If we were to do a quick recap of the EA titles that we got in 2019, we can sum it up as either “incomplete titles” or “games that prioritize microtransactions over being a game.” That may sound like harsh criticism of a company, but really think about what we got out of EA’s camp this year.
- The “highly-anticipated” title from Bioware, Anthem, was met with a shrug and how the game seemingly died and is in the process of a (hopeful Final Fantasy 14-style) restoration.
- Battlefield V got overshadowed and left many questioning the state of the game throughout 2019 (including leading to a giant 1-day stock dip in more than a decade).
- EA Sports titles being… Well… EA Sports titles with how it is more apparent than ever that the titles seem to focus more on MTs-filled modes and not the actual gameplay, including why the Switch version was literally the same game from last year.
- Apex Legends, the best “Fortnite alternative,” someone can play having a special event that had a $170 Axe.
- And to top it all off:
Really, those are some of the main highlights, and while we can make a fun retrospective on all of EA’s shortcomings this year, we can summarize it as “EA being EA.” There is a reason why so many gamers tend to point towards EA as the bad guys (in spite of how some seem to struggle with the perception of being seen as the bad guys). So imagine the shock of many players who had no expectations for Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars title.
Letting developers do their thing
Leading up to the release of Jedi Fallen Order, there were plenty of people on the web that didn’t hesitate to point out their lack of faith that the game would be good. Or more to the idea of how it was going to be yet another title from EA’s camp that probably would be like EA’s previous Star Wars title (and how that rightfully blew up in their face).
But then when the game finally did come out, something strange happened. There were no Microtransactions. No Live Services or anything to indicate there would be “Ongoing content” coming to the game. And for those who have a strong opinion of the Frostbite engine: It is the Unreal Engine. Almost beyond belief, we got a single-player experience that someone who loves Star Wars could actually play during the weekend and enjoy with no other strings attached. You would think that this should be the norm in the world of video games, but when we have to remind ourselves that this has EA’s name on it, it can feel completely surreal to consider.
And that’s why for those of us who may not care much for EA find ourselves even more upset at EA than usual.
Is Jedi Fallen Order the perfect Star Wars Game fans have been desperately wanting for the longest time? Of course not, but then one could then ask, “What is?” Considering the recent trend of Star Wars titles we got before Jedi Fallen Order, it suddenly becomes shocking to think that this is the best Star Wars title we got in recent years. And while we could ask why that may seem to be the case, you really don’t have to look hard to figure that one out.
Fears for EA’s future plans
So with Jedi Fallen Order getting scores that average out to 8/10 experiences, does this mean EA will turn a new leaf? Perhaps by providing fans with a simple experience for them to enjoy for the sake of enjoyment and nothing else, could we see more of these titles in the future?
That would be the best world to live in, but sadly there are doubts that EA will ever consider that as an option. Consider how, in 2017, EA went on record to say “Single-Player Games are Dead.” So dead apparently that we got some of the best single-player experiences (some more than others) such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Spider-Man, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and God of War. We could even bring up how, at the time, they made that comment, you could enjoy both Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch during that same year.
But even more so than that, there is one cutthroat reason why we shouldn’t be holding our breath on more single-player experiences: They aren’t profitable. Us as consumers might not care about that in particular, but this is the modus operandi for not just EA, but for plenty of other AAA Publishers. Not every game can hope to be a big title like God of War or Breath of the Wild and be able to sell millions of copies on just name alone. And considering the yearly releases of some titles, we do see how there is the $60 buy-in, and then you see the cost go up from there with any in-game purchases, and at worst: The loot boxes (Surprise Mechanics).
Regardless of how you may feel about the current status of EA titles, we need to bear in mind one harsh truth. Jedi: Fallen Order is likely not the start of a new age for EA. If it just so happens to be, then be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for a lengthy “I’m Sorry” rebuttal. Sadly though, we have to be completely honest: This was likely a one and done situation. If we were to see more single-player experience, EA could take notes from Ubisoft on how they handle the live service aspect of their games and find a means to turn a profit that way. Will that be ideal to us as gamers? Probably not, but who knows if they will even do more “Single Player Experiences” like Jedi Fallen Order in the future.
As for the game itself, it is probably safe to say that Respawn Entertainment should receive a pretty big bonus from EA. Between Apex Legends and Jedi Fallen Order, you can at least say that it was a complete waste of titles out from Electronic Arts. If anything else, EA should be taking a nice, long look at how Respawn Entertainment conducts their work and have their other affiliates do what they are doing while keeping the extra costs to their titles within their sports titles (if any) and nowhere else.
Will EA learn from the success of Jedi Fallen Order?
Who knows what the future holds for EA. It would be nice if, at the start of the next generation of games, they did look into the single-player experience again and see there is a market for it. But since EA likely wants to see high profits as fast as they possibly can, Jedi Fallen Order could be a one and done ordeal for them. A game that will give players hope for a better future, only to be dashed away because it didn’t earn as much money as FIFA or Madden.
Thank you very much for reading. Be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on the gaming world.