Star Wars Battlefront & EA’s Weird Ideas About “Canon”

I don’t play video games so the hype over SW Battlefront didn’t register much on my radar. But I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about limiting the game’s setting to the OT era and its lack of space battles.

Last week there was a quarterly earnings call with Electronic Arts (EA) CFO Blake Jorgensen and Jorgensen apparently said that Battlefront will remain an OT-era game, so if you’re dying to shoot Cad Bane in the face or engage in a battle on Naboo under the Battlefront banner, you can forget about it. While the CFO said that EA is open to games set in other eras, he had this to say about why Battlefront is only sticking with the OT:

“You can’t make a game in Star Wars that violates the canon of Star Wars,” said EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen during a quarterly earnings call yesterday, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. Since Battlefront is explicitly set during the era of the original trilogy, adding events from films set earlier or later than Episodes 4 through 7 would be unfaithful to the franchise, he explained.

I realize this is Polygon summarizing Seeking Alpha (where you have to register to read all of the content) but when I last checked, TFA isn’t part of the OT so I don’t know why he’d include 7 except to explain why there was an add-on to the game that allowed characters to battle away on Jakku. (I have a simpler explanation: Disney made them.) TFA characters aren’t in the add-on but still, if you can go to Jakku then why not Mustafar or Kamino or Utapau?

As some commented in the Polygon post, Battlefront jacks with canon all of the time:

“Hell, the time Boba Fett and the Emperor teamed up to kick the s*** out of Han on Hoth was my favorite part of the movies.”

“So old lady storm troopers running around with their helmets off on Hoth is canon?”

“Yeah, I totally remember watching Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett ganging up on a green lightsaber, black robed Luke during the battle of Hoth back in Empire Strikes Back.”

So yeah, I’m not buying it. It’s one thing to say you don’t want Watto to battle Admiral Piett with a lightsaber because that illogically mixes up the eras. But this makes it sound like acknowledging any elements of the prequels and Clone Wars is somehow being “unfaithful” to the franchise. If that’s true, then what’s your average episode of “Rebels” doing? My guess is EA didn’t want a game that offended older/geekier prequel haters.

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55 Responses to “Star Wars Battlefront & EA’s Weird Ideas About “Canon””

  1. zch81721 Says:

    Oh I called massive amounts of bullshit on this and pretty much everyone else is.

  2. Daniel Says:

    Yeah BS. Glad I didn’t get this game.

  3. Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

    I couldn’t help but chuckle at the comments 😛

    Anyway, this is blatant anti-Prequel Propaganda. And as you stated with “My guess is EA didn’t want a game that offended older/geekier prequel haters”, it’s nothing but risk-free pleasing toward angry jerks who harass anyone with a different opinion. In addition, it exposed how the effects of “Offend Nobody PC” have spread to everyone. Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are becoming scarce not just in the everyday world and political aspects, but also in something as silly as fandom. Or, am i being over-dramatic here?

    • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

      P.S. I don’t know if this is my place to speak, since I am not a Battlefront fan or player.

    • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

      You’re being overdramatic here, since you asked.

      It always raises red flags with me when someone starts ranting about “political correctness gone mad” because while some people DO take it a bit too far and some people ARE oversensitive, there are actually VERY good reasons why the trend started in the first place – in order to see people as people and not as some shakily-defined other. As humans, we SHOULD be working to not hurt anyone, and avoid triggering words and images in everyday speech. When there’s a pushback against those who take it to an extreme (and they annoy me too, since they make those of us fighting for kindness and reason look bad), there’s a tendency to push back to far and open up floodgates of prejudice. I’ll leave it there since this really isn’t the place to get political in any way.

      Bringing it back to the topic at hand: Appealing to the vocal haters isn’t political correctness. PC would be including everything ever with the Star Wars brand on it because someone, somewhere likes it. This is more BC – Business Correct. The haters are the loudest, so EA assumes there’s more of them and thusly is trying to appeal to where they think they’ll get the most money. This may end up backfiring on them.

      Battlefront II remains one of my favorite video games of all time, and I was already offended as a gamer and a Star Wars fan that the long-awaited sequel actually has LESS features than its two-generation-old (in gaming terms) predecessor. To see that EA missed the official Lucasfilm Story Team memo that I-III and Clone Wars are absolute canon is just plain stupidity. I always defended them in the past when people put them on the “Worst Company” list because I’ve enjoyed their output for decades. Whelp, they’ve finally proven me wrong. Bravo.

