Star Wars Battlefront: Anticipating a Sequel on the Horizon?

Just a few days ago, news surfaced about a forthcoming open-world Star Wars game from Ubisoft, sparking curiosity about the multiplayer aspect of the Star Wars gaming universe. Five years have passed since Electronic Arts and Dice unveiled Star Wars Battlefront II on November 17, 2017, building upon the franchise reboot initiated in 2015. Despite initial excitement, Battlefront II faced a tumultuous launch marred by controversies and management challenges, leading to its support discontinuation in 2020. Since then, updates on the franchise have been scarce, with Dice refocusing on the Battlefield series. But could this silence truly mark the end?

Insight into Electronic Arts’ Decision to Scrap Battlefront 3

Renowned leaker Tom Henderson revealed in a 2021 tweet that Dice had pitched a Battlefront 3 project to Electronic Arts, aiming to rectify the issues encountered with Battlefront II and rejuvenate the franchise. However, EA turned down the proposal, citing concerns over exploitation rights. Confidential sources disclosed that a Star Wars game must achieve a 20% higher sales target compared to other franchises to be financially viable, owing to the substantial licensing costs.

Meanwhile, the Battlefield series has taken precedence for Dice and EA, prompting the conglomerate to redirect all studio efforts toward this flagship project. This move even delayed the release of the next Need for Speed game from 2021 to 2022, as all hands were on deck for Battlefield. Moreover, as noted by Henderson, numerous developers who contributed to Dice’s previous Battlefront titles have departed the studio, including the creative director, gameplay designer, and hero design lead.

Battlefront 3

What We Need to Know About Electronic Arts’ Abandoned Viking Spin-Off

Despite its departure from the Star Wars universe, Viking was a significant project initiated in 2015, identified as the third installment in a series of game projects. Kotaku uncovered that the initial groundwork for Viking was laid by repurposing assets from previously shelved projects. While Viking was intended to be a spin-off within the Battlefront franchise, its ambitious open-world concept raised eyebrows, considering Battlefront’s focus on large-scale battles.

Criterion’s involvement as the lead studio in the EA Vancouver project introduced a host of management and creative direction challenges (“too many cooks,” as one source described it). Criterion envisioned a deeper narrative and character development for Viking, which clashed with EA’s desire for shorter development timelines. Ultimately, EA, the parent company, pulled the plug on the project in 2019 due to these conflicts.

Management issues are not uncommon in the entertainment industry, but EA’s handling of Star Wars projects appears particularly tumultuous.

The Clash of Call of Duty and Battlefield: Victory by Default

Call of Duty vs Battlefield

Battlefield 2042 was envisioned as Electronic Arts’ flagship title, marking the franchise’s triumphant return to the modern era with enhanced gameplay surpassing its predecessors’ World War settings. Promised were larger-scale battles, futuristic drones, and geopolitical undertones mirroring current events, all showcasing Dice’s expertise. However, reality painted a different picture.

The game fell victim to what has become a recurring theme in AAA gaming: abysmal optimization, frequent server disruptions, a plethora of bugs and glitches, and an economic model heavily reliant on Battle Passes and cosmetic microtransactions. Adding insult to injury, the studio took a daring leap by overhauling the traditional class system in favor of customizable operators, a move met with disdain from the community due to its blatant commercialism and erosion of player equality.

Indeed, Battlefield 2042 proved to be both a commercial and critical debacle. The game’s myriad issues leave little to salvage, with the continuous stream of emergency updates akin to applying small bandages to a charred skeleton. Player exodus has been rampant, resulting in Battlefield 2042 boasting fewer players than its much older predecessors. From Sony’s perspective, the message is clear. In a submission to the British competition authority amid the Sony-Microsoft studio acquisition standoff, representatives from the Japanese company make a stark observation:

“Despite the parallels between Call of Duty and Battlefield, and notwithstanding EA’s impressive track record with successful franchises, Battlefield falls short in competition. By August 2021, Call of Duty had amassed over 400 million game sales, while Battlefield lagged behind at 88.7 million.”

Battlefield Steam Player Count chart

The Battlefront Saga: A Tale of Reboots

While Dice grapples with the challenges surrounding Battlefield 2042 and its support, whispers suggest that the Swedish studio sees a glimmer of hope in a new chapter of the Bad Company sub-franchise, particularly the much-anticipated Battlefield: Bad Company 3. Is salvation on the horizon? Will this project be the breakthrough the studio desperately seeks? Is the anticipation for the next Bad Company outweighing that for a new Battlefront? The answers remain elusive.

It’s crucial to remember that the original Star Wars Battlefront games hailed from Pandemic Studios in the 2000s, with Dice’s iterations serving as reboots. Furthermore, a cryptic tweet from Celia Hodent, former UX director at Lucasarts, two years ago hinted at another reboot in the works, nearly completed but never realized. The notion of “reboot” is deeply intertwined with the Battlefront series.

Considering the setbacks of Dice’s Star Wars Battlefront II, a marketing perspective may favor a fresh reboot of the franchise over a third installment. A reboot offers more communication opportunities and potentially greater success than simply releasing another “Star Wars Battlefront” title. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Dice could spearhead this reboot, given the turbulence within the Battlefield franchise and the studio’s demonstrated craftsmanship despite occasional missteps.

Disney’s Ambitions with Star Wars Licensed Games

In light of Battlefield’s struggles, the prospect of a new Battlefront III gains credibility. However, let’s revisit the fundamentals: Disney acquired the Star Wars license from George Lucas for a substantial sum of four billion dollars. Given Star Wars’ status as one of the highest-grossing franchises, it’s expected that Disney would swiftly recoup its investment through various productions, including films (the sequel trilogy), series (Mandalorian, Andor, Obi-Wan), and video games (Fallen Order, Dice’s Battlefront, Star Wars Squadrons, the Kotor remake, etc.).

According to reports, Disney aims to synchronize its studios to release a Star Wars game every six months. Currently, several games are in development: Survivor, the sequel to Fallen Order, the Kotor remake (which faced setbacks after the departure of key producers and transfer to another studio), Ubisoft’s open-world project, and Star Wars Eclipse recently unveiled by Quantic Dreams. Survivor is reportedly slated for 2023, while the status of the Kotor remake remains uncertain following its teaser. Eclipse is in early pre-production and likely scheduled for 2024. Ubisoft’s project may be revealed this year.

Of the two annual games targeted by Disney, one is almost confirmed for 2023, another probable for 2024, leaving room for another title in either year. Notably, these games emphasize characters, robust storytelling, and RPG-focused gameplay, with few purely multiplayer titles in sight.

Considering this, what franchise other than Battlefront could leverage the Star Wars license for a multiplayer experience? What other franchise could reinvigorate Star Wars in the realm of online gaming, allowing studios to sustain it through Battle Passes and microtransactions?


As of now, there’s no indication that any studio is actively developing a Star Wars Battlefront title, even a reboot. Nevertheless, it’s evident that the Star Wars franchise remains a benchmark for sales, profitability, and popularity, and that the Star Wars Battlefront games retain a positive perception, spanning both Pandemic Studios’ originals and Dice’s reinterpretations. Given the current landscape, characterized by the stumble of Battlefield 2042 and the rise of the “free but paid” multiplayer model, which proves highly lucrative for industry players, it’s conceivable that such a project may garner attention from producers. While not imminent, it’s a prospect that may well materialize in the years ahead.


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