Wednesday, January 19, 2022

EA’s Battlefield franchise sees big reshuffle

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Major shake up has been reported to take place in the Electronic Arts’s development structure so it could focus growing the Battlefield franchise and expand its series after a challenging Battlefield 2042 launch.

The future-set military shooter that was launched in November directed its way some criticism for not having so many features that were available in the previous games.

The game also apparently had a number of bugs that prevented users from playing entirely, and one of those bugs was “unable to load persistence data”.

EA has formally announced Battlefield universe creation that might span multiple games and offerings, developed across the studios of North America and Europe.

Apparently, DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson is leaving for a different pursuit outside of the EA and is being replaced by the former studio director at Ubisoft Annecy, Rebecka Coutaz.

Additionally, Respawn’s Vince Zampella is to take on a bigger role as new overall Battlefield franchise boss, while Halo designer Marcus Lehto is building is setting up a new team Seattle, focused on more storytelling into the universe of Battlefield.

Ripple Effect, the Battlefield 2042’s Portal mode developer, is coming up with new Battlefield experience in the Battlefield 2042 universe.

Shortly the DICE, Ripple Effect, and Lehto’s new Seattle studio to work together for expansion of Battlefield 2042.

While other Battlefield games and experiences will serve as extensions of the new Battlefield universe EA is meant to create. But as of yet that’s all we know.

Separately, Lehto is heading up the new Seattle studio. He is the guy to design Master Chief and one that played a major role in making Halo what it is today.

Byron Beede, the longtime veteran of Call of Duty, who EA hired earlier this year to grow the Battlefield series as the shepherd of its long-term strategy and business decisions, said Lehto and his team in Seattle will expand Battlefield 2042’s narrative across a “variety of experiences.”

These will lay the foundation for “storytelling opportunities now and well into the future,” Beede teased. Whatever Lehto’s team creates, it will show up in “later seasons” for Battlefield 2042 and “beyond.”

“While he and his team in the Seattle area are just getting started on building the Battlefield world of tomorrow, their work will shape later seasons for 2042 and beyond,” Beede said. “This new studio will act as the driver for narrative in tight collaboration with DICE and Ripple Effect Studios to help build great player experiences in the Battlefield universe.”

Zampella’s new position is on top of his existing managerial responsibilities at Respawn, which includes overseeing the ongoing efforts for live-service title Apex Legends and the studio’s other unannounced projects, one of which is rumored to be a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

EA chief operating officer Laura Miele sung Zampella’s praises, saying he is the right person to lead the Battlefield franchise into the future, building off his past successes with Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Apex Legends.

“He creates culture-defining entertainment that resonates beyond games. We are bringing one of the most influential and talented individuals in entertainment to a franchise that is ready to be unleashed into the modern era of gaming. It’s an extraordinary inflection point in game history. His ability to lead studios and bring developers together so they can create world-class experiences is unmatched,” Miele said.

“I believe the structure, process, and vision he brings will enable Battlefield to excel like never before. No one knows shooters and live services better than Vince.”

It remains to be seen what these changes mean for DICE’s other big series, Star Wars: Battlefront. The 2015 and 2017 games combined to sell 33 million copies, making them massively commercially successful, but it was recently reported that EA rejected a pitch for Battlefront 3, citing licensing costs.

EA’s new statement about being “all-in” on Battlefield suggests that no further Battlefront games are in the works at DICE, though this is not strictly confirmed.

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