It’s been ten years since Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Now with a new one finally arriving this year, can it live up to expectation? The anticipation surrounding Battlefront is already substantial despite a lack of real details about the game. With only a single trailer, showing the developers having a grand old time examining all the film props, the hype as of yet, is unfounded. While speculation flies round the web, we only have to look to last year to see how dangerous this rampant spread of rumours can be. With 2014 being such a disastrous year for Ubisoft’s reputation, EA has the chance to rid itself of the mantle of the world’s most hated games company. EA has the potential to dominate E3 this year with more details on Battlefront and the possible announcement of Mass Effect 4.
This game has been a longtime coming. Indeed, Battlefront was almost never developed. However, thanks to DICE’s lobbying, they were allowed to take on the project. Clearly DICE are passionate about the game, but with Battlefield: Hardline releasing at the same time, one hopes that their efforts have not been too divided. What is most worrying is that last year several AAA titles were released in unacceptable states, Assassins Creed: Unity being the worst offender. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens also being released this December, Star Wars mania will be at an all time high. There is no way that EA will allow DICE to miss this deadline. With this looming deadline, the incentive for EA to insist on a rushed product may prove to hard to resist. EA has acquired a bad reputation for its use of ‘crunch time’ to overwork its devs in order to get the game out on time. This attitude might harm the finished product, as EA scrabbles to cash in on the new film. Memories of Battlefield 4’s server issues, which marred DICE’s last release, spring to mind.
Even if Battlefront is finished, games have changed a lot since Battlefront 2 in 2005. Bot support is rare, and local multiplayer is on the decline. The games industry seems to be forgetting that some people actually enjoy the company of others and on occasion would like to play games on the same system. Will Battlefront lose split-screen and have its bots torn out, just as DICE removed them from the Battlefield series in Bad Company? These days, games are plagued by micro-purchases, allowing snot-nosed brats to spend their parents money on unlocking everything without playing a second. No doubt Battlefront will receive some variety of premium DLC subscription that ends up costing more than the game itself and divides the player base. Have fun defending ECHO base as some 11-year-old insults your mother before shouting about how Attack of the Clones was the best, then guns you down in his pay to win AT-AT. Even though the multiplayer and single player in old Battlefront games was identical, it never felt like a multiplayer game. Instant Action mode was at the core of the games enjoyment, but with the Battlefield model of having to pay to host a server if you wanted a custom game, perhaps it might not even be included.
Despite the cynicism, perhaps all this will be proved wrong. DICE have proven that they are capable of epic infantry vehicle gameplay and some modern tweaks to the series would be welcome. Perhaps this time next year we’ll be trusting our feelings as we hurtle down the Death Star trench, shouting ‘cover me porkins’ to our friends (playing split-screen). But even if Battlefront turns out to be an online multiplayer-only, pre-teen-infested, pay-to-win, pre-order bonus, Jar-Jar-ridden corpse of a once loved series, at least there’s a new Star Wars film…