EA’s newly appointed company chief designer, Patrick Söderlund admits they “made some mistakes” by including loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Sönderlund explained why EA decided to include loot boxes into Star Wars Battlefront II. “We had the intent that was designed for us to have more people play it over a longer period of time.” But, the inclusion of loot boxes quickly backfired and resulted in many issues for EA, including politicians looking to classify loot boxes as gambling. “We got it wrong,” Sönderlund explained. “And as a result, we had to take a very quick and drastic actions to turn everything off, and we’ve since worked and redesigned the progression system.” In the latest patch, EA has unlocked all heroes, which were previously locked in loot boxes.
The inclusion of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II became extremely controversial once players found out that progression and heroes were locked behind a random number generator. This resulted in players boycotting the game, while others shared their concerns via social media. EA made a statement about the issue on Reddit, which quickly became the most downvoted post in Reddit history.
After all of the backlash and controversy, EA is trying to remedy the negative perception Star Wars Battlefront II has within the wider gaming community. “We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realise that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them,” explained Sönderlund. “We have taken significant steps as a company to review and understand the mechanics around monetization, loot boxes, and other things in our games before they go to market.”
For those concerned about future EA titles, Sönderlund states they have listened to customer feedback. “For Battlefield and Anthem, [players have] made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t.”