EA Was Too Overly Cautious With Star Wars: Squadrons
Star Wars: Squadrons is an exceptional space battle simulator that EA seems to have really hedged its bets on. It may not be for everyone, but it’s is an exceptionally accessible entry into a genre that is traditionally overwhelming and reserved strictly for the most dedicated hobbyists. Squadrons is about as inviting as an action flight sim can get, but the restricted scope makes it evident that EA was not confident it would be a hit.
Squadron’s offers instantaneous matchmaking and crossplay between consoles and PC. Players can use controllers, mouse and keyboard, or any flight stick. It can even be played in VR (and if you can, you absolutely should.) Squadrons reaches the entire core gaming audience, so why is it so limited in scope?
Squadrons is a budget title. For $40 you get a 7-8 hour campaign and 2 PvP game modes. The quickplay game mode is Dog Fight, a 5v5 team deathmatch. There are half a dozen maps in the rotation and 4 ships to choose from. The ranked competitive game mode is Fleet Battle. Fleet Battle is a MOBA-inspired game where 2 teams take turns making advances on each other’s capital ships. It uses the same maps and ships as the Dog Fight mode. A short campaign, a casual mode, a competitive mode, and that’s it.
Why isn’t Squadrons a “full” game with a long campaign and lots of different modes to play? There could have been space races. There could have been a battle royale mode. There could have been so much more.
Additionally, the game has no post-purchase monetization whatsoever. All of the cosmetics are earned through leveling up in the game. There is no in-game currency, no microtransactions, and no battle pass. On one hand, this could be seen as a show of good faith from EA after the huge backlash to Battlefront 2. On the other hand, this is likely a clear indication that Squadrons won’t be receiving much in the way of post-release support.
Without a battle pass or any way to financially support the game long term, it seems unlikely new game modes, ships, or even cosmetics will be added to the game. For a competitive multiplayer-focused game, an absence of new content is a death sentence.
For what it’s worth. I would have been happy to drop $10 on a battle pass with cool character skins and ship decorations to work towards. I’ve been conditioned by all the games I love to believe I have to keep supporting them financially in order for them to succeed.
Once players stop buying copies of Squadrons, how long will it be until they shut down the servers? Maybe they have a different plan for Squadrons we aren’t aware of, but the history of failed multiplayer games has got me worried already.
The best-case scenario is that EA wasn’t sure the game would be popular but, seeing its positive review scores and strong sales, is now prepared to greenlight a bigger and better Squadrons 2. The worst-case scenario would be realizing we spent $40 on a game with a short lifespan because EA has no plans to support it for the long run.
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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