It takes a lot for a popular game series’ predecessor to be more popular than the latest installment, but Battlefield V, as of now, has a little over 20,000 more players than Battlefield 2042, despite releasing in 2018 in comparison to 2042’s 2021 release date. With both Battlefield 1 and V having player counts eclipsing that of 2042, it is fascinating how EA’s 2018 title, despite initial poor reception, remains popular today. Sure, it didn’t have the greatest pre-release reception, but it was getting updates that added to the initially disappointing amount of content, and was in a spot where it could be deemed to be on the verge of being actually worth it. It’s a fun experience, and even if it isn’t as fantastic as Battlefield 1, Battlefield V is more than worth picking up now. However, just as it was reaching a stable condition, EA decided to pull the plug.
Not even two years after the game was released, Battlefield V had its final major content update. It added some new weapons and updated a map or two, but it was definitely the game’s final update excluding bug fixes and playlist updates. In retrospect, this was clearly so they could shift development towards 2042, which historically turned out to be a beloved masterpiece and not one of the most poorly received titles in the last few years. Battlefield V followed the same foundations as found in Battlefield 1, and to this day, both titles are immensely repayable and enjoyable. Lately, games have been trying to somehow both be sustainable and are also easily disposed of by the time the next sequel comes out. This is where the games-as-a-service model comes in.
Rainbow Six Siege really popularized this, as despite an initial weak launch, it had a fanbase and it only grew once they added more and more operators and maps. Now, the game regularly has new characters and is played by a staggering amount of people. This was one of the biggest successes in the industry, with many companies following in their footsteps in continuing support for their titles. Unfortunately, this has also had an effect on developers releasing games that are repetitive and reliant on grinding rather than quality content, one example being the recent Avengers game, which was also reported to have the plug pulled on it very recently after being overall a very disappointing title. Babylon’s Fall from Square Enix was another game set to last for a while. The game went under in less than a year. Developers lately have struggled with balancing content and updates, with some games having too little content that they die off and others having an overabundance such that grinding is a necessity to unlock everything.
Battlefield had a thing going, with its content being substantial enough, but one title that desperately needed content updates was Star Wars Battlefront 2, and it definitely received them. Burdened by a launch so atrocious that governments started discussing loot boxes, its lack of content on launch allowed the game to add more and more free updates over the years to make up a product that finally feels worth the full price tag. The game was free on the Epic Games Store once too. Updates brought in more beloved characters and maps, including Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (not in his Darth Vader form, which is really weird but hilarious to think about whenever you’re playing Heroes vs. Villains). The game, much like Battlefield V, grew to a comfortable enough position when EA pulled the plug on big content updates
Fans were noticeably disappointed, as it stopped receiving these updates around the time of The Mandalorian gaining intense popularity. People desperately wanted more, but EA wasn’t providing anything beyond what was already released. It’s a great product as it is now, but it is saddening to imagine what else and what more could have been added to the game. Sometimes it would have some technical issues, but for the most part, it is well worth the price. Considering how massive the Star Wars IP is, there are numerous characters that could have been added, and locations that could have been turned into cool new maps for people to play around in. It would have been really nice to potentially get Ahsoka or the Mandalorian in the game, but the cast of famous characters is enough as it is.
Considering EA’s recent track record, from the plug-pulling of Battlefront 2, to the dropping of Battlefield V for 2042, one of the most infamous games in recent history, in addition to their recent disastrous marketing for Need for Speed: Unbound, they seem to have a newly developed habit of shamelessly abandoning things that people get excited for. Games that have potential are cut painfully short by their own decisions, instead of capitalizing on their growing audiences. EA has a lot of IPs just waiting to be capitalized upon, but until EA can learn to keep the games they have out alive, we’re stuck with whatever crumbs and skeletons they leave us with.