Monday, November 13, 2017

EA Adjusts Requirements To Unlock Heroes In 'Battlefront II' Amidst Fan Backlash

By: Dominic Jones

Electronic Arts announced today that they will be making a small, but important change to Star Wars Battlefront II in response to a growing fan backlash.  The backlash started on Reddit on the r/StarWarsBattlefront subreddit when fans discovered that in order to unlock iconic characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker they would have to invest large amounts of time playing the game or pay an additional fee, on top of the price of the game, to unlock the characters.

EA first response to the backlash was widely derided as out of touch and condescending.  The company initially claimed that "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."  

The backlash got so intense some EA employees began receiving death threats.  

EA has just released a new statement from DICE executive producer John Wasilczyk, promising to adjust the game to allow players to more easily access the iconic heroes.  The major change is that the cost to unlock certain characters has been decreased by a significant margin.  Originally, the cost of characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader has been decreased from 60,000 credits (which would require approximately 40 hours of gameplay) to 15,000.  A portion of Wasilczyk's statement reads

"So, we’re reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits. Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players.

It's a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly. It will be live today, with an update that is getting loaded into the game."

It should go without saying that EA was wrong to set the price to unlock their most iconic characters so high.  The company has not had the best few weeks when it comes to Star Wars with the cancellation of Visceral's Star Wars game (and the shut down of the studio as a whole), and this whole controversy did very little to repair their reputation among Star Wars fans.  At least, they listened and made a real change to the game.

More importantly, however, it should also go without saying that sending death threats over video games is unacceptable.  People who engage in that sort of behavior are a dark spot on the fan community and should have no place in fandom.  As badly as EA treated their fans, those who chose to send death threats over it are far worse.  There are ways to effect positive change in Star Wars and gaming--cancelling your pre-order, voicing your displeasure in a mature way on social media, etc.--but harassing and threatening EA staffers is not the answer and is never acceptable.

Star Wars Battlefront II hits shelves on November 17th.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


andy said...

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