EA and developer DICE have responded to a mounting backlash from fans after it emerged that to unlock playable heroes like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Battlefront 2, players will have to play the game for roughly 40 hours per hero.

Over the weekend a player logged statistics from their time playing the game's early access preview and worked out the rate at which players are rewarded with Battlefront 2's in-game 'credits' currency.

To accumulate the 60,000 credits needed to unlock the game's most expensive playable heroes would require players to play the game's core multiplayer mode - Galactic Assault - for 39.38 hours.

The finding has fuelled concern that Battlefront 2 encourages players to pay real-world money to unlock characters and powerful items quicker than through regular play.

In response EA's community team defended the game on Reddit, saying: "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

"As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta [in October] and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch.

"Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay."

The post has become the most 'downvoted' (a way for users to show their disapproval) post in Reddit history, crushing the record set by a user who specifically asked to be downvoted as much as possible.

That user received 24,200 downvotes, EA currently has 92,000.

Battlefront 2's Design Director Dennis Brannvall also responded to the mounting criticism. He said how the game's matchmaking (which pairs similarly skilled players) will take into account skill, gametime and rarity of the 'star card' abilities they have.

He also stated how heroes cannot be unlocked directly with the in-game currency players can purchase with real world money. Called 'crystals' this currency is used to buy crates that can contain star cards, weapons, scrap (used to purchase specific weapons) and large quantities of credits.

While purchasing crystals and crates won't unlock the heroes themselves, doing so can allow players to accumulate credits at a faster rate.

Both the EA community team and Brannvall stated that the developer is open to making changes based on player feedback and balancing the game.

Brannvall said: "We're constantly evaluating and tweaking the earn rates versus the cost of crates and heroes. The current rates were based on open beta data, but you should expect us to constantly evolve these numbers as we hit launch and onwards."

In response to the community team's declaration that they want players to feel "pride and accomplishment", one user said: "Wow that is a horrible response. And here I thought EA should be well versed in issuing statements regarding anti consumer practices but this badly worded PR speak word salad has proven me wrong."

Another said: "The problem isn't that the heroes are locked, it's that you can skip the wait by throwing more money at it, making the wait not for accomplishments, but to entice people to pay for it."

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will be released on 17 November for PS4, Xbox One and PC.