Star Wars Battlefront 2 Dev Reflects On The Game's Two-Year Recovery

"Imagine if we hadn't launched with loot boxes the way we did."

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Star Wars Battlefront II design director Dennis Brännvall feels that the first-person shooter is in a good place. Having been the subject of a major loot box controversy when it launched in 2017, Battlefront II has slowly been regaining its player base over the past two years thanks to well-received updates and much-needed patches. In 2019, Battlefront II is almost a completely different game--on the multiplayer side anyway--and Brännvall believes players are truly beginning to see it.

"We hit rock bottom in terms of player sentiment but now it's climbing every month," Brännvall said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "We're delivering more content this year than we did in the first year, which is also a sign of a healthy game. The community's happier than it's ever been, especially with the big announcement yesterday. I think we had to take a step back, the team had to look at itself in the mirror a little bit, pick ourselves up from a really rough Christmas for everyone and then just get back to work."

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The announcement Brännvall is referring to is the massive series of content updates that are scheduled to hit Battlefront II before the end of 2019. This month, Republic Venator and Separatist Dreadnought warships are being added to Heroes vs. Villains. Changes are also being made to the interior of capital ships in Capital Supremacy--the 40-person game mode that combines land and space battles in the same arena. In both Capital Supremacy and Instant Action, you'll also gain the option to spawn on command posts as well, not just squadmates or respawn points. Droids are also getting new cosmetics appearances to earn and unlock.

In terms of larger changes coming later in the year, Battlefront II is getting Republic Commandos as playable characters, a brand-new planet to play on, and a new co-op focused PvE experience that's similar to 2005 Battlefront 2's beloved Galactic Conquest mode. There are a few more things scheduled for 2019 as well and, surprisingly, DICE is looking at more Battlefront II content in 2020 as opposed to moving production towards a new Battlefield.

"DICE has been on the sequel treadmill for quite a while, and I think the industry is changing rapidly," Brännvall said. "We felt that, and we know that we want to build communities rather than customers. That's been a change in our approach. We want to stick with our games a lot longer, and we want our communities to feel like they're well taken care of."

"It makes no sense to constantly try to stop them playing the game they like and make them play the new game they also should like just because we don't want to work on the old game anymore. It's not good for the community, and in this age, if it's not good for the community it's probably not going to be good for business either. That's why we're sticking with it."

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Battlefront II's redemption is one of the most well-earned comebacks in the game industry in the past few years. Though the single-player story campaign still isn't very good, the multiplayer has seen huge updates that have drastically changed the game for the better. All of Battlefront II's updates have also been free and on a near-constant monthly basis as opposed to the costly quarterly updates seen in the first DICE Battlefront. In respect to the community, DICE has structured many of these updates around the most beloved aspects of the recent Star Wars lore, such as The Clone Wars, and fan-favorite games like Republic Commando. As someone who dropped Battlefront II within a month of its release, the past year of content drops has completely changed my opinion on the shooter. If you haven't played Battlefront II in a while, you should reconsider trying it again.

"Not a week goes by without us thinking, 'Imagine if we hadn't launched with loot boxes the way we did,'" Brännvall said. "We would have been a different place, that's for sure, because we truly believe the game is a worthy sequel to Battlefront 1 and lives up to the legacy of the Battlefront franchise."

Battlefront II is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game comes included in an EA Access/EA Play subscription on Xbox One/PC.

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