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Star Wars Battlefront 2 is finally giving players what they want

The lead-up to Star Wars Battlefront 2's release wasn't just bad: it was an unmitigated disaster. The multiplayer shooter was set to contain unsavory microtransactions that weren't just limited to cosmetics, but also had a major impact on gameplay itself. Players were peeved that Star Wars legends were essentially becoming pay-to-win purchases. Even Disney's Bob Iger put in a call to EA, apparently concerned about the all the negative blowback.

EA and DICE made the decision to pull microtransactions from the game temporarily. But the damage had already been done.

It feels like a lifetime ago, but all of that actually happened in November 2017. Fast forward to today, and you might discover that Battlefront 2 has changed pretty dramatically. Some even consider it a pretty good game.

IGN first reviewed Star Wars Battlefront 2 on Nov. 20, 2017, and wasted no time ripping the game's leveling mechanics.

"The bantha in the room is that Battlefront 2's Star Cards is one of the worst progression systems I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing in a competitive multiplayer game," the review said.

That wasn't all, of course. The campaign was reportedly lackluster, too. And the specter of microtransactions continued to hang over the game. When would EA bring them back? How bad would they be?

People had been dying for a good Star Wars game, and EA had once again failed to deliver.

Battlefront 2 reconnects with the Force

Interestingly enough, though, IGN recently went back to Star Wars Battlefront 2 and gave it another look. The outlet apparently wanted to see what two years of feedback had done for the title, and rather surprisingly came away impressed.

The microtransactions are now cosmetic only, limited to outfits and emotes. The progression system has changed for the better. And new content drops — particularly those themed around Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — have reinvigorated the game's community.

The original review score for Battlefront 2 in 2017 was a 6.5. The newest review, published on Dec. 18, 2019, brought that up to an 8.8. On the IGN scale, that is "Great."

"The campaign is still a bit of a snore, and occasionally long queue times in matchmaking and a handful of forgettable game modes give the multiplayer a couple of caveats, but highlights like Capital Supremacy and Galactic Assault make it stand out and the progression system is fair and rewarding," the review said. "Overall, it's a great package now that serves as one of the best and most thrilling ways to have an authentic Star Wars gaming experience."

When Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order released back in November, most of the Star Wars fandom celebrated. Finally, EA had managed to deliver a title worthy of the license.

It seems we may have another — even if it took some time to get there.

Will we get a Star Wars Battlefront 3?

Now that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is back in the good graces of gamers, it begs the question: Will Battlefront 3 ever be released? At this point in time, you probably shouldn't hold your breath.

Battlefront 2 released on Nov. 17, 2017, which makes the game just a little over two years old. But rather than opt for the old model of launching a game, releasing season pass content, then moving onto the next title, DICE did things differently. Battlefront 2 has been receiving regular updates for the past two years, which means it's basically become an ongoing live service game. It doesn't look like that'll change, either, according to DICE's Dennis Brännvall.

"We were so used to the chain of sequels, where we do a sequel then we do a season pass for a year then move onto the next game," Brännvall told PCGamesN. "I think the industry has changed on that... before it was very transactional and we made the game and we signed up for 4 DLCs and then that's it. So then you focus on getting value to players out of what they paid for and if there was a system that wasn't working then you put a pin in that and say we will fix it in the sequel."

Brännvall now sees the path forward — one where a game continues to receive updates long after it's been released — as something more friendly to players and, ultimately, more rewarding for developers. Plus, with so many other games doing the same, it's become something many players expect.

"Sequels are probably still viable otherwise people wouldn't be doing them," Brännvall said, "but it's not the same hunger as it used to be."

Had DICE been keeping to the old schedule, 2019 would've seen a new Battlefront release. It's possible 2020 could bring us another Battlefield title, so if a sequel for Star Wars Battlefront 2 is indeed slated for the future, we might not see it until 2021.

That is, if DICE decides to even make another one. Battlefront 2 could theoretically live forever, after all.