  4. James Says:

    I still dont have it, and i wont get it until they wisen up and add the rise of the empire era to the game! Im happy waiting forever if i must.

  5. jorgelaris Says:

    I fear Disney is planing to reboot the prequels. I would be so mad and so sad.

    • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

      All wessa can do is make our voices herd, buy the prequel products, and (if some of us our willing to), not pay to watch the new film$ in theaters, not likely to be hopefully cause a box-office drop…

      • Cristian Martinez Says:

        Sorry, but Disney is a CORPORATION, what matter is profit, not the fans opinions, and even less the fans that they throw under the bus to please the Original Star Wars fans.

    • Jacobesico Says:

      If that happened I think that people will see how vain and shallow Disney really are and how unique the proper Prequels are.

      I don’t think they would be able to touch the Prequels anyway.

      I would boycott the re-makes at any rate just as I’ve boycotted The Force Awakens.

  6. roxam91 Says:

    I’m a huge gamer, and would’ve loved to play the new Battlefront… if it was actually saga respectful like the previous (and far superior) two entries. You ain’t getting any of my money EA

  7. SWPN Says:

    “Since Battlefront is explicitly set during the era of the original trilogy”

    Explicitly? It doesn’t have any story at all. It’s just map, characters, ships, play. If they chose to limit themselves, then it’s on them, not a canon problem. Because the previous two (greater) games managed to do it pretty well.

  8. piccolojr1138 Says:

    Well, he forgot they picked up Gungan technology 😀

  9. jayoungr Says:

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Also, Bravo Sierra.

  10. Jacobesico Says:

    EA’s Battlefront is all style and no substance and doesn’t light a candle to the first two games.

    I’ve boycotted EA ages ago. All of their products are riddled with bugs on release and they are as useful as a chocolate Teapot.

  11. starwarsfan10 Says:

    Please stop hating on and saying negative Disney just because of one movie and one video game. There’s a lot of other important global issues to talk about like ISIS. Besides, I understand Disney is a corporation, but, it’s not like all their films, especially the Marvel films, are bad films. They’ve made quite wonderful films. Besides maybe Rogue One, Episodes 8 & 9, and the other spin-offs will be original.

    • Cristian Martinez Says:

      Sorry but that wont happen any time soon, we wont be the quiet sheep that let the butcher corner them and butcher them to please a few stupid nostalgic fans.

      • JustinJL Says:

        The thing that is quite shocking to hear and read is how willing some (not all) SW fans are content to go along with the decision of what is canon and what is not. The thoughts are “well we didn’t like most of the books and media.” or “The canon was not etched in stone so Lucasfilm and Disney can alter whatever they want.” People are so pro-Disney, that the prevailing feeling is that everything they touch turns to gold, I think that blinds a lot of people. Maybe Iam off base. Maybe the new Lucasfilm regime and Disney have some new original ideas. EA’s decision to not even consider adding PT characters and vehicles to the new Battlefront game. Does give me pause.

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        Disney, by way of the Lucasfilm Story Team, already explicitly stated that I-III and Clone Wars are immovable Canon, and the ONLY stuff that’s explicitly not is the EU which already was explicitly not.

        We just have to remind them every so often in case they try and pull a fast one. Like EA not getting the memo here. In fact, why am I the only one here who seems to remember that little tidbit?

      • roxam91 Says:

        “… why am I the only one here who seems to remember that little tidbit?”

        That makes two of us.

  12. Slicer87 Says:

    It isn’t canon, that is a laugh. The way Disney stamps canon on everything they make has rendered the concept completely useless, canon means nothing anymore because of the willy nilly way Disney has handled it.

  13. Hunk a Junk Says:

    EA’s “no prequel” decision must come from Disney, because it fits a pattern. Cancelling the PT 3D releases, dogwhistling “practical effects” in TFA (have you seen ILM’s visual effects reel? BB-8 was digital in every shot where he was rolling. They never had a puppet that could do that while they were shooting. Sets digitally erased and replaced with CG versions, etc. Gawd. Practical my ass.) I know the Japanese model company Bandai is putting out terrific and accurate Star Wars kits, but they are only doing kits from the OT and TFA. They have no intention of making PT kits. So EA’s executives may be clumsily spinning this, but I’m sure they’re following Disney’s orders.

