When it comes to properties published by Electronic Arts, most people expect that if they're popular they might be annualized. Well, EA tried annualizing Battlefield before and it didn't work out so well. EA is trying something different, which is why you won't be getting a new Battlefield game next year.
DualShockers is reporting that during this year's Nasdaq 35th annual Investor Program Conference in London, England, the chief financial officer for Electronic Arts, Blake Jorgensen, talked about the company's plans for a new Battlefield and it actually veered off to discuss plans for Star Wars: Battlefront 2, where Jorgensen stated...
We won't have another Battlefield back for a couple of years, next year we'll have Battlefront, the Star Wars game.
This is an expected and smart move from Electronic Arts. A three year cycle for Battlefield will work wonders for the brand. The two year development cycle doesn't really lend itself well for outputting quality games, but it sure beats a one year turnaround, which is what developers have to put up with working on annual series like Madden NFL and FIFA.
Previously, EA tried to annualize Battlefield after Battlefield 3 became an absolute smash hit. The game really helped elevate the generational leap in technology, becoming the next benchmark in graphics after Crysis held the title for so long. They released Medal of Honor: Warfighter the next year and then had DICE's Battlefield 4 arrive after that. The problem was that two years wasn't enough time for DICE to properly iron out all the kinks in the game, and it turned out to be less impressive, less groundbreaking and less of a technological leap forward than what was presented with Battlefield 3.
EA, however, had already put their plan into motion and, despite a lot of the groveling and complaints about bugs and poor performance in Battlefield 4, EA followed the game up a year later -- or at least attempted to -- with Visceral Games' Battlefield: Hardline. Gamers saw right through it and called it a "reskin", saying it felt more like a tacked on DLC expansion than a full fledged game.
The complaints about Hardline were so high and so heavy that they ate enough into the pre-orders to force EA to delay the game by several months. They were also dealing with people still complaining about Battlefield 4 as well, which did not bode well for the Battlefield brand.
After they released Battlefield: Hardline in early 2015, they were already looking ahead to Star Wars: Battlefront. The game was popular with many casual fans and took a low bar of entry approach to the shooting game genre to lure in as many fans of the Star Wars movies as possible. This also gave DICE a three year development cycle for Battlefield 1 and the extra time really did pay off.
Activision has also moved to a three-year cycle for the Call of Duty games, and no matter what you think about the actual games, the quality of the design is at least top notch. With Star Wars: Battlefront working on a two year cycle, this poses an interesting challenge to see if the team at DICE working on the game will be able to match the quality of the first game while also expanding and extending the content and play mechanics.
Staving off Battlefield to give it some breathing room is smart, but it's a dangerous game to play putting Battlefront on the two year cycle after they just came off a lot of backlash with Battlefield 4 and Battlefield: Hardline. In the interim, they plan on releasing a VR tie-in for Battlefront on December 6th featuring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story content.