Written by Andrew Busch // Header Image courtesy of EA
EA’s Press Conference kicked off this Saturday with several new reveals that got fans’ attention like the Sci-Fi title, Anthem, as well as the co-op prison escape game, A Way Out. But, let’s get real. The main attraction was all the new news about Star Wars Battlefront II.
Just to give you some context, the past couple of days EA has been teasing a new trailer that featured a brief shot of droids from Episode I: The Phantom Menace unfolding their heads and getting ready to presumably kick some Gungan ass. While I was excited by the prospect of revisiting a type of hunt-style battle that pitted the galaxy’s most annoying race of floppy-eared lizards against some seriously incompetent toaster ovens, the newest reveal that hit the internet today was even more thrilling. EA not only released a cinematic trailer for the next Battlefront title, but also showed off some action-packed gameplay multiplayer footage of a full-scale clone versus droid battle on Naboo.
Even though Episode I is scoffed at by most the Star Wars community I was ecstatic to see an actual playable battle set in the original trilogy. Like many of you, in the first Battlefront, I used to spend hours defending Naboo from an onslaught of droids. And occasionally I would cry when a squad of droidekas rolled up on me, roasted my frail clone body, and proceeded to capture all my objectives. But despite a few frustrations the main thing was that I had tons of fun with this game and it proved to be an integral piece that started my love of videogames. So naturally, when I saw the same battle from my childhood running in Frostbite 4 a single tear of immense joy slipped down my cheek. Star Wars Battlefront II was promising to give me something that I have wanted for over a decade. Immersive prequel trilogy combat with droids, clones, Darth Maul, and freaking laser beams.
But is EA just exploiting some low hanging fruit? The new controller of the Battlefront franchise could technically just be remastering an old map to build their playerbase. They could also easily release another remaster and make tons of money in the process. However, I think that the company is actually listening to what fans want. I can see you getting skeptical. Yes, I bugged your webcam. Just kidding. Or am I? In all seriousness, the main reason I am starting to think that EA is listening and that they actually care about the Battlefront community is because they have revealed all DLC for Star Wars Battlefront II will be free. This is perhaps one of the most surprising announcements that has come out of the company that is continually characterized as money-grubbing and just another corporate titan with a fist in every gamer’s wallet. A company that used to sell DLC for its Battlefield titles at $15 a pop now wants to release all add-on content for free? What’s the catch?
As surprising as this is any gamer would agree with me and say that free is a good idea. However, I am even more excited about the idea of free DLC because as a Season Pass holder for the most recent Battlefront, I felt that the new expansions were underutilized and hurt the community more than it helped. I loved playing on the Death Star as well as storming through Jabbas Palace, but a few weeks after each release matches in the isolated DLC playlists became increasingly hard to find. Keeping the expansions free-to-play is a recipe for success because it avoids the idea of having gamers divided between multiple playlists. Instead everyone will simply be included and unified. It is a fantastic idea and could even have lasting effects on the rest of the gaming industry if it proves successful. EA might have even found the weakness in the grip that DLC has on our wallets. Is this the end to the tyranny that is the paid expansion pass?
In two words: probably not. However, Battlefront II proves to be a thrilling game with the added bonus of free DLC that will give the whole community fresh content instead of dividing it. Currently, EA’s second installment shaping up to be a crowd pleaser that takes a giant leap over the limitations of its previous title. The promise of new content and epic galactic combat spread across every beloved era is a winning recipe that is sure to bring nostalgia as well as excitement to Star Wars fans of all ages.