Star Wars: Battlefront was generally well-received, but some–including Star Wars actor John Boyega–lamented the fact that it didn’t have a single-player mode. EA has teased that the sequel may have a single-player mode in the past, and now it’s all but confirmed.
As part of an incredibly interesting Achievement Oriented podcast, EA’s Justin McCully talked about how the focus of 2015’s Battlefront was on multiplayer. For the sequel, DICE and co-developer Motive Studios will address players’ single-player hopes.
“The focus of the first game was to nail the core multiplayer experience of what DICE does great,” he said. “That was the strategy of that title. And now as we expand in the universe we have better sense of what characters are coming into play, what stories we can tell, what stories are maybe being told in a film versus a game, that’s where we’ve really ramped up the interaction with the [Lucasfilm Story Group] to bring those games to market.
“We heard the fans loud and clear that the multiplayer was great, but it wasn’t enough” – McCully
“We heard the fans loud and clear that the multiplayer was great, but it wasn’t enough and they wanted that complete package. So the team has been very focused on delivering that single-player element.”
McCully also spoke about Battlefront 2’s release timing, saying it’s currently penciled in for holiday 2017. This backs up what EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said earlier this year.
For his part, Jorgensen acknowledged that Battlefront might have lacked depth for hardcore players; the game was purposefully designed to be “accessible.” EA later said that part of the reason why the game didn’t have a single-player mode was so that it could launch the game in time for the massively successful Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Battlefront went on to ship 14 million copies, making it one of the most successful Star Wars games in history.
Also during the podcast, McCully confirmed that EA has no plans to revive the stalled Star Wars game, Star Wars 1313. Although that game may never come out, he teased that “kernels of ideas” from it might show up in different Star Wars experiences in the future.
McCully also spoke generally about EA’s approach to making Star Wars games, saying part of what makes some games great is their nonlinear nature.
“You need player agency. Gaming is not linear,” he said. “You need to give the player some choice and have them tell their own stories. That’s different from a linear story that’s presented in film or TV. A character that you’re helping to define.”
EA has heard the feedback that fans are more interested in new stories instead of re-tellings of well-established ones.
“You don’t necessarily want to re-tell the story of this character and make a movie game that traces the steps of Luke Skywalker,” he said. “I know Luke Skywalker’s story; I want a new story about another character or a character that I control.”
Finally, McCully was asked if EA wants to expand its roster of Star Wars games into new genres. He said EA has plans to do this, though specifics are being saved for later.
“I think there’s more that we can do,” he said. “There’s more than you’re going to see from EA over the years to fulfill that entire fantasy of Star Wars that isn’t just a blaster experience or an X-Wing experience. It’s more than the sum of its parts.”
You should really listen to the full podcast.