspective, it’s a success. Are we happy with the 75 rating? No. Is that something we’re going to cure going forward? Absolutely.”
However, the game was a commercial success, selling well over 14 million copies. Star Wars: Battlefront debuted at number one on Chart-Track, a U.K. sales monitor and reporter site, and was the fourth fastest-selling game in 2015. Additionally, it was the fastest-selling online PlayStation 4 game, beating out Activision’s Destiny. Clearly, a lack of single-player did not affect sales too much: Battlefront exceeded Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, a purely single-player game, in sales by a whopping 117 percent. Still, GameStop president, Tony Bartel, told retail investors that a few key anticipated November releases sold less than the company expected — Star Wars: Battlefront was one of those titles. (Along with Halo 5: Guardians and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.)
So there you have. The reason Star Wars: Battlefront did not have a campaign mode was because EA wanted to get the title out alongside Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was a “conscious decision” to omit the single-player campaign, even though both original Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II featured single-player modes. Makes you wish this latest iteration had a solo campaign. We’ll see if the sequel delivers on its promise.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]