EA recently confirmed that the next Battlefield game will be out in fiscal year 2022, which means that after having skipped 2019, the first person shooter franchise will also be skipping next year- after having followed an annual (for the most part) release cycle in recent years, that comes as something of a surprise.
And sure, part of that is because EA wants to launch Battlefield 6 on the PS5 and the Xbox Scarlett after both next-gen consoles have built up a solid playerbase, but as EA CEO Andrew Wilson explained during the company’s recent quarterly earnings call, there are other factors at work as well.
One of those is the fact that EA and DICE aren’t quite done with Battlefield 5 yet. When the shooter launched, EA very much billed it as a live service, and that’s something that they’re following through on, as the upcoming content update signifies.
“We still see a burgeoning opportunity with Battlefield V,” said Wilson, when asked about why Battlefield is skipping next year. “And as I talked about in the prepared remarks, we’re about to launch a whole new theater of wall with the Pacific theater and the team is still really thinking about, how they can continue to drive that service on a going forward basis. So, we think there’s opportunity still inside the Battlefield V experience, as it was built as a bite large service from the beginning.”
Another reason for Battlefield 6 being held back for now – and probably the bigger one – is Apex Legends. Respawn Entertainment’s free-to-play battle royale title has been a massive success, having recently surpassed 70 million players, and EA wants to make sure that it keeps focusing on that, and focuses on it as their flagship live service title that continues to grow every year- to the extent that there may not even be a Titanfall 3 for a long while yet. This, of course, also falls in line with EA’s renewed focus on live services.
“We now effectively have an annualized shooter Apex Legends and we see tremendous growth opportunity that can continue to engage, as we talked about in the prepared remarks, now over 70 million players,” said Wilson. “We have opportunity to take that into other regions and to other platforms. And we think is a tremendous growth opportunity on that and want to make sure that we give that the time that it deserves.”
That said, EA recently did say that it would be looking to release “exciting remasters of fan-favourites” in the coming year. Could the Bad Company games be among the titles getting remastered soon? It’s certainly possible- one would hope, at any rate.