EA DICE has spoken out again about its controversial decision to build progression in Star Wars Battlefront II around loot boxes, and why it chose to make changes to the system following widespread condemnation from media and fans.
"The beta was a place we were experimenting with things," Battlefront II producer Paul Keslin told Joe Vargas of the AngryJoeShow. (Thanks to Eurogamer for the transcription.)
"It was meant for us to try out stuff ahead of time so we can tweak and change those things ahead of launch. What you saw in beta was absolutely our attempt at something, then it's open to fan feedback and how do we react to it and how do we tweak things to make a better experience?"
Following the feedback DICE received, the developer ultimately tweaked the progression system so it wasn't so dependent on the random chance of loot box rewards to access the best gear. However, DICE defended the decision to use loot boxes, pointing out that they encourage discovery.
"It allows us to give players an opportunity to, hopefully, try things that they're not normally going to try," Keslin told the AngryJoeShow.
"We've seen at EA, in some games past, if you allow players to too single-mindedly focus down a certain path, they'll try out two/three things they know they like and then not engage with the rest of the game and they might stop playing the game early, and we would prefer players are playing our game for a long time to come. We've put a lot of time and effort and love into these things - we want to make sure people keep playing them."
That seems reasonable, but it does seem like a bit of a coincidence that loot boxes started showing up in so many EA games once it became clear they were generating mountains of money in FIFA Ultimate Team. If you ask us, fans don't mind the concept of loot boxes - heck, we love FIFA - but like anything, they want to see them used sensibly and with some restraint. Hopefully DICE learned its lesson.
Star Wars Battlefront II is due out November 17.