A couple months ago we received the news that Visceral Studios had been working on a lineair, story-driven Star Wars game, before they were shut down by EA. However production was not completely shut down, as the Gamespot article clarified: "Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe," said Patrick Soderlund, executive VP of EA worldwide studios, in a post on EA's website. "In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design."
This week we got an update on that project when Gamespot found out that EA is looking for an online engineer, to "lead a team to deliver Online features for a Star Wars Open World project." The requirements are among other things: "experience implementing Online features such as Matchmaking, Asynchronous interactions, Live services, Server-host migration, etc."
Speculation has already run wild on what kind of multiplayer it going to be. Is it going to be an MMO like World of Warcraft, or MMO-lite like Destiny and the upcoming Anthem? Pretty Good Gaming has their doubts on the latter, because it would mean EA creates its own competition. Yes, the market for Star Wars is slightly different, but in the end gamers like good games, and Destiny and the Division have been played by millions. But I don't really think it's that unlikely.
Bioware is not in a good place right now with Anthem. They're under immense pressure to make the game a success, and several key developers have already appeared to jumped ship. So I don't think it's unlikely for EA to prepare for Anthem to fail, and have a back-up plan in the making.
For a lot of people the "live services" requirement raises a big red flag. Live services means microtransactions in one way or the other, and we saw what EA/Dice did with Battlefront 2. But I'm not concerned about those. First of all because EA is not going to make BF2's mistake again. There is so much political movement against lootboxes now, that there is a very good chance that there will be limitations or even a ban on them by the time this game arrives. But I also find ignoring microtransactions very easy. I know people dislike them, and I'm not a fan, but I do like the option to grind for items while other people pay for all the extra released content.
My personal problem with the requirements is "server-host migration". I live in the Netherlands, but I have met a lot of people online. One of my favorite online games ever was Mass Effect 3, which I played with people all over the world. And lag has always affected gameplay. In ME3 the powers had issues, in Andromeda shooting didn't work properly off-host; every game that uses peer to peer connection is going to favor the host and screw clients to some extent. Do server-based games perform perfectly? No, absolutely not, but it is never nearly as atrocious as P2P. So if really want my support that is the first thing they need to move away from.
Article by: Joel "Mith" Storms