‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’ ditches the Season Pass (maybe) and its fractured community

Image: Dice

Star Wars: Battlefront II‘s creative director confirmed something we’d been hoping for in an interview before today’s announcement: there’s no season pass for the game this time around.

Assuming things stay that way and there’s kinda-maybe-possibly a chance that they won’t, as you’ll soon read it suggests that Star Wars: Battlefront II is coming together with an eye toward keeping the community whole long after the game is released.

That was a big problem with the first Battlefront from DICE, released in 2015. The multiplayer-only game felt sparse at its $60 launch price, but it slowly evolved over four post-release map packs, each priced at $15. A full year after its release, Battlefront finally felt complete.

Unfortunately for players that stuck around, the economics of post-release downloadable content (DLC) created a problem. As time went on and fewer returned for the new content drops, a shrinking number of people had access to absolutely everything. That, in turn, made it more difficult to find matches or even play with friends who hadn’t kept on top of add-ons.

While the details of Star Wars: Battlefront II‘s post-release life remain vague, we can confirm one major change: the Season Pass which amounts to a discounted DLC pre-purchase is no more.

Bernd Diemer, DICE’s Battlefront II creative director, confirmed it outright in a chat ahead of the game’s Star Wars Celebration 2017 reveal: “We don’t have a season pass.”

Now, that could just mean you won’t be able to pre-purchase $15 map packs this time around. But Diemer’s explanation suggests a more significant change.

“We decided on that, and it’s one of those difficult decisions because it has so many implications all around,” he continued. “When we looked at the way Battlefront had evolved over its lifetime, with the DLC and everything, we decided, ‘You know what? For this type of game, season passes are not the best thing. We need to [take it apart] and come up with something better.”

It’s clear that this decision was rooted in a core idea: “We don’t want to segment our community,” Diemer said.

“I cannot talk about the specifics of this, but we have something different in mind that will allow you to play longer, be [more] invested in the game without having a fragmented community.”

Diemer admitted that it’s “dangerous” to the health of a game’s community when new maps and new modes are locked behind a paywall. It creates a situation where, as he put it, “the community is falling apart because there are simply not many people playing the different modes.”

“So we definitely want to avoid that.”

One day after our interview, EA reached out to ask us to withhold the confirmation that there won’t be a Season Pass for Battlefront II. The reason, we were told, is because they couldn’t definitively say whether that would be the case, despite what Diemer said and expounded upon.

It sounds like they weren’t ready to reveal this information yet, likely because the makeup of the Season Pass replacement hasn’t been nailed down.

EA sent over the following statement to attempt to clarify Diemer’s remarks:

While were not ready to confirm any live service plans just yet, what we can say is this we heard the feedback from our Battlefront community loud and clear. We know they want more depth, more progression, and more content. So were focused on delivering that in every dimension of Star Wars Battlefront II. Well have more to share about our plans soon.

Make of that what you will.

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