- 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 response that only made fans angrier.
A new “Star Wars” game is days from its big debut, and one of the top posts on the game’s Reddit page is instructions for canceling your preorder.
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 $60 and is scheduled to launch on Friday 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 discovered it would take dozens of hours to unlock the characters. Alternatively, you could pay real money for randomized, 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 favorite characters! Explore famous locales from the “Star Wars” universe!
The previous “Battlefront” game had no such system. You bought the game for $60 – and perhaps the downloadable content that came out later – and that was it.
In “Battlefront 2,” you are offered the option of buying “loot crates.” You don’t have to – they’re earned through playing the game. But EA is incentivizing players to buy loot crates by locking characters behind a gate that can be unlocked only with those in-game credits. You could spend dozens of hours playing the game to unlock these characters, but for many people, the point of buying the game is to play as these characters.
Thus, EA’s choosing to lock those characters has been received poorly. The California-based game publisher’s response to fans over the weekend, however, sparked more outrage.
People latched on to the first line: “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 is the ongoing debate over how games handle microtransactions – specifically, over when and how it’s OK to charge players money.
In the case of “Battlefront 2,” fans feel that the game’s developer is putting important content behind a gate that can be unlocked only by spending a massive amount of time or real money. And that’s after spending $60 or more on the game itself.
Here’s how one Redditor put it in their 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.
Update: On Monday evening, the game’s executive producer John Wasilczyk issued a statement in response to the backlash. “There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader,” Wasilczyk said. “Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed.”
As a result, the game is being patched to significantly lower the amount of time it takes to unlock the hero characters. It’ll take 75% less time to unlock Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Iden Versio (the game’s main character).