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EA won't annualize Battlefield, so how will it organize its shooter schedule?

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.

7 comments

  • Evanesco - November 23, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    You use all this logic and skip right past one thing: If EA doesn't want to annualize battlefield, they won't release a Bad Company 3 next year. BF4 came out this year. Another battlefield in 2014 would be annualizing it. Battlefront's coming out next year.
  • D0CCON - November 22, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    Since I'm assuming Medal of Honor will be MIA for a good long while, I'd love it if they followed a pattern starting with BF4 this year, then Titanfall for 2014, then Battlefront for 2015, then BF5 or BF:BC3 (I'm hoping BC3) for 2016, then Titanfall 2 for 2017, then Battlefront again for 2018. Give each of these shooters three years in between releases and I'll be excited every time a new one comes out. I don't see it happening, but that would be awesome.
  • Doctalen - November 22, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    While it sounds like a smart decision (and certainly is nice to hear) EA hasn't really done annual releases. Bi-annual yeah they do that all the time. So while it's neat the hear and oddly smart to say (DOOMSDAY IS NEAR) it certainly isn't surprising
  • Shnubby - November 22, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    I'm pretty sure Medal of Honor has, for the moment, been cancelled. Just got to wait until someone decides to reboot it again. And hopefully not mess it up so badly!
  • Raikeron - November 21, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    Star Wars: Battlefront is scheduled to release around the same time as Episode VII (which is December 2015). There is no firm release date, but that's the targeted time period.
  • db1331 - November 22, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    Man, if they can pull off the epicness of BF4 in the world of Star Wars... Holy shit. That would probably be my favorite shooter of all time.
  • PhantomPineapple - November 21, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    Only two that matter are Battlefield and Battlefront IMO. And maybe Bad Company 3. Not much of a difference from Battlefield though.

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