Is "Star Wars: Squadrons" (formerly Project Maverick) Going to be a Step in the Right Direction for EA?
|Image Credit: EA Motive via Engadget|
Hey, everyone. This is Arca, and today I will be discussing the announcement, as well as the gameplay reveal, for the new EA Star Wars game coming October 2 of this year, titled Star Wars: Squadrons. It will have both multiplayer modes, a singleplayer campaign, and VR-support on PS4's PSVR (which is great, especially for PSVR owners like me who'd like to be able to fulfill the dream of jumping into an X-Wing's pilot cockpit), as well as PC VR, and will launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It will be a starship combat game with crossplay multiplayer across all platforms, which is great. The game was leaked on the PlayStation store, as I talked about all the way back in March (http://www.arcabaran.com/2020/03/star-wars-project-maverick-ea-leaked.html), as "Project Maverick". I watched the initial reveal trailer premiere live on YouTube, and didn't see the gameplay reveal live but watched it a few hours after it premiered (also on YouTube). You can watch both of those yourself below or by clicking the hyperlinks I included in the sentence above.
The initial reveal trailer included the iconic John Williams' Star Wars theme originally from The Empire Strikes Back, "The Empire Field", and then that theme proceeded to be stuck in my head for a couple of days after that. Anyways, the initial trailer was mostly cinematics and not gameplay, as I had sort of predicted already. However, of course, it looked promising and had some touches of Star Wars hype, mostly because of the music and the cameo appearance of Hera Syndulla from Star Wars: Rebels. It showed that in the campaign that takes place after the Battle of Endor, you get to play as either a squadron of New Republic navy fighters, or an Imperial remnant squadron. While obviously, it looked promising, EA has been able to do that for just about every single one of their initial Star Wars game reveal trailers. This was especially true with Battlefront II, which ended up being a huge disaster at launch due to a massive pay-to-win controversy that has since been fixed by DICE. That game has been redeemed considerably to the point where pay-to-win mechanics no longer exist, and it's just pure, polished multiplayer fun.
The story, however, seemed pretty generic to me. I can't truly judge yet since we have little-to-no details, but based on the fact that EA is promising the inclusion of some "familiar faces" (fan-service cameos, like how we saw in the short campaign of BFII), this is already sounding very similar to the BFII campaign, just entirely in space. Now, I haven't played the BFII campaign, and I've heard some conflicting reports on it online. Some called it average and forgettable, and others enjoyed it. Mostly everyone can admit that there was an abundance of fan-favorite cameos just shoehorned in, however. I know how the campaign ends for its main character, Iden Versio, and without spoiling it, I know that some fans were displeased with this ending. However, I'd guess that being able to choose between the New Republic and the Imperial remnant should imply that the same ending won't have to take place. If you know the ending of the BFII campaign, you know what I'm talking about.
Anyways, the actual gameplay wasn't yet shown until a few days after during the live EA Play event that took place, among many, many other events (some of which I already talked about: http://www.arcabaran.com/2020/07/crash-bandicoot-4-its-about-time-announcement-reaction.html) around the time that E3 2020 would have happened, if it wasn't, you know, canceled. And, well, the gameplay looks similar to BFII's own starfighter mode except with a cockpit view and a lot more nuance. I'd hope that the controls aren't as clunky and movement not as stiff and slow and it's not as easy to crash into the hull of a star destroyer as it is in BFII, seeing as the entire game is built around starship fighting. Not all the opinions I've seen written online share my view, but I've seen enough people who share my sentiment to conclude that maybe there's a bit a learning curve to some people whilst starship dogfighting in BFII. The online modes they've mostly talked about at this point involve two teams of five battling each other to take out the other side's... uh, I forgot the technical term for it, so I'm just going to call it "big ship".
Overall, does it look promising? Yes. The fact that the price tag is also $40 out-of-the-gate rather than the usual $60 for AAA games these days (or maybe even $70 by the end of this year... more on that in tomorrow's post!) is also more assuring. This means that they know that the game isn't as much of a complete package as, say, BFII, is, and they don't want to charge consumers as much for it. So... they're avoiding more disappointment, in a way. This could also mean they're trying to lower the price of this game to make consumers more likely to then proceed to purchase a $20 season pass, but I really badly don't want this to be the case. Many fans likely also agree.
