In the middle of EA’s lacklustre EA Play press conference, DICE’s Denis Branvall came on stage to speak candidly about how they had messed up Star Wars Battlefront II’s launch, how fixing that had thrown their development plans off kilter, and to talk about some of the content set to come. That included the fan pleasing Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous, as well as long requested Clone Wars content in the form of a new Geonosis map.
But a new roadmap published at the end of last week has thrown the fanbase back into the territory of snarky memes and criticising DICE’s efforts. It turns out that Obi-Wan and Grievous aren’t going to appear until this autumn, and it won’t be until winter that the new Geonosis map is released. Judging by the roadmap, DICE will have managed just three seasons of content in over 12 months of what is ostensibly a ‘live’ game.
It hints at a paucity of resources for the continued development of this game, when you consider that by this stage in the first game’s lifespan there were eight new maps in three new locations (Jakku, Jabba’s Palace and Cloud City), four new heroes, and we knew exactly what the future held for the game’s remaining expansions. When DICE can only manage to create one new location in half a year, you have to wonder at the size of the team still dedicated to the game.
Notably DICE stepped away from the idea of bringing back older content from Battlefront 2015, after there was some pushback from the community over this idea and how it might impact the creation of new content.
Whether you have any sympathy after the efforts needed to roll back the troubled loot box system from launch, EA and DICE are dropping the ball in keeping Battlefront II going as a live service. For a game such as this, there needs to be consistent and regular maps, modes, characters and cosmetic additions, but even more than that, there needs to be clarity on what is being delivered and when. Bungie have done a much better job with setting expectations after they announced their own roadmaps for Destiny 2, but the simple fact is that Bungie is a low benchmark to meet when compared to Epic grinding out content for Fortnite.
This entire Battlefront II saga raises big question marks over how EA and DICE will handle and support Battlefield V after its own launch.