The swirling fan furore surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II has put EA firmly on the back foot, trying to react and redress the game’s microtransactions to something less objectionable. The ideal solution would be to turn the game’s controversial loot crates from containing game balance altering items to cosmetics that flesh out the game’s visual design.
In the last couple of days EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said that cosmetics aren’t likely to come to the game’s rescue, saying that EA and LucasArts are very keen not be “violating the canon of Star Wars,” continuing with an extreme example with Darth Vader. “Darth Vader in white probably doesn’t make sense compared to Darth Vader in black. Not to mention you probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink—no offense to pink, but I don’t think that’s right in the canon.”
The thing is that this misses the point entirely. He says that this would be messing with a brand “that has been built over many, many years,” and that “It matters in Star Wars because Star Wars fans want realism.” All of this matches with a Venture Beat report from earlier this month, which suggests that LucasArts vetoed the idea.
However, this excuse doesn’t make sense when it’s being applied so selectively in a game series that is all about slightly off the wall “what if?” scenarios. Battlefront II features Clone Wars era battles in which you can have Rey and facing off against Darth Maul in battle, your all in black and definitely not pink Darth Vader can fight alongside Kylo Ren to seize Echo Base on Hoth. Heck, the 2015 Star Wars Battlefront featured plenty of customisation for your characters, letting you pick different heads and hair styles – I actually spotted my chosen head and hair combo appeared on some Rebel troopers in the single player campaign.
The real problem with this reasoning is that it is so very specific and ignores all the places where you could apply cosmetics to the game. Darth Vader is always going to be in black, Yoda is always going to be a tiny little green dude, but Luke Skywalker had plenty of outfits through the films, DICE gave Han a beard in the single player, Boba Fett could have a Jango Fett skin turning his armour blue, and so on.
Additionally, the simple act of playing as a hero is an edge case within the game, where you’ll spend the vast majority of your time as a regular trooper. There’s tons of potential for cosmetic items here, which could simply be letting Storm Troopers take their helmet off in battle. The Clone Wars animated series has shown that even when most of the characters are identical clones, they can have scars, grow beards, different hairstyles and more, and that’s not to mention the plethora of different races that the Rebel Alliance and Resistance can draw upon. Design Director Dennis Brannval even suggested that the team are working on a range of cosmetics for the game.
No, it won’t be the same as Overwatch where all of the characters have roughly equivalent numbers of different skins and emotes, but it’s stupid and a falsehood to say that cosmetics can’t feature more heavily in the game and be a potential route out of the microtransactions mire that EA have found themselves in.
via Ars Technica