Things seem to be (in general) looking way up for gaming since the beginning of 2017. I think we can all agree that 2016 was and probably always will be one of the worst years for gaming. So many titles arrived broken and buggy that held so much promise, and barely anything worth mentioning came out that year (barely, but there were a couple gems). The big AAA games that DID come out that year were, for the most part, uninspired. Infinite Warfare may not have flopped big, but people were certainly tired of futuristic warfare settings from the CoD series at that point. Not only that, but Loot Box and Season Pass fever seemed as though it were at an all-time high, along with in-game currencies. Titanfall 2 stands out among the mess as a really competent FPS with a decent, but short campaign, and totally free DLC. Yes, you could buy funky camo packs and alternate Titan skins that came with unique executions. However, they weren’t randomly picked for you in loot boxes, and they frankly didn’t cost that much. You knew what you were buying, without any bullshit randomized loot system keeping the stuff you really wanted from you.
You wanted it? You could buy it, simple as that.
In 2017, we got SO MANY amazing games that it was almost impossible not to build up a backlog of sorts. We got tons of great new games, we got the Nintendo Switch, which meant that we got BoTW and Super Mario Odyssey along with a handful of other great Switch exclusives. We got Sonic Mania and Crash N. Sane Trilogy, which both breathed new life into beloved classic gaming mascots. Not only that, but Crash opened the door for Spyro to get his own remaster, and even though Sonic Forces was a bit iffy, the Blue Blur is still looking up. Unfortunately, loot boxes stuck around along with season passes in 2017, but in a twist of fate, may have overstepped their boundaries.
As you probably already know, Star Wars: Battlefront II had some pretty disgusting practices with loot crates in the early days of release. You would have to spend hundreds of hours playing to game to unlock anything even remotely substantial, which is complete insanity. Of course, you could just buy the loot boxes for a hefty sum and get a leg up on all the people who weren’t willing to pay for the content in the game they already bought. Not only that, but the promising single-player campaign was so painfully short and pointless. Any potential that it had was completely squandered (and overshadowed by the predatory loot box practices). This came with a fuckton of backlash, to the point where randomized loot boxes are now completely banned in some countries (and Hawaii). Like legally banned, by the government, which is fantastic, I honestly never thought it would get to that point.
After not too long, EA disabled the Loot Box system that was in place in the game and re-adjusted to game to reflect a more normal progression system. Not only that, but just recently, they had said they were thinking of reinstating a loot box system, but decided against it, and cleared the smog of microtransactions away from the game completely. Which is great, because to be fair, the multiplayer is pretty polished and enjoyable, it’s not earth-shattering, but it’s a good time to be had. Not only that, but Destiny 2 received some crazy backlash about the Bright Engram system that it had, which basically shoved microtransactions in your face every time you went to open one. As a result of not only that, but lying about EXP scaling in the late-game, and releasing some seriously mediocre DLC (paid), yet another AAA 2017 shooter is on the ropes.The player count is way down on all platforms from what it was at launch, and it’s pretty clear that Activision-Blizzard and Bungie have some serious soul-searching to do with the future of the series.
All of this has led up to some pretty big news that we’ve just received about Battlefield V, a small shooter franchise that you may have heard of. EA’s (arguably) biggest franchise, will no longer have a season pass, loot boxes, or anything along those lines, ever. All post-release DLC will be completely free of charge, and it looks like they’ll be applying the Titanfall 2 model to the rest of their games for the foreseeable future. As someone who has very little faith in humanity and figured that they would have at least a cheaper season pass, or cosmetic loot boxes or something, this is very surprising to me, and I’m sure a lot of people! But for once, EA listened to the fans (and probably gave the revenue they received from Battlefront II a good long look), and made the right choice.
So for the first time in a long time, we’ll be getting a big-budget FPS from a well-known studio that you can just buy and never feel left behind if you don’t want to cough up extra dough. No more being left out because your friends can afford the new maps and you can’t, no more bogus progression system, just a good, solid shooter experience.
Now I’m not going to suck EA’s dick because it’s going to take a lot more than one big game with no season pass to really impress, but this is a huge first step. If we can truly get away from microtransactions, loot boxes, and season passes with even the big AAA games that come out every year, I’d be happy. Activision-Blizzard and Ubisoft have the floor now, so it’s time to see where they go with their next big titles.
What do you think about EA’s decision? Do you think they’ll be good little boys and girls for a couple of games and slip back into their old ways in a year or so? Or do you think that the AAA game industry is actually taking a turn in the right direction? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say so let me know in the comments below!
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