The Star Wars train shows no signs of slowing down. I still feel like I should pinch myself from time to time. There’s nothing quite like a good Star Wars movie. But what about games? EA held an investor call yesterday and was asked just that. Specifically, an analyst asked about the timing of the next Battlefront game.
EA Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen confirmed a sequel is in the works and is coming “a year from now.” We’re looking at an October/November timeframe for the next DICE entry into Battlefront.
“We’re working very hard on making sure that is an extremely deep and engaging offering,” Jorgensen added.
DICE nailed the look and feel of Star Wars Battlefront. But it lacked in an area Jorgensen highlights above. Depth. I played Battlefront an insane amount when it first came out. But it didn’t have the depth to keep me coming back like DICE’s other shooter, Battlefield 4, had. The fact Jorgensen even mentions it shows EA knows it was an issue for Battlefront.
EA still holds the exclusive rights to Star Wars for video games (except for mobile). Most of EA’s studios are hard at work on games in the universe. Visceral Games is tackling an untitled third-person action game while Respawn Entertainment is working on a third-person/adventure game.
What a Battlefront sequel needs
The first thing is obvious. Do what Respawn Entertainment did between Titanfall 1 and 2, and add a story. The more I think about this, the more I hope DICE continues to build on what they did in Battlefield 1. DICE went with telling multiple stories instead of focusing on a single story.
Titanfall 2’s story is one of this year’s best surprises.
That same approach in the Star Wars universe could be incredible. Just imagine starting out as a foot soldier, then playing as an X-Wing pilot. Better yet, let us play as the commander of a capital ship. Then top it off with some Jedi action. I’d pay $60 for a story like that alone.
Alright, DICE. Let us pilot Star Destroyers in the sequel.
Second, free DLC. I know. Star Wars is huge. But I’m getting spoiled by free DLC from other games, and it’s time Battlefront followed Titanfall 2’s lead. Free DLC helps in several areas. It keeps the community from fragmenting. And it helps solve a piece of that ‘depth’ issue. By not locking maps behind a paywall, gamers will be more apt to keep revisiting your game. It worked for me with Rainbow Six: Siege and Halo 5. And it’s going to work the same for Titanfall 2.
Go cosmetic microtransactions instead. Let us paint our X-Wings like Rogue Squadron. Hell, I’d pay for that.
Third, make a deeper game. Jorgensen made a point to say EA is aiming for “an extremely deep and engaging offering.” It sounds easy, but it’s a balancing act for DICE. Star Wars games have the ability to pull in gamers who aren’t playing shooters day in and day out. DICE has to cater to them, but also please their huge base of hardcore shooter fans.
How do you do that? One way is more content. That ties in with the free DLC and the story.
I keep coming back to Battlefield 1, but DICE did a lot right with the game. Could you imagine Operations in a Battlefront sequel? A few dozen Imperial soldiers rushing towards a Rebel stronghold with an Imperial Star Destroyer providing fire support above. Toss in a few walkers and watch the mayhem unfold. Basically, supersize Walker Assault.
Experiment with more game modes. Toss in the class-based warfare DICE does so well in Battlefield. Speeder bike soccer. Ok, I’m kidding about that one. I think.
Battlefront wasn’t a bad game. DICE nailed the most important part with presentation. Now, they just need to flex their developer muscle for the sequel. What three features do you want to see in a Battlefront sequel?