The CEO of EA has again denied claims that the decision to scrap Visceral’s Star Wars game and close the studio was linked to a strategic move away from single-player gaming.
“You may have heard the conversation around single player versus multiplayer or single player versus live service and [Visceral’s closure] wasn't about that conversation,” he told investors, as per Seeking Alpha’s transcript.
“It wasn't about this was just a single-player game or it needed to be a live service, it was more about how do we get to a point where the overall gameplay experience was right for players. We still believe strongly in a Star Wars IP, Star Wars Battlefront II as you will have heard we're very excited about.
“We're also very happy with some of the assets and content that was created as part of that game development and we'll be looking at how we can better utilize that in line with fan and player expectations in the future.”
Wilson also touched on the subject of loot boxes following not only the industry-wide discussion about their adoption in a growing number of titles but also specifically about their use in the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II.
“There's really two conversations going on there. One is about value. And in a world where a player pays $60 for a game, will there also be value in the ongoing digital ecosystem that comes for many years?” he argued.
“When we think about value, we look at Star Wars Battlefront II and we say, we start with a game that's nearly three times the size of the last game. We take what much of the content that would've been gated behind a Season Pass, and we offer that to the community for free. So we feel very good about the overall value proposition focused on keeping the player community together.
“Then as we think about players that are playing the game for many years post-launch and the digital ecosystem and the event-driven live services that they participate in, it comes down to the second conversation, which is, does the digital ecosystem offer the opportunity for an individual player in the community to pay to win?
“And balance and fairness inside of gameplay is very important to our community… When we think about this, it really comes down to what are the things that you can earn, what are the things that you can buy, and how do we manage progression through that process? … We feel very good about the fact that you can earn almost everything in the game.
“More importantly, key elements that drive progression can only be earned in the game. But there will be an opportunity for players who come in to also enhance and extend their experience through the ongoing digital economy.”
The comments come as EA elsewhere has announced changes to Battlefront II’s loot crate system. Those changes are as follows, as per EA’s words:
- Epic Star Cards, the highest tier of Star Cards available at launch, have been removed from Crates. To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe, and starter packs.
- You'll need to reach a certain rank to craft upgraded Star Cards. You won't be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards. You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game.
- Weapons are locked behind specific milestones. While a select few will be found in Crates, the rest can only be attained by play. Want to unlock a new weapon for your Heavy? Play as a Heavy and you’ll gain access to the class’s new weapons.
- Class-specific gear and items can be unlocked by playing as them. As you progress through your favorite class, you’ll hit milestones granting you class-specific Crates. These will include a mix of Star Cards and Crafting Parts to benefit your class’s development.
"This system, as well as all of the others, will be continually iterated on and improved. As we first announced at EA Play in June, we’re committed to keeping the community together. All upcoming weapons, maps, heroes, and vehicles introduced in Star Wars Battlefront II’s post-release content will be free so that players can play alongside friends as the world of Star Wars Battlefront II continues to grow. We know that the magic is in the balance, and we're going to make sure that we continue to make a game that is fun for everyone."