    • Thorin Milliken Says:

      At least the Bandai S.H. Figuarts Star Wars 6″ figures feature a good mix. They’ve got TPM Obi Wan, Darth Maul, Battle Droid, Mace Windu, Clone Trooper… and hopefully a Qui Gon soon.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      I’ve run into a few comments to the effect of “so what if you can prove there’s more CGI than I was claiming? It was good (or maybe appropriate) CGI.” I’m just wondering what’ll wind up in the behind-the-scenes features on the home video release, which may account for why I’m both not counting the days to that release and contemplating just watching the movie’s promised release on Netflix…

      • Falcongunner Says:

        That’s something I’ve been contemplating myself and debating whether or not to even watch the special features….Simon pegg’s article in the last Star Wars Insider was bad enough…..

  14. Thorin Milliken Says:

    I’ve actually had the new Battlefront since launch. I had the money at the time and was really craving some Star Wars. The visuals are amazing and I’ve had a lot of fun with it, but ya the original 2 games offered sooooo much more. Knowing now that there will be no PT DLC, I just feel way too limited with the game. I’ve moved on for the most part. Been enjoying playing Bounty Hunter on PS4. I just crave PT stuff as it was so epic. George’s vision really came out and shined in that era.

    • Cristian Martinez Says:

      A Bounty Hunter that basically does nothing in the original movies other than give means stares and cross his arms. I never understand why Boba Fett is so popular among the Original Star Wars fans when he basically does nothing in the Originals, and when he actually does something, he die in a very humiliating way.

      • Thorin Milliken Says:

        Ya, I think most people loved Boba Fett back in the day because he looked so cool LOL. He really didn’t do much in the OT other than die a pathetic death. Well, and stand around looking cool. Bounty Hunter the video game is cool cuz it fleshes out the back story of Jango Fett and how he became the prototype for the Clones. Poor guy had a bad death too tho haha.

      • jayoungr Says:

        Oh, I dunno–beheaded by the HEAD OF THE JEDI ORDER with a freakin’ PURPLE LIGHTSABER strikes me as a pretty badass way to go. 😀

      • hansolo1138 Says:

        Finally! Something Cristian Martinez and I agree on!

      • jayoungr Says:

        (Er, I was replying to Thorin Milliken and talking about Jango Fett, in case it’s not clear. I have never understood the big deal about Boba Fett.)

  15. Spino Says:

    EA’s Battlefront is a cruel joke compared to the first 2 AND the PSP versions. Even if they did add in everything that was in the old games (For an extra cost of course!) it still wouldn’t hide the fact that they pushed out an incomplete game for +$60.00.

    • buick runner Says:

      They don’t have to push out a quality game, Star Wars sells itself.

      • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

        Buick-Runner… That perfectly illustrates mistakes of the pass (which caused the Game Crash of 83) and the ignorance of today… who cares if it is timeless or has at least some thought-provoking interpretation… if it has a popular name on it, it’ll sell!….

  16. Shamari Stewart Says:

    I guess I’ll be the voice of dissent in saying that I love the game… and I don’t mind that there aren’t any prequel characters in it, or that they don’t plan on adding any. While there are other things that are obviously kind of out of place, seeing darth maul or a young anakin running around would be taking it up a notch (in my opinion).

    And the battle of Jakku occurs a few years after return of the jedi (if I’m not mistaken, you can look it up to verify I could be wrong but I know it’s not far after ROTJ, it’s in the “Star Wars: Lost Stars” novel) so it actually does fit in that timeline.

    I personally would rather see a prequel-dedicated game, like the old battlefront games (which I never played in their entirety, I’ve played it at friends’ houses and stuff like that and it was fun). Now I wouldn’t be “disappointed” at all if prequel characters were added, BUT it would be more out-of-place than other things, to me.

    The only anti-prequel thing that kinda irked me (only a little bit though) is that palpatine in the game doesn’t have a lightsaber. He just runs around shooting lightning at people, “like he did in the good old originals!” I really wish they gave him a lightsaber, and IF they add yoda I hope they give him a lightsaber also.

