Report: Criterion Making Battlefield Game, Franchise Going Annual
Activision created the blueprint, with regular $15 map packs and premium memberships for Call of Duty, and Electronic Arts is doing its best to follow it with the Battlefield franchise (much to my chagrin).
With one notable exception: EA has, thus far, stopped short of making annual Battlefield installments. But if Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is right, that’s about to change.
Eurogamer received a report from Pachter that claims Criterion Games (Burnout, Need for Speed) is now at work on a Battlefield spin-off that is scheduled to ship sometime during Electronic Arts’ fiscal year 2015, which runs from April 2014 to March 2015.
“Although EA has as yet to announce a Battlefield extension for FY15, we believe Criterion Games is working on a military shooter that may become a brand extension for the Battlefield franchise in FY15,” Pachter stated. “We spoke with management on Thursday afternoon, and although they have not yet announced a version of Battlefield for FY15, they confirmed that our understanding is spot on and that if a version of Battlefield were to be released in FY15, it would be developed by a studio other than DICE.”
Ugh. So just as Activision has put two different studios, Infinity Ward and Treyarch, on CoD to churn out alternating annual installments, it appears EA has the same idea with Criterion and DICE. If Pachter is right, we could see the next Battlefield (Bad Company 3?) from Criterion in 2014 followed by Battlefield 5 from DICE in 2015.
From a PR standpoint, the timing of this news definitely doesn’t do EA any favors as Battlefield fans are up in arms over the many launch problems that are still making Battlefield 4 a hot mess to play on all platforms. If anything, these problems indicate it takes more time to make a Battlefield installment than the current two-year schedule DICE is on. I can’t imagine throwing another studio into the mix for annual installments is going to help alleviate that very serious issue.
As for Criterion, while they’re most known for their racing franchises, it’s worth noting they made the memorable PS2 shooter, Black, back in 2006. More recently, they designed the driving levels in Medal of Honor Warfighter (the best parts of that forgettable FPS), so the studio does have experience with shooters as well as vehicles in shooters… which would line it up fairly nicely for a Battlefield game.
I’m a longtime Battlefield fan going back to the original wing-riding days of 1942, so you’ll forgive me if this sounds overly dramatic: make that two terrific shooter franchises (remember when Call of Duty was amazing?) that major publishers have ruined.