The monetization controversy that hit Battlefront 2 is unlikely to be repeated, as per Patrick Söderlund.
EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 is starting to find some solid footing after the publisher revamped its progression system. Premium currency will be returning but it will now be used to purchase cosmetics from an in-game store. All gameplay elements like heroes, Star Cards and so on are all available through gameplay.
The backlash certainly pushed EA to change course so what guarantee is there that future titles like Anthem and the next Battlefield won’t suffer? Patrick Söderlund, who’s gone from EA head of Worldwide Studios to chief design officer said that company will “learn from” the mistakes of Battlefront 2. He spoke to The Verge and said that the controversy “had an effect on EA as a company and an effect on us as management”.
“We have taken significant steps as a company to review and understand the mechanics around monetization, loot boxes, and other things in our games before they go to market. For games that come next, for Battlefield or for Anthem, [players have] made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t,” he said.
The intent behind Battlefront 2’s loot boxes was for more people to play after release. “And like a lot of other games on the market, to be able to afford to do that we had an idea of getting returns from that.
“But at the same time, we got it wrong. And as a result, we had to take very quick and drastic actions to turn everything off, and we’ve since worked and redesigned the progression system. People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers. People seem to think that for the most part, we got it right…we’ll have to be very cautious with what this means for future products.”
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Anthem and the next Battlefield won’t have kind of microtransactions, it’s unlikely that gameplay elements are tied to RNG loot boxes. Even games like Middle-Earth: Shadow of War are turning back on gating key gameplay elements behind loot boxes. EA’s track record definitely warrants a “wait and see” approach though so stay tuned for more information.