Update, November 17: DICE at one point planned to include a hero shooter-like mode in Battlefront II, supported by cosmetic microtransactions.
Another interesting detail has come to light in the wake of all the controversy surround Battlefront II’s loot boxes. Apparently, there was initially set to be a far more cosmetic set of loot box rewards as part of an Overwatch-style mode, but this was nixed by the Star Wars brandmasters.
Now that you might actually be able to get your hands on some of them, check out our Star Wars Battlefront 2 heroes guide.
Anonymous sources close to Battlefront II tell VentureBeat that DICE had begun work on an Overwatch-like mode, focused on cooperative action with a big emphasis on team composition. It also would’ve shared Overwatch’s business model, featuring loot boxes filled with cosmetic items like hero skins - a far less controversial form of microtransactions than Battlefront II’s stat-affecting rewards.
This mode was dropped in part due to a request from Lucasfilm, who now serve as Disney’s Star Wars overseers. Exactly why the mode was cut is unclear, and we don’t know if these cosmetics would’ve replaced the current Star Card options or existed in addition to them.
Update, November 17: The decision to turn off Star Wars Battlefront II's microtransactions happened after a conversation between EA and Disney's chief executive.
According to sources from VentureBeat, earlier today, a phone conversation took place between EA CEO Andrew Wilson and The Walt Disney Company's chief executive, Bob Iger.
A few hours later, players found that they were unable to buy Battlefront II's premium currency, crystals. EA and DICE have since announced that they're "turning off all in-game purchases."
Original story, November 16: EA have removed microtransaction purchases from Battlefront II. They say they are continuing to tune the progression system, and will restore purchases of the crystal currency to the game at a later date.
Today, we turned off in-game purchases for #StarWarsBattlefrontII. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Read the full update: https://t.co/asGASaYXVp pic.twitter.com/vQSOmsWRgk— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) November 17, 2017
"As we approach the worldwide launch," says DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson in an official statement, "it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right."
Rumors began swirling this evening about EA making a massive change to Star Wars Battlefront II’s progression amid a week of widespread criticism. That criticism involved the most downvoted comment in Reddit history, mainstream attention from outlets such as CNN, and investigations from European governmental organizations.
Ahead of the game’s wide release - players had been in the game early through Origin and EA Access trials, as well as Deluxe Edition released on Tuesday - microtransactions purchase options for Battlefront II disappeared from console storefronts and Origin. It seems this was leading up to a change from EA today.
This comes after one round of changes for Battlefront II, which saw the cost of heroes in-game drastically reduced by 75%. That change cut down on the largest part of players’ time investment, but failed to address the issues at the core of the game’s progression and its reliance on loot boxes.