Those who have had access to the Internet over the last couple weeks probably already know about the EA Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy, but for those uninitiated, the drama all began when it was revealed that the newest Star Wars shooter featured a loot box system. With purchasable crates containing powerful equips for troops, ships, and heroes, the game became dangerously close to pay-to-win, and a non-paying user would require an insane number of hours to unlock all the Battlefront 2 content.
While the concept of loot boxes is certainly one that has been explored in other games, titles such as Overwatch make good use of the system by having the drops contain purely cosmetic items so as to not impact the core gameplay experience. Star Wars Battlefront 2, on the other hand, uses loot boxes to dole out Star Cards that can give players an edge online. At one point, though, Battlefront 2 was to feature cosmetics in its loot boxes, but EA's Chief Financial Officer did not believe they could worth with a Star Wars experience.
"The one thing we're very focused on and they are extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars,” commented Blake Jorgenson. “It's an amazing brand that’s been built over many, many years, and so if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon, right? Darth Vader in white probably doesn't make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don't want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don't think that's right in the canon."
The above statement hasn't gone over well with the Star Wars community, many of whom were imagining cosmetics to mean an Anakin Skywalker skin for Darth Vader, or a younger Luke Skywalker from his days on Tatooine, rather than a simple color-palette change. Although sticking to canon makes sense, Star Wars Battlefront 2 features matches where Darth Maul goes toe-to-toe with The Force Awakens' Rey.
Jorgenson continued on to say that EA is working with Lucasfilm to see what the team is allowed to do cosmetically, and different colored lightsabers are just one of the changes that are being considered. It's possible that the publisher is being kept to strict guidelines by the Star Wars license holders when it comes to cosmetic items, but we can't see any reason why Lucasfilm would take issue with canon variants of characters coming to the game, especially if it ends the debate as to whether or not the title's loot boxes are gambling.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.