Battlefield Remains "Really Important" To EA After 2042 Came Up Short
EA CEO Andrew Wilson says the company is "rethinking the development process" for the Battlefield series going forward.
Electronic Arts is taking a "long view" on the Battlefield franchise and "rethinking the development process" following the disappointing launch of Battlefield 2042 last year.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during the company's latest earnings briefing that Battlefield is one of the video game industry's greatest franchises, "built by one of the great teams [DICE] in our industry." While Battlefield 2042 might not have lived up to expectations, Wilson said the series remains a "really important" component of EA's portfolio overall, and that will be true for "many, many years to come."
Wilson said the current leadership team on the Battlefield series, including Vince Zampella and Marcus Lehto, are setting out on a path toward "rethinking the development process from the ground up" for Battlefield. Wilson said the goal of Battlefield's future development will be to "get to the fun as quickly as possible." As announced previously, Zampella is now heading up the Battlefield franchise overall, while Lehto--who designed Master Chief and co-created the Halo franchise--is leading a new Seattle studio working on a Battlefield project. EA is trying to create a Battlefield "connected universe."
As for Battlefield 2042 specifically, Wilson said the team at DICE is currently focused on quality-of-life updates and "getting the core game right," and this effort remains ongoing. When the studio believes Battlefield 2042's core is at a good place, Wilson said fans can expect to see EA "invest and grow" Battlefield 2042 beyond where it is today.
DICE has plans to support Battlefield 2042 with multiple ongoing live-service updates that will introduce new maps and characters, among other things. There have also been reports that EA might consider making at least some portion of Battlefield 2042 free to help reinvigorate the player base.
Beyond that, a brand-new free-to-play Battlefield game could come in the future, but nothing is confirmed at this stage.
While that remains unconfirmed, EA is planning to grow the Battlefield series with a free-to-play mobile game that is currently available through a limited regional beta test. Wilson said EA will ramp up testing for this game at the end of May, and pending that process, the game could launch globally by the end of 2022 or in early 2023. "Having played the game, I can tell you, I think that we're excited for the potential," Wilson said.
Although Battlefield 2042 didn't sell as well as EA wanted, the period during which the game launched--EA's Q3 2021--was the most successful in the company's 40-year history. The Battlefield series makes up about 10% of EA's overall revenue.
Battlefield 2042 struggled in part due to it being developed during COVID, Wilson said, while he mentioned that some of the design choices in the game did not resonate with players.
In March, it was reported that DICE had begun work on the next mainline Battlefield game, though this title has yet to be officially announced.
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