    Just my 2-cents

    • jayoungr Says:

      I don’t think the biggest problem is that they’re not going to put Prequel characters into the game–not every game has to encompass every era. But their justification for not doing so–“unfaithful to the franchise”–is hypocritical at best and at worst may have disturbing implications for how the prequel era timeline is going to be treated in the age of the sequels.

      • Shamari Stewart Says:

        I think I just read it differently. I saw that as them being more concerned with things matching up in the timeline, especially since the full statement in the article says “Since battefront is set explicitly in the era of the original trilogy”, adding prequel characters would be unfaithful to the franchise. To me it seems like they’re more concerned with the feel of the game making sense, and it happened to come off as anti-prequel to some people. Maybe it’s my wishful thinking but I think this guy just made a poor choice of words, and is trying to say that the prequels don’t fit in this game (which I honestly kind of agree with, even though I would be excited to see them in the game).

      • Shamari Stewart Says:

        Also to be clear I’m not saying it would be unfaithful to the franchise, I just wanted to extend your quote to have the whole context. I’m quoting him lol

      • jayoungr Says:

        I hope you’re right. However, the fact that they’ve expanded to include Episode VII throws a lot of suspicion on that “explicitly set in the era of the original trilogy” argument. Episode VII takes place 30+ years after the original trilogy, so how does Jakku fit into Battlefront any better than prequel-era content? I would say it actually makes more sense to have Clone Wars-era holdover elements, like the Gungan technology in the video above, than to jump forward to anything in TFA. Of course they’re not going to cut themselves out of the money that could be made by incorporating TFA; I get that. It’s just that if they’re going to do that, then they don’t get to claim that they’re sticking strictly to the OT timeline anymore. And if they’re going to open the timeline in one direction, why not the other?

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Exactly.

      • Shamari Stewart Says:

        They’re actually not jumping 30 years forward though, the battle of Jakku happened soon after the events of Return of the Jedi and is the final battle between the Rebels and the Empire. If they added the battle at starkiller base, then I’d totally agree with you. The battle of jakku doesn’t feel out of place for me, because it does take place shortly after the OT and it’s still rebels vs empire.

      • Shamari Stewart Says:

        I can’t say anything for sure of course because I don’t know what these guys are thinking, I’m just going by their statements (which are definitely very poorly-worded, at best).

    • jayoungr Says:

      Oh, THAT Battle of Jakku. Well, that’s a bit better. Will try to remain optimistic.

  17. Captain Fordo Says:

    I’m surprised considering this is EA, the king of raking in money from everywy possible. I mean there’s so much cash they could make from milking the other parts of the saga. All they would do to rake in cash is even just retexture the bloody units, and bam easy money.
    But of course, EA is aiming for the golden poo award once again.

    And yes, the time Palpy and Boba teamed up to beat up Han on Hoth is my favorite part of the saga too, followed closely by watto beating up Amdiral Piett and ackbar.

  18. hansolo1138 Says:

    Just think, two months ago people were joking about how Prequel-era maps and characters would be added as DLC. Even that would have been preferable to none at all.

    However, I will check out Battlefront. After all, it is available on the only gaming console I have, the Wii U. OH WAIT! NO IT ISN’T! $&@$! Sorry, folks, I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest for a long time.

    • Thorin Milliken Says:

      At least you have Xenoblade Chronicles X LOL. I’d love to play that but don’t have a Wii U. Seriously tho, ya, it’s a shame how Nintendo has become so separated from the rest. Good and bad. I’d love a proper Metroid Prime upgrade. Have you tried Disney Infinity Star Wars? I held out for the longest, but finally got it, and it’s actually really fun!

      • hansolo1138 Says:

        No, I don’t do Toys-to-Life. If I tried out a Toys-to-Life game, Disney Infinity would be my second choice, after LEGO Dimensions.

        Speaking of which…LEGO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS IS COMING! (On Wii U, I might add.)

  19. Cad Bane Says:

    It’s obvious they were hyping this game up for the older generations (no offense) judging by the trailers and commercial for the final release.

