Among the most tormented launches in recent years in the videogame area and even more generally in the entertainment sector, Star Wars Battlefront II is undoubtedly placed in the very first positions of this unfortunate ranking. The title of Electronic Arts and DICE indeed has undergone, even before the day one, ferocious criticism from gamers and experts specifically for the “peculiar” system of progression of their in-game character.
Between loot boxes and microtransactions, the most frequent criticism was initially that of having launched a video game that is too similar to one of the many slot machines present in all Casino Games at Virgin Casino trying to get as much money as possible from the many fans of videogames and of the imaginative science-fiction universe created by George Lucas and now in the hands of Walt Disney.
The game announcement was so difficult that Electronic Arts and DICE decided to retrace their steps and totally eliminate the presence of the so much hated microtransactions. After a few months from all these events, Patrick Soderlund, EA’s executive vice-president, during an interview with The Guardian, decided to return to the matter and express his point of view on the incident.
Soderlund started talking in general about the management of a large team in the entertainment sector: “I think that just like any creative way you run a great team, you have to realize that not everything you do will be successful. Any developer on Earth can testify this. When things do not go the way you thought they would go you must be very humble, have an honest approach with yourself and with the result and try to do better next time. This was an example of a change that did not work”.
He then went into the matter of Star Wars Battlefront II’s microtrasactions: “There is no way to escape from the fact that we took some decisions that, in retrospect, I think we should not have taken. Neither the developers of DICE nor we in EA had the intention to create a slot machine or squeeze money out of people even if this was the perception.”
In short, Soderlund with his statements sincerely admitted that there were errors in the management of the progression system of Star Wars Battlefront II’s characters, but that the intention of all parties involved in the creative process did not want to be the one that came to the large gamer community, and not only because some governments had declared they wanted to investigate the phenomenon to understand if everything could be considered a masked gambling game.
Undoubtedly the choice to retrace their steps has benefited Electronic Arts but how much will the publisher have to recover on its heavy image damage? Some recent news that puts the company at fifth place among the most hated companies only behind Equifax, Fox Entertainment Group, the NFL and the University of Phoenix, makes us understand that there’s still a long way to go and certainly not easy.
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