Recently, EA & DICE released this trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II. As with the others, this is very well done and did much to build up a hype train.
Some motherfuckers at EA and DICE need to go back to Business School, because they keep fucking up the fundamental rule of Expectations: If you cannot fulfill the expectations that you set, then your customers will take your failure for betrayal and desert you. Yesterday, at a press event at Gamescom, this failure of expectation again appeared.
Yeah, that's actual gameplay footage from the Gamescom event. You had several issues present, but theose that will wreck this if it's not fixed before launch are the following:
- The fighters aren't fast enough. Go back and watch that trailer again. Go watch clips of the movies, or of Rebels and The Clone Wars (plenty on YouTube alone), where dogfighting happens. Do you not see that speed in action? Compare that to this gameplay footage, and you can see that they're slow and sluggish all around. I know why this is the case: the actual gameplay arena is too damn small to properly recreate the desired experience. They pussied out, again. Attack speed is way faster than what we see here, which is cruising speed at best. Don't tell me that this can't be done; it has been done, decades ago, with the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series. Someone's either cheaping out, or is too incompetent to do it properly.
- The fighters' specs are WRONG. Bombers are NOT flying tanks, yet that's what we're seeing (especially the TIE Bomber), and some dumbfuck is going to go all "Muh Gameplay!" as the excuse. Motherfucker, that's not how bombers works, and your own source material directly contradicts this bullshit time and again. There's also way too much ordinance flying around; this should be far more about gunnery than missile trajectories, as it uses pre-Beyond Visual Range dogfighting as its inspiration. More Dakka, Less Itano Circus. Let's hope the Clone Wars stuff isn't so bad.
- Not enough reason to group up. Dogfighting, even in Star Wars is a team sport, but the game doesn't reward this enough (or punish Leeroy Jenkins enough), so you get An Heroes flying around trying to win battles by themselves and then wonder why it ain't working. Especially for TIE pilots, this has to be pushed and pushed hard. This? This is lazy as fuck.
- Objective focus is not strong enough. Flat-out, the matches need to be solely about getting your job done; all the readouts on individual efforts are not only distracting, they promote Leeroy bullshit over proper teamwork. Not only should you get no readout on your performance until the match is over, you should get no reward for anything that does not directly and immediately push the objective. This is a team effort; work as a team for the team's goal or get the fuck out. (This is also present for the ground-pounder side of the game.)
While this is a clear improvement over the 2015 game, it's still not fulfilling the expectations set by their own marketing, and if they don't fix that right now then the game will meet the same fate as the previous Battlefront: have a pop at its launch, and then crater once word of mouth gets out (especially via livestreams) that it's still a shallow and hollow experience by people who--contrary to marketing--don't know what they're doing and don't care enough to figure that out so they can do it right.
Barring a miracle, this is also getting a pass. Don't pre-order this game; wait for your trusted people to give you the good word before you spend those hard-earned sheckles, and if that never comes then give it the hard pass and punt it entirely.
And when you get the chance, you tell Lucasfilm, EA and everyone else whose corporate brands on this game that they failed to meet the expectations that they set. Until they either stop writing checks with their mouths that they're asses can't cash, or they adjust their hype so they set expectations that they actually can meet, No Money For You!