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Alright, this one's a little ironic. EA is all about keeping Battlefield away from the annualization mill. Talking as part of an investor conference, CFO Blake Jorgensen fended off shareholders' pleading cries for more, yearly Battlefields deftly, saying that to do any different that their current scheme could "destroy the franchise."
Good on him, but that's not what's interesting here. In affirming Battlefield as a biennial franchise, Jorgensen has given us some potential insight into how EA plans to release it's massive stable of shooters.
First, an assumption. EA has an interest in spacing out its shooters. After all, it wouldn't want to release, say, Titanfall and Battlefield on top of one another, as the likely effect would be to cannibalize its online multiplayer community. And, as we all know, online multiplayer is the best way to keep games in gamers' game consoles. I'm going to say EA's best bet is to put at least six months between its shooters.
And then, what shooters are we looking at here? Battlefield 5, yes, but also perhaps Battlefield: Bad Company 3, a game DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson said just this October would be "coming back." There's also Star Wars: Battlefront, a game in production at DICE's Stockholm studio that was announced at E3 2013. Of course there's Respawn's aforementioned Titanfall as well.
And then there are a handful of unknowns. Crytek's Crysis franchise, which EA has traditionally published through its EA Partners program, is undergoing a massive rework--one that may remove it from the genre entirely. There's also Medal of Honor, a franchise EA initially appeared to be positioning as the biennial complement to Battlefield but is now looking increasingly moribund.
So if we start piecing this together, we have Battlefield 4 out now and Titanfall out in March. EA's 2014 tentpole shooter release would then be either Bad Company 3, or Battlefront. However, because DICE's current capacity is stretched thinner than a supermodel on coke, given that the company is, for sure, working on Battlefield 4 DLC, Mirror's Edge 2, and Battlefront, it's unlikely Bad Company 3 could ramp up in time for next year. So then we're looking at Battlefront for October/November 2014.
In to 2015, we could see Bad Company 3 becoming Titanfall's off-year, launching in the March timeslot. That, then, would segue into Battlefield 5 for October/November 2015--a release that is all but assured given Jorgensen's comments this week. The only issue here, of course, would be the idea of releasing two Battlefield-branded games in one year. Though their multiplayer components are functionally the same, their respective single-player components are potentially different enough for EA to stomach this eventuality.
Naturally, the unknowns here are everywhere. What is clear, though, is that even if Battlefield doesn't become an annualized franchise, EA has shooters for days.
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