So, if the graphics look good, the gameplay looks good, and it has VR support... then why should anyone be cautious or worried? Oh, since this is EA we're talking about, which was voted the "Worst Company in America", because of, among other things, their anti-consumer practices with microtransactions. While the company has claimed that Squadrons won't have microtransactions, gamers are still expecting some sort of catch. Jedi: Fallen Order, developed by studio Respawn Entertainment and published by EA last year, was an example of a game published during EA's ownership of the Star Wars game license that had a great launch and pleased fans. It was an excellent story-driven singleplayer experience that proved, despite EA wanting consumers to believe otherwise, that single-player games, and especially Star Wars singleplayer games, aren't anywhere near dead.
So... will Squadrons follow suit? Some reasons it wouldn't are if it does indeed have some sort of pay-to-win mechanic (unlikely considering the BFII backlash and the redemption of that game), has so many add-ons that what you're paying for when you buy that game for $40 isn't even remotely close to the full package (still somewhat a possibility), or if, in typical EA fashion, it is completely broken and filled with bugs due to rushed development at launch. Even Jedi: Fallen Order had its fair share of glitches and performance issues, which weren't game-breaking for most people, but I would argue that they were almost that game's sole issue (outside of some confusing maze-like sections, but hey, that's what online walkthrough videos are for). On another note, quite a few fans online have been asking for a spiritual successor to the Rogue Squadron games from the GameCube era, but it's too early to tell if this game really is that. There's always the port option for those games, though, as Jedi Academy and Episode I: Racer, have proved. Or the HD remaster possibility, or I should say impossibility, since even KOTOR hasn't gotten that treatment somehow yet.
It will be a step in the right direction for EA, only if it doesn't do any of the stuff mentioned above. So there is not a big chance, honestly. It's not even being developed or outsourced to an excellent studio with a great track record like Jedi: Fallen Order's Respawn Entertainment. I'm still going to want to try this out, personally, for the VR support and the VR support only. As long as it isn't broken. And if the multiplayer is no fun, I'd also wait for a sale. And lastly, and this should go without saying, no matter what little goodies companies throw in to try to incentivize you to click the pre-order button, don't, don't, please don't pre-order this game! This is true for most games that aren't made by an S-tier studio (Nintendo, CD Projekt Red, Insomniac, cough cough), and especially true for a game made by EA, of all companies.
So, I'll be patiently and eagerly awaiting October 2nd, 2020. Not just to see if this game is good. But also to see if Crash Bandicoot 4 is good. Oh, you didn't know that was happening? Go and read the blog post I made yesterday about it: http://www.arcabaran.com/2020/07/crash-bandicoot-4-its-about-time-announcement-reaction.html Oh, you already knew that was happening? Go read it anyway, since I have some... opinions in there. Maybe. Or maybe not. Possibly.
That about wraps it up for this post. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, be sure to share it with a friend who is wondering what could possibly go wrong for this shiny new game. It better have an "It's a trap!" Admiral Ackbar emote, in my opinion. Otherwise, this is undoubtedly a failure and a travesty to not just gaming, but humanity as a whole. Just kidding. Speaking of kidding, you know what also isn't a joke? About half of my YouTube videos. The other half are indeed memes. That doesn't mean they're serious, though. They're still very fun, and if you would like to see where I'll be trying to make a weekly vacation vlog edit (*gulp*, I maybe haven't started working on this week's one yet), then please like, share, and click that subscribe button like Waluigi's chances of getting into the Smash Bros roster depend on it. Or just replace Waluigi with your dream character of choice, and if they're already in the game, just pretend like they're gonna get patched out or something if you don't subscribe, I guess. It's here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwRZe3oXRb7ybJthjNfoz5w
Anyways, thanks for reading. This is Arca, signing off. Stay safe, and have a good one, everyone. May the Force be with you.