- Fans are outraged at the newest “Star Wars” game, “Star Wars Battlefront 2.”
- They’re mad because classic “Star Wars” characters like Luke Skywalker aren’t unlocked as playable characters.
- The game’s maker, EA, issued a statement in response that only made fans angrier.
A new “Star Wars” game is just days from its big debut, and one of the top posts on the game’s Reddit page is instructions for how to cancel your pre-order.
That’s because fans of the “Star Wars Battlefront” series are outraged that major characters are unavailable to play from the start of the newest game in the series, “Star Wars Battlefront 2.” The first-person shooter “Star Wars” game costs $US60, and is scheduled to launch on November 17 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Characters like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia — so-called “Hero” characters in the game’s multiplayer mode — require in-game credits to be unlocked.
Redditors did the maths, and discovered that it would take dozens of hours to unlock the characters. Alternatively, you could pay real money for randomised, virtual “loot crates” that contain the currency used to unlock Hero characters.
One Reddit user summarized the situation concisely: “Many believe that this ridiculous grind is a way to encourage microtransaction purchases.”
In this way, you’re not directly paying to unlock the Hero characters; instead, you’re paying for the chance of earning virtual currency that can unlock those characters.
After unlocking them, you can play as those Hero characters in various online multiplayer modes.
It’s a major selling point of the “Battlefront” series, offering “Star Wars” fans a greatest-hits version of the beloved sci-fi universe. Play as your favourite characters! Explore famous locales from the “Star Wars” universe!
The previous “Battlefront” game had no such system. You bought the game for $US60, and perhaps you bought the downloadable content that came out later, and that was it.
In “Battlefront 2,” you buy the game for $US60 and are offered the option of buying “loot crates.” You don’t have to buy them — they’re earned through playing the game. But EA is incentivizing players to buy loot crates by locking characters behind a gate that can only be unlocked with in-game credits — credits earned from loot crates. You could spend dozens of hours playing the game in order to unlock these characters, but the point of buying the game for many people is to play as these characters.
Thus, EA choosing to lock those characters has been received poorly — especially given the perception that the lock is a means of encouraging players to buy in-game items. The California-based game publisher responded to fans over the weekend, and the response sparked more outrage.
People specifically latched on to the first line from the response: “The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.”
Backlash on the game’s Reddit page has been swift and damning:
At the heart of this outrage, beyond “Star Wars Battlefront 2,” is the ongoing debate over how games handle microtransactions.
Essentially, “When and how is it ok to handle charging players money in games?”
In the case of “Battlefront 2,” fans feel that the game’s developer is putting important content behind a gate that can only be unlocked by spending a massive amount of time or real money. And that’s after spending $US60 or more on the game itself.
Here’s how one Redditor put it in response to EA’s statement:
“Locking iconic characters behind credit walls that will take dozens of hours to get one is just insane, especially when I am willing to bet you have tons of heroes planned which will be behind similar paywalls? You cannot ever attain a sense of pride and accomplishment from that, because most sane people will give up long before this.”
EA’s community team Reddit account hasn’t said anything since Sunday, and a representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.