  20. andywylde77 Says:

    I find it really disgusting how this new era of people in charge of SW are going out of their way to kiss old fanboy ass! Everything needs to be OT-centric now. And the OT purist crowd know that Disney and co. are catering to them and these OT purists are thinking it is a good thing.

    This is why I have been staying away from SW boards and what not. I have read some stuff and it is a disgrace that all this new SW material is being held in high esteem when in fact it is all garbage. They are not respecting the SW saga as a whole. They are only picking and choosing things(OT era) to use. There are many, many SW fans out there who like different aspects of it. This catering to the OT only crowd will alienate a lot of fans down the road.

    Because for me I am not really all that interested with this Disney era of SW at all. But hey why just keep rehashing stuff from the past? See how far that can take you? I am willing to bet it will only take them so far.

    Wait till episode 8 comes along and they rehash TESB. You know this is coming. If they can rehash episode 7 with ANH and make billions, anyone knows that the execs at Disney will rehash episode 5 and call it episode 8! The fanboys will eat it up and ask for seconds. I can’t believe the amount of people I have seen defend this current rehash cash grab. They say things like, “well they needed to rehash the OT to bring SW back on track” WHAT!!!!!!!
    First off SW never I repeat: NEVER had to “get back on track” It has always been on track. Even when there is a dry spell between movies they would sell tons of comics, games, video games, figures, books etc. Not bad for a franchise that needed to “get back on track?”

    But hey Disney please by all means keep doing what you are doing and see how well the SW franchise will be doing ten years down the road. I can almost guarantee you it won’t be looking that great.

    • Tarrlok Says:

      Good point about the success of SW media/merchandise between 1999 and 2014. I’d have thought that the general formula of the “Prequel Era” would have been worth following for the “Sequel Era.” Seems not to have been the case, unfortunately.

      Hopefully Episode 8 helps give the Sequel Trilogy a stronger distinctive identity – through story, aesthetic, et cetera – beyond that carried over from the Original Trilogy. Rebellion against Empire and X-Wing versus TIE Fighter would get tiresome real fast even to all the wounded fanboys who were desperate to grasp onto anything that wasn’t PTish. It does neither trilogy any good (as marketable intellectual property of Disney) if the ST becomes indistinguishable from the OT.

      • andywylde77 Says:

        Yes I agree. But my hope for episode 8 being completely different that a rehash of episode 5 is slim and none at this point. I do hold out on some hope it might be different. But when you can rehash episode 4 and call it episode 7 and make over 2 billion dollars? Another rehash doesn’t seem too far out of the question.

        For me this film has been a real letdown and what makes it worse is the fact that these whiners and haters of the PT are thinking that this new movie series is for them. I really hope more than anything that the next film is a whole new film that is worthy of being called part of the SW ST and not TESB 2.0

  21. Tarrlok Says:

    It sounds like one of Mr. Jorgensen’s advisers heard the word “canon” be bandied about by SW fans, and he thought it would be so wonderfully hip and down-with-the-nerds to use it… without actually knowing what it means.

    What a violation of the first two Star Wars: Battlefront games. The first game was released months before ROTS and capitalised on the SW hype in 2004. The second game was a companion and follow up to ROTS, even devoting its box art to a Phase II 501st clone trooper (later to be an icon of TCW), Coruscant and Mustafar. These games weren’t part of some moronic executive’s desire to feed into an artificial fandom schism; they were about the saga and were for fans of any parts of it.

    Those games were about the whole saga, OT and PT both. There was a lot of crossover that wasn’t entirely canonical but still meant to be eye candy and fun for devoted fans. Imperials versus rebel clones on Kamino. Imperials against Naboo guards and a queen dressed like Padme in TPM. Imperials versus Separatist holdouts on Mustafar. Anakin’s clone legion fighting alongside all the other Jedi on all the planets glimpsed in ROTS. Imperials fighting Rebels on Polis Massa. Any combination of factions, maps and hero units that made instant action and Galactic Conquest anachronistic yet fun for a devoted fan.

    Yeah, as the commenters on the article pointed out, there’s nothing canonical about most of what you see in games like Battlefront. Seems that there’s an adherence to “canon” whenever it’s convenient to not offend the unhinged exclusionary fringe who claim to be SW fans but hold every other fan in contempt.

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