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Why Star Wars: Battlefront 3 May Never Happen

Star Wars: Battlefront 3 may seem like a foregone conclusion given EA's hasty assembly and release of two previous entries in the Battlefront line, but this time around, things might not be so straightforward.

Star Wars: Battlefront was once a proud franchise helmed by developer Pandemic Studios and publisher LucasArts, both of which are now defunct. It's ironic and grim, then, that Pandemic Studios died at the hands of EA, the company which would later go on to claim the Battlefront name and drive the series' reputation through a multi-year series of PR nightmares. Between international loot box (and, by extension, child gambling) scandals, demanding sixty dollars for four assault maps on release, and a slew of other gaming crimes the two EA-helmed Star Wars: Battlefront games have been charged with, the series hasn't quite seen a return to its heydey under Pandemic.

Perhaps EA has other things to worry about, or maybe destiny itself never wanted this series to reach a third installment. After all, this isn't the first time fans expected a Battlefront 3 that never reached store shelves. With all of that in mind, we're here to examine all the factors regarding why Battlefront 3 may never happen, again.

EA's Battlefront reputation

The most obvious reason EA might want to skip a third installment is due to the reputations of the previous two games, both of which were known to be visually and aurally magnificent, but also psychologically and monetarily degrading and fundamentally un-fun. The gameplay of both EA Battlefront titles paled in comparison to Pandemic's originals from 2004 and 2005, when it came to things such as flight physics, gun design, bullet impact, and gameplay variety. This meant that, even with over a decade's worth of technological improvements, developer DICE still couldn't produce worthy follow-ups to what LucasArts and Pandemic started way back in '04. And that's if we're only talking purely in terms of game design.

In terms of content, EA's Battlefront 1 contained so little at launch that even EA was forced to address it (only after taking fans' money and tempting them with the sequel, of course). Plus, we can't forget what happened with Star Wars: Battlefront 2, otherwise known as the game you could (and in some cases all but had to) buy multiplayer progress in. The execs at EA have tarnished the brand name, and no matter how much they might deny it, they know what they've done.

The loot box nightmare

EA messed up Star Wars: Battlefront 2 big time via microtransactions. Other developers and publishers made fun of them for it. EA themselves even cited this as the reason why the content-rich sequel sold less than its content-barren predecessor. And, while that might not be the entire truth, it's a big part of it.

A lot of consumers were turned off by Battlefront 2's microtransaction philosophy, wherein important characters were locked off unless you had enough in-game currency to afford them. To unlock characters in their game, you had two choices: grind for dozens upon dozens of hours to unlock a single character ... or buy enough currency (with real money) to snag 'em. It was a sinister trap meant to bully consumers into paying up for microtransactions on top of the game's sixty-dollar price of entry.

EA didn't stop there, either! They also let you buy loot boxes, which could gave you bonuses like emotes or Star Cards that upgraded your characters. Some Star Cards gave ridiculous buffs, meaning if you bought enough loot boxes, you'd have an insane edge in multiplayer.

The sheer seediness of EA's microtransaction greed managed to incite government-led investigations across the globe. Rumor has it EA is still grappling with the legal consequences to this day, which begs the question: do they really want to touch this damaged brand again?

Disappointing the fan base

Maybe it's not just the microtransaction fiasco that's scaring the fan base away. Heck, maybe it's not even the embarrassing lack of content in the first game or the weak single-player campaign of the second game. Perhaps hardcore fans of DICE's Battlefront outings aren't peeved about any of the above stuff. But even they are ticked about waiting for the "continued support" they were promised for Battlefront 2.

Battlefront 2's support has been in an ugly spot for quite some time, and it all started with the devs announcing DLC delays in February of 2018. This initial setback resulted in months of no content, and after a lengthy hiatus of meaningful additions, all players got was a light Solo-themed movie tie-in update. However, fans were clamoring for Grievous, Anakin, Geonosis and other prequel content that'd been teased,  leaked, and rumored to be arriving for months upon months. Over half a year since the game's November 2017 launch, EA finally announced that prequel DLC was coming ... in fall and winter of 2018, with half of it being pushed into early 2019. Remember, this was for content that'd been leaking since 2017. This ridiculously sparse support roadmap has, understandably, burnt bridges with most of the remaining Battlefront 2 community.

Dwindling sales

Due to the controversy surrounding Battlefront 2's microtransactions, a bad aftertaste from the first entry, lackluster gameplay, or any number of other legitimate reasons, Battlefront 2 saw a sizable dip in launch sales compared to its predecessor. EA cited its hypothesis for this, and over the past few slides we've mentioned a good many other potential causes.

