When it launched in 2017, Battlefront II was folded into this lootbox plan. It drastically failed and EA was forced to pivot towards the more accepted cosmetic-only microtransaction model. This worked for a long, long time.
Too long, in fact. As EA focused harder on monetized live services, likely at the behest of Disney, the company started cancelling more and more Star Wars projects.
Each time a game was cancelled, a hole was formed in the original timeline. Starting in 2016, EA announced a plan to release one big Star Wars game every year until 2020.
EA has cancelled three Star Wars projects to date. The three major Star Wars projects cancelled by EA include:
- Project Ragtag (2017) - EA cancelled this game in 2017 and shuttered Visceral Games at the same time. It was ultimately killed because it didn't fit with EA's live service scope. Project Ragtag was a third-person action-adventure game set around bounty hunters andvery far into development before it was cancelled. It would've featured a multi-perspective cinematic story arc.
- Project Orca (2018) - EA Vancouver's Project Orca game was cancelled in 2019, and used the original assets of Visceral's Project Ragtag. EA Vancouver had been helping Visceral on Ragtag, but they rebooted the project once they took over in 2017. Orca was open-world, but we're not sure if it was a live game.
- Project Viking (2019) - When EA cancelled Project Orca, EA Vancouver moved to a smaller-scale project. This was Project Viking, a Battlefront spin-off that was cancelled in early 2019. Not a whole lot is known about Viking, but it was described as an open-world game set in the Battlefront franchise. It could've also included live elements of some sort.
Battlefront II was extended with tons of free updates and content to keep the revenue gateway open. The truth is Battlefront II was never meant to live this long in this kind of capacity. It wasn't meant to be the bridge across a long span of game cancellations. The idea is to release a new live game to hand-off the baton to another title. Battlefront I held the line in 2015, then passed on to Battlefront II in 2017, two years after it's release.
That didn't happen in 2019 because no live game was prepared. Instead, EA released Jedi: Fallen Order, a singleplayer-only game that complemented BFII quite well and showed EA that not every Star Wars game needs to be monetized (but we still think the next game will be).
Now that the game is retired, the Star Wars franchise won't have an engagement mechanism to churn and spark monetization. Battlefront II isn't going offline, but it's updates are stopping. To understand why this is a big deal, we have to understand how engagement works.
Last updated: May 5, 2020 at 08:13 pm CDT
- Page 1 [Battlefront II's retirement]
- Page 2 [EA's live service empire]
- Page 3 [Battlefront II's unnaturally long lifespan]
- Page 4 [How live game engagement works]
- Page 5 [EA Motive and it's 'very unique Star Wars experience']
- Page 6 [What's next for Star Wars]