Star Wars Battlefront 2 was facing a crisis with a massive community backlash over the combination of microtransactions and a progression system that made the multiplayer shooter pay-to-win. The development team at DICE responded on the eve of the worldwide launch on Friday by announcing the removal of in-game purchases for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC shooter.
Reviews for Star Wars Battlefront 2 generally praise the game’s addition of a single-player campaign and multiplayer improvements over the initial 2015 effort from DICE. However, the loot boxes and progression system has dragged the overall review score on Metacritic down to a 74. Meanwhile, the user scores are even worse, as the game was review bombed with a whopping 0.8 negative review score.
DICE has nibbled at the edges of the issues with Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s multiplayer by first removing epic rarity Star Cards from loot boxes and making them only available through crafting. The studio then responded to the stratospheric in-game credit cost of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker by slashing the price for those heroes and others by up to 75 percent.
While these moves were appreciated by Battlefront fans, it was seen as not even a half-measure and a distraction from the larger pay-to-win mechanics in the game. DICE hosted a Reddit AMA Wednesday with the Star Wars Battlefront 2 associate design director, executive producer, and producer attempting to answer a torrent of questions from the community. The passion and frustration of the fans was clear as the director and producers promised they were listening, but gave vague answers on how they would go about fixing the issues.
The studio’s first step to fixing Star Wars Battlefront 2 is clearly a win for the community that fought to have their complaints heard. All in-game purchases have been turned off.
“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.
“We have created a game that is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Star Wars Battlefront II is three times the size of the previous game, bringing to life a brand new Star Wars story, space battles, epic new multiplayer experiences across all three Star Wars eras, with more free content to come. We want you to enjoy it, so please keep your thoughts coming. And we will keep you updated on our progress.”
Again, this is a clear win for the Star Wars Battlefront 2 fans and community. The scheme of using loot boxes to supplement revenue in full-priced AAA releases have come under increasing scrutiny over the past year, but reached a tipping point with Battlefront 2.
The ability to spend $100 on loot boxes to gain an instant advantage over those who don’t combined with the massive grind required to unlock the necessary Star Cards to be competitive was simply a bridge too far. It will be interesting to see if other developers and publishers take some lessons from DICE and Electronic Arts experience with future titles.
[Featured Image by DICE/Electronic Arts]