Ultimately, however, the "why" doesn't matter; the fact is, Battlefront 2 dipped in sales. Given that a third game would have to overcome the reputation of not one, but two massively contentious and controversial games, the odds of it selling better than even Battlefront 2 aren't the best. And with Star Wars fever at an all-time low after Disney's fumbling of The Last Jedi and Solo, releasing a third game in a series people are growing to hate probably isn't the strongest power play EA could make right now. Especially when you consider the risk involved: if they succeed, they're still in the negatives when it comes to making good Battlefront games. If they fail, they prove to the market that they didn't just misstep with the last game, but have a clear trend of letting down investors. While missteps happen, no company wants to gain a rep for being consistently unable to impress.

Disney is now the ultimate power in the universe

Perhaps Star Wars: Battlefront 3 isn't even up to EA. There's always the chance that the brand may now be off-limits to them, after the (rumored) last-minute intervention Disney Interactive Media chairman Jimmy Pitaro had with EA's Andrew Wilson that resulted in microtransactions being temporarily pulled from the Battlefront 2. Disney may want to give the Battlefront name time to recover so that, if they change publishers once their partnership with EA expires, a new developer won't have to fight quite as hard against the stigma EA has already accrued for the series.

Or, maybe it's more simple than that. Disney might be too busy with their own recovering Star Wars empire to be all that worried about EA taking a third swing at Battlefront. However, there's a good chance EA doesn't want to risk another run-in with Papa Mickey, and is steering clear of developing a trilogy capper for that reason alone.

A ticking clock

EA's 2013 partnership with Disney, set to last a minimum of 10 years (which, based off their nonexistent successes so far, looks to also be the maximum duration of the deal) is now in its latter half, meaning the clock is ticking for EA to put out a game that's not just a financial success, but also one that doesn't burn the franchise's reputation to the ground with every new release. It seems unlikely that EA is going to use what time it has left in Disney's contractually obligated good graces to develop a threequel to two not-so-hot games. And it's not like EA wants to get the ball rolling on a project they're iffy about, just so they can axe it (and kill the studio that was working on it) and have nothing to show for all that time and money spent on development. They've already done this once, and in no world would they want to do it again.

In that regard, EA probably wants to focus on projects as far removed from its Battlefront games as possible, in order to make the most out of what's left of their Disney deal. In the meantime, though, allow the publisher to distract you with PR fluff about not yet knowing the exact release window for Battlefront 3.

Other Star Wars games

Maybe EA can't be bothered with obsessing over a hypothetical Battlefront 3 when it has a far more concrete Star Wars game in the works. Its name? Jedi: Fallen Order. It's got to do with Order 66, hunted Jedi Knights, and all the other good stuff that stems from the bookends of the criminally underrated prequel films. Plus, it's being developed by Respawn Entertainment, who made Titanfall and Titanfall 2, two very good, adrenaline-pumping shooters. Perhaps EA finally has an undisputable winner on their hands. 

Not that we'll know anytime soon, of course, as the game isn't releasing until sometime in the distant future. They say holiday 2019, but considering they're giving that date range this far out, odds are it's an optimistic guess on their part and the game will receive a good delay or two before actually materializing on store shelves. That'll carry us into 2020, meaning EA has its hands full for a good bit of time as-is, without another dicey Battlefront game being thrown into the mix.

3's an unlucky number

If Star Wars Battlefront 3 never comes out, take bittersweet comfort in the fact that this isn't the first time the game failed to make it to market. It happened to developer Free Radical Design, too, who were hoping to make a direct sequel to Pandemic's Battlefront 2. Their game was going to take the scope of the series to never-before-seen heights, including land-to-air-to-space battles that would've made for the first-ever truly seamless Star Wars experience. And yet, it never released. 

Tthe reasons for its cancellation remain foggy ... almost like destiny intervened at the eleventh hour to make sure the game never reached consumers. Now, with Battlefront 3's fate once again rendered uncertain, it begs the question: could Star Wars: Battlefront 3, as a gaming entity, be preordained to never see the light of day?

Maybe it's due to the infamous Valve curse's shadow over gaming, wherein no franchise, no matter how popular, can ever get a third installment. Maybe it's just a seriously unlucky string of decade-spanning corporate fumbles bogging down a good series. Or maybe Star Wars: Battlefront 3 simply isn't the Chosen One. Is it blasphemy, to deny the prophecy? Possibly. Still, unless a miracle strikes, it seems pretty safe to assume we live in the bad timeline where a true Battlefront 3 will never exist (and EA's version won't happen either).