[Edit: Capital Supremacy is now fully functional. Well done EA, you made it work]
If that introduction paragraph sounds a little charged by hatred, it’s because it is. As I write this very article, I am sat with my laptop in front of a lifeless spawn screen. I see other players popping in on the leaderboard but the typical message that tells me so many players are yet needed to begin the match is not there. Sometimes, I’ll get a freeze frame of the map, others I’ll get the character select screen. The leaderboards fluctuate between ten and sixteen players, aching towards the twenty a side we need to get started. This goes on for about ten minutes and… ah, I’ve been booted back to the main menu. Apparently I was being “removed from the game for being idle too long”. Even Battlefront II’s error screens don’t understand their audience! It's official – Capital Supremacy does not function.
Dialling things back a bit, let’s take stock of events leading up to this moment and how many stubborn Battlefront II fans (starved of anything else Star Wars in the industry right now) had something genuinely good to look forward to this time. It may irk some gamers out there to know I am one of them. I have been playing Battlefront II for a long time now. Queue the angry comments “How could you support that trash?” and so on and so forth. Feel free to read my justification for that in my original Star Wars: Battlefront II review. For those who aren’t up for that, just know I am on your side. I abhor microtransaction culture but hey, sue me, I’m also a huge Star Wars fan and it’s not like we’re being spoiled for choice on that front lately.
As much as many may loath to admit, it’s worth remembering Battlefront II is basically a reskinned version of Battlefield 1, which everybody loved. Aside from the controversy we all love to hate, this is mechanically the same game. Although it was lacking something Battlefield always had – Conquest. This was finally going to arrive to Battlefront II in the form of Capital Supremacy and here’s where I appeal to Star Wars fans. Imagine any Conquest map from Battlefield 1 and then reskin it as a colourful battle of laser fire across Geonosis. Beautiful. We were in for two teams of twenty, with vehicles, 12 bots interspersed in each team, and it even aspired to go a step further than Battlefield ever has. Once majority territory is taken, the winning team would go up to the losing team’s Capital Ship to take it out from the inside. Let’s be honest with ourselves here – all of this sounds fantastic!
I’d love to tell you it actually is but I’d have a really hard time doing so as I’ve not yet entered a match. I have pressed X on the menu screen and attempted to begin about three times now while writing this, with no luck yet. So just what the flippin’ nora is going on?
What makes this so brain racking and frustrating is that this is nothing new for Dice. Their team, that has undoubtedly seen many key staff members come and go over the years, has always delivered on multiplayer experiences. Granted, Battlefield 4 suffered from rocky servers for years. Since that time we’ve had several newer Battlefield games, one Battlefront game (admittedly a content starved cash-in) and more than a year of Battlefront II, each successful in lobby-to-match fluidity. So what is it about the Battlefront II project that has its devs so seemingly inept at… well, anything?! What on earth has resulted in the drop of a new map that we can all SEE but not take part in?
If you type Capital Supremacy into Google images, all you'll see is the promotional images from EA. That's because not enough players have been lucky enough to get into a match for there to be a chance of any one of those few players uploading anything online. Kotaku somehow managed to write a piece on what this game mode is like. Quite how they managed it (if they really did, who knows) remains a mystery. I'd rather report on it what it is like if I have actually played it.
I eventually give up, feeling deflated. I try any other game mode and bish bash bosh, we’re in – no problems at all. Plenty of people are still playing this game. This issue of being stuck on a spawn screen for Capital Supremacy is also widespread, as evidenced by Reddit.
Capital Supremacy was set to be the biggest update yet for Battlefront II. That’s not saying much considering the awful drip feed of updates we’ve had so far. But it was finally something substantial, other than a new character or smaller game mode. While many walked away from Battlefront II a long time ago, some of us are still sat here… waiting… waiting… booted. As a Star Wars fan, it is quite simply torture. As a consumer, it is quite simply unacceptable.