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EA's recent launch of "Stars Wars: Battlefront 2" is turning into one of the most controversial and ill-received launches of the year, and gamers' already tepid reception has not been helped along by the company's weak justification of their business model and design interventions. In particular, while trying to defend the game's design as well as the implementation of paid content, EA's CFO, Blake Jorgenson, said that the reason cosmetic changes were not included was to avoid issues with canon, for example "Darth Vader in pink." Aside from the sexist undertones of the comment, the justification has been criticized on the grounds that other aspects of the game show that EA had very little interest in canon.

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It must be puzzling to see a developer appeal to the integrity of its content or its dedication to an artistic vision while at the same time implementing models, the sole purpose of which seems to have been to make as much money as possible. This is especially true when the remark is juxtaposed with Jorgenson's later explanation for the game's open-world structure. Visceral Studios' original idea for a linear, "Uncharted" style "Star Wars" game was scrapped because today's gamers no longer enjoy those kinds of games. He further underscored EA's focus on appealing to the market when he said, "you gotta cut the bridge when you realize you can't make a lot of money" -- salt in the wound for those who worked at Visceral Studios, which EA has now scrapped.

EA roasted during November's Game Awards

EA isn't just taking heat from gamers, but from the media and its competitors as well.

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At the Game Awards on November 7th, Zachary Levi, the star of NBC's "Chuck," joked that he would need to pay a micro-transaction before opening an award envelope. "It's stupid," he deadpanned, while flashing the audience with a school-boy grin, then, in an aside, re-iterated, "It really is stupid." Even indie designer Joseph Fares, who is working with EA on an upcoming project, appeared to say that the development and release of the new "Battlefront" had been handled badly. His lukewarm defense? "All publishers f--- up sometimes."

Other developers, even Blizzard and Bethesda, pile on

Other developers have not been shy about joining the fray, either. Devolver Digital, eccentric indie designer of off-color games such as "Mother Russia Bleeds" and "Genital Jousting," joked that it would be willing to work with ex-Visceral employees on a "Spaceballs" adaptation of their original game. In response to Jorgenson's comments, they affirmed on Twitter that they are henceforth canceling all linear "Star Wars" games currently in development.

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Blizzard Entertainment, which has made its name by promoting the concept of "E-sports," for instance, through "Starcraft II," also made a video mocking the idea of paying to get ahead in a strategy game and assuring consumers that "pay-to-win" will not be a part of "Starcraft II's" upcoming "free-to-play."

CD Project Red also put out a tweet assuring consumers that "Cyberpunk 2077" will not be jumping on the loot box gravy train, and Cory Barlog, who is developing the upcoming remake of "God of War," took great umbrage at EA's dismissal of linear style games, affirming that a player "can have agency" even in a linear game.

Finally, Bethesda has started a mock campaign, SavePlayer1, emphasizing their devotion to single-player experiences in light of cash-cow multiplayer releases like "#Battlefront Ii" and "Destiny II." One of the few developers to defend EA was Take 2, the umbrella studio for Rockstar and 2K. In an interview, Karl Slatoff said that as long as a developer "over-delivers," loot-boxes can still be part of the equation. This assertion appears dubious, however, in light of the reception of Take 2's own "NBA 2K18," which uses similar mechanics. All in all, EA seems to have few friends among gamers or developers at the current juncture, and everyone is eager to pile on -- even studios like Bethesda and Blizzard, who are no strangers [VIDEO] to the criticism of opportunism.

Most interesting, however, is that this Loot Box Gate has even received notice from state legislators, with Hawaii's Chris Lee supporting a law to ban the sale of loot boxes to gamers under 21. Whether such regulation is feasible or constitutional, of course, remains to be seen.

Gamers have long held a grudge against EA for its predatory practices, and two spectacularly bad releases in 2018 -- "Mass Effect: Andromeda" and "Battlefront II" -- have done nothing to assuage the situation. The near unanimous criticism and mockery of EA at present must seems to have occasioned quite a bit of "schadenfreude" on all sides. Be that as it may, EA is still a massive producer of some of the best known franchises in gaming -- it is doubtful that the company will face any real moral or financial reckoning for its practices, and even if it did, the effects on the gaming landscape would not be good. #Star Wars Battlefront 2 #Open World