Now LucasFilm (and parent company Disney) have weighed in on the situation, which clearly shows just how damaging this whole story has been to the Star Wars brand - and with Episode VIII - The Last Jedi just a few weeks away the last thing Disney wants is to mire the brand in controversy.
The statement was issued to the Washington Post and reads the following:
"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."
However, the story doesn't end there. In fact it seems like it could have been Disney/LucasFilm's decision to make EA pull the real-world money side of Battlefront 2. The Wall Street Journal reports how hours before the microtransactions were pulled there was a phone conversation between Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division on behalf of Disney bosses, and EA boss Andrew Wilson - where Disney showed their deep unhappiness with how EA had handled the situation and how the outrage "reflected on their marquee property."
With physical sales of Battlefront 2 down a massive 60% on Battlefront 1, it seems the controversy has indeed reached the mainline news.
We have to wonder, with EA's bungling of both Battlefront 2 and their other Star Wars game in production, plus the factor that there have only been two games released in the entire 4 years EA have had the license, will EA actually have the Star Wars license for much longer?
Following the terrible response players and the media have had to Star Wars Battlefront 2, in particular the way the game funnels players towards Loot Crates for everything in a transparent attempt to get people to buy them with real money, EA has issued a statement and, as of now, have turned off all microtransactions within the game.
Unfortunately the problems with Star Wars Battlefront 2 remain, and it may be too little, too late.
DICE's statement can be read here in full, from general manager Oskar Gabrielson and presumably authorized by EA. Here is the main part of it:
"It's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
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."
Previously Microtransactions were uses real money to purchase Crystals, which can buy Loot Crates. Here is how much these Crystals cost:
- 500 Crystals for £3.99/$4.99
- 1000 for £7.99/$9.99
- 2100 for £15.99/$19.99
- 4400 for £31.99/$39.00
- 120,000 for £79.99/$99.99
Unfortunately, that's not the end of problems, and even without the Crystals/Microtransactions EA and DICE have left Star Wars Battlefront 2 in a sorry state. We've been playing it since the "launch" and already things are a mess. Credits are slow to get, Heroes are still locked and that's obviously the first thing we want, and Loot Crates are shockingly expensive considering literally everything in the game is about earning them.
As you can see in the picture above, a standard Loot Crate costs about 2000 Credits - you only earn 200-300 Credits in a match. The main issue players and media alike always have had about EA's Crates is that they don't just contain emotes and cosmetic items, they contain vital Star Cards which give players major bonuses - and are the only way players can level up their classes.
Venturing into Star Wars Battlefront 2 literally the second it officially "launched", we were surrounded by players with Class levels of 12+, filled with the most advanced Star Cards. Literally around 60-70% of our deaths in one Galactic Assault match came from Thermal Detonator grenades thrown by players with the Improved Thermal Detonator Card ranked to maximum, making them far more lethal with a rider range - something that should not be prevalent so soon in a game's lifespan, and yet everyone seemed to have it. Since the Beta, Heroes (surely the biggest draw) have been bumped from requiring 5000 Match Points to access during a game in the beta to a massive 8000 Points, meaning that regular players who don't level up massively won't ever get to play a Hero.
Clearly Star Wars Battlefront 2 has a long way to go, but the problem is whether EA truly want to listen to complaints. All of these issues were stated clearly during the beta and they've only got worse, not better. Reducing the price for Locked Heroes is nothing when you can't actually get enough points to play them in a match, and having the whole game revolve around these expensive Loot Crates will put people off very quickly. We loved the beta, but we've only played the main game for less than a day and we're already kind of fed up with it.
We don't think that just temporarily turning off real-world Microtransactions will make Star Wars Battlefront 2 any better.
Look for our review coming soon.