The 12 Days of Star Wars: Battlefront aka EA, What’s Wrong with you?

Gather around children, let us tell you a tale of the time before MMOFPS and the PSN. Before the dark time of DLC and micro-transactions, there was a time of innovation and a time of imagination. It was the time of the PlayStation 2. The Sony PS2 will probably go down in history as one of the best consoles ever. The sheer depth and richness of its back-catalogue would by itself go a long way to ensuring that, but so too would be its inclusive use of local multiplayer. Many afternoons were spent among friends switching between the worlds of TimeSplitters, Tekken or Wipeout. In 2004, there came a game series that would forever ingratiate itself in to collective gaming history; Star Wars: Battlefront.

Battlefront was developed by Pandemic Studios and published by the late and great LucasArts, the company behind the Monkey Island series and until its closure every Star Wars game imaginable. As its name may suggest essentially a clone of the Battlefield series with a nice coat of Star Wars paint and enough tweaks to make it special.  Players could enlist as one of the humble infantry units of the Republic, Separatists, Rebels or Empire. Featuring locations and maps from both the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War, Battlefront gave us one of our first looks at the Wookiee home-world of Kashyyyk which wouldn’t be officially seen on-screen until the following year. Star Wars may have focused on the leaders of these grand armies, but Battlefront put you in the boots of the every-man who were often sacrificed for the greater good. Against all odds, Battlefront became the no.1 selling Star Wars game of all time and would have probably remained so for quite some time had it not gotten a sequel just a little over a year later.

Star Wars: Battlefront II was released the same year as Revenge of the Sith and took full advantage of the additional locations, units and music it had to offer. It added the ability for skilled players to assume the role of hero characters during matches. Those able to rack up enough points could play as the  famous faces such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Boba Fett and Vader or more obscure character such Aayla Secura, Ki-Adi Mundi or Asajj Ventress. You’d never know which hero character you would be given during any individual match and because there were so many, it encouraged you to get better so that you could try them all. It vastly improved the formula its predecessor had established by adding space-combat and a new “Hero Assault” mode which allowed every player access to the hero characters for a no-holds barred battle royale. Not only did it have a solid co-op campaign, but its multiplayer kept many of us up until all hours chanting that self-destructive mantra; “just one more game”. Oddly enough, despite its huge success, the Battlefront series would go into hibernation for the next decade or so. Like Kasier Soze, it had appeared and disappear in a breath. Fans longed for a third installment that, outside of a few inferior portable spin-offs, appeared to be nothing more than h. Then something strange happened, something nobody has anticipated at the time. Disney bought the Star Wars licence and soon EA began working on a new entry in the Battlefront series. We should have known it was too good to be true.


November saw the released of the confusingly titled Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) developed by DICE and published by EA. Its graphics may be gorgeous. Its sound design may be beyond compare. Its music may be engrossing. It may be quite enjoyable to play.  It may be one of the most accurate representations of the Star Wars universe in gaming to date, but this beauty is merely a facade to cover up unscrupulous business practices. The new iteration of Battlefront is simply not worth your time or your money. On the surface, it’s a fine game in terms of mechanisms and the all-important fun factor, but its an incredibly shallow experience. Battlefront will keep you entertained, but only for about an hour or two because that’s how long it takes to see everything that the game has to offer. It is multiplayer only, with the only single-player offerings essentially amounting to glorified training missions. The lack of a single-player campaign would be fine if the available mode and maps upon release were enough to make up for it, but not so. It is inexcusable for a company to release a premium, full-priced game without a single-player campaign when the Day 1 content is as paltry as Battlefront’s. EA tried to justify this choice on the basis that Battlefront II‘s campaign was nothing more than a series of bot-filled matches. The argument simply doesn’t hold water. The Battlefront II campaign told the rise of the Empire from the perspective a lone member of the 501st legion. Acting almost as the autobiography of an unnamed Clone Trooper under Vader’s command, it may not have been the most rebust of stories, but we weren’t expected something of akin to Knights of the Old Republic. Outside of Spec Ops: The Line or Bioshock, we tend not to expect the pinnacle of video game story telling, but we expect something nonetheless. Even if we were to accept that Battlefront II has a poor single-player campaign, that wasn’t a reason to not try. I may not like the Call of Duty games, but I respect the fact that even though they survive mainly off the back of their multiplayer, they still recognise the value of a solid single-player campaign and do their best to ensure it is as engaging as a piece of popcorn gaming can be

The issue with Battlefront unfortunately lies in EA’s  business strategy, a type of corporate arrogance that has begun to permeate throughout the industry. Day 1 DLC has been a fact of life for gamers for sometime. For many years, de facto DLC has existed in the form of expansion packs, but those tended to be released months after the core title’s launch date. It was clear that DLC had begun to dip into dubious realms, but provided that the main game provided enough content we were satisfied. However, companies like Capcom and Konami soon began to stretch the bounds of reason with the level of micro-transactions and DLC that they forced on gamers. It became clear that often what was labelled as “DLC” were things that gamers had come to expect to be included in the core package. EA have through Battlefront dropped all pretenses of selling a full and complete product to their consumers. EA’s audacity is made even clearer through its advertisement of the season pass on the main menu. They have offered a bare-bones gaming experience with the promise to provide a more complete package to those willing to pay fifty dollars for its season pack. What’s in the season pass? Nobody know, it remains in a mystery box which we are supposed to subscribe to on faith alone. EA and the games industry as a whole, no longer deserves that level of trust. If you are enjoying Battlefront, that’s fine, but the game is systematic of something deeply wrong in the industry. To buy Battlefront in its current form, is to vote against your interests as a consumer by approving of EA’s strategy and rewarding them for selling you an incomplete game. Reject this offer, wait for a better deal. If you need your Star Wars fix, hop onto Steam and get yourself a copy of Battlefront II because the Battlefront you loved is dead and gone, its with LucasArts in the grave.

Join us tomorrow as we look as the pinnacle of Star Wars gaming; Knights of the Old Republic. In the mean time, check out yesterday’s article on Marvel’s Star Wars comics. Only two more days until The Force Awakens, I’ve got a good feeling about this.

Gary Moloney
Gary Moloney
Some would say that he is a mine of information, too bad most of it is useless. You can read his own comic work over on Follow him on Twitter @m_gearoid.