After struggling through one of the most famously catastrophic launches in years, it sounds like Star Wars Battlefront 2 is turning things around. Associate design director Dennis Brännvall told GamesIndustry that it "hit rock bottom in terms of player sentiment" thanks to the furor caused by the game's aggressive loot box implementation, but nearly two years later, "the community's happier than it's ever been."
"We really needed to take a step back and do some house cleaning—not completely dissimilar to Rainbow Six Siege," Brännvall said. "They didn't launch the way they wanted, but now it's doing well and I think we're on a similar trajectory."
Brännvall said EA is putting out more content for Battlefront 2 now than it did during the game's first year of release. The community is happier now, and as a result so is the development team. "Now it's a lot of fun," he said. "It wasn't that much fun in the spring of 2018. That wasn't the best time at DICE, that's for sure."
Interestingly, EA's approach to Battlefront 2 has been fundamentally different from its predecessor right from the beginning. Brännvall explained that the developers knew Battlefront 1 was going to be one year of DLC in a season pass so that's how they approached it, but for Battlefront 2, "we challenge ourselves to undertake big overhauls of systems that aren't doing as well as we hoped because this is it, this is the game we're going to be working on."
"That's when it feels like more incremental—there's client patches every month, new features added, whereas in Battlefront 1 we were patching it every quarter with a big DLC and it was mostly for paid users anyway. Yes, there were some bug fixes, but it was mostly for paid users. Now it's always for everyone," he said.
"The team enjoys working on it a lot more because you feel like you're building up a community. It feels a lot more personal, and it's just a better game. It's more about improving the game rather than always providing value to the customer, which I think is the approach with a season pass."
DICE recently unveiled the Battlefront 2 development roadmap for the remainder of 2019, which will see the addition of a new map, "contextual spawning"—the ability to spawn on controlled Command Posts—a new four-player co-op mode, and in December, content inspired by the upcoming film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will include a new planet and reinforcements. Details will be revealed when the new content is closer to release.