Sections

Warfighter: EA’s schedule shows solidity in coming year

Thursday, 10th May 2012 09:34 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Q2 lull is over, financials season is in full swing and E3 2012 is alarmingly close. It’s time to take a look over the major players and see what the year ahead holds, starting with the effervescent EA.

EA’s announced release schedule, ending
March 31, 2013. Click for a big version.
Dead Space will re-emerge in this period,
but the game hasn’t been announced.

EA is very much one of gaming’s top flight publishers. After hauling itself out of a digital revolution wallow in 2010, it’s back in the business, fronting one of the most diverse and busy triple-A line-ups of the next few years.

Kicking off with a Q1 success story, Mass Effect 3 is likely to cast a long shadow for EA this year as BioWare pushes out new content, beginning with a free update to the game’s ending cinematics but likely to proceed straight into premium add-ons for both the single-player campaign and tenaciously popular multiplayer.

Elsewhere, the BioWare label really has its hands full. Analysts believe staff have been diverted from the Dragon Age series onto Star Wars: The Old Republic, and given the franchise’s total silence and the cancellation of its DLC, this is probably true. Don’t expect it to surface again this year.

But there’s still plenty of work to be done – BioWare Victory is toiling away on Command & Conquer: Generals 2, although this hasn’t been confirmed for the current fiscal year, meaning it won’t release before March 2013. BioWare Mythic is pushing the recently released Warhammer MOBA, Wrath of Heroes, as well as propping up the still-vital MMORPG, Age of Reckoning. Rumours of firm Ultima projects are staying just that for the moment. Everybody else under the BioWare banner is likely to be sucked into one of the two major hitters, producing content for Mass Effect and The Old Republic.

Although we’re not expecting it until calendar 2013, it seems increasingly obvious that Visceral is indeed working away at Dead Space 3, a project so leaky the Jumblies tried to buy it and rename it HMAS Colander. Maxis has its hands full with SimCity, a simulation and social endeavour so ambitious we’re only beginning to understand the breadth of its scope, likely to drop in the first quarter of 2013.

Strong stuff for the coming fiscal year. EA Partners’ output for the next 12 months may be a little more mysterious; as we saw with Syndicate’s announcement last year, the publisher isn’t above staying mum on a project until very nearly the last minute. Will we see the announcement of something from Bullfrog’s back catalogue? It seems likely. Just don’t cross your fingers for Road Rash. In terms of announced EAP products, MMORPG The Secret World is looking particularly tasty ahead of its June launch, and Insomniac’s Overstrike is likely to show off the commitment to quality the formerly Sony-exclusive developer is known for when it releases during northern summer.

Speaking of racers, both Criterion and EA Black Box are beavering away behind the scenes. The latter’s project is likely to remain under wraps for months to come, but we’ll hear what Criterion has going on pretty soon. It’s been confirmed that we’re going to get a new Need for Speed in calendar Q4, and the obvious assumption is that it’s Hot Pursuit 2.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is EA’s big shooter
play for the Christmas season.

Running through the genres, EA’s shooter plans are well known. Medal of Honor: Warfighter is taking the battle to Call of Duty this October, while DICE continues support for Battlefield 3, likely through until the end of the year at least.

When the Christmas madness dies down in the first quarter of 2013, Crytek will bring its formidable powers to bear with Crysis 3, looking to address many of the criticisms the slightly disappointing sequel attracted, although ageing hardware means it’s unlikely to be the revolution many are hoping for.

Meanwhile, EA Tiburon is doing its usual thing with Madden NFL 13 and the college football license, while EA Canada will again push out the yearly NHL and FIFA, all of which will appear towards the end of northern summer. We’re also likely to see the publisher’s triumphant return to the NBA license, although there’s no date as yet, and possibly an expansion or iteration on FIFA Street, which sold like hotcakes. SSX? Not so much. Don’t hold your breath.

It’s an exciting year for EA in terms of platforms, too; the publisher is likely to expand Origin‘s distribution service to further third parties, and iron out many of its little foibles on the way. You can expect almost any title more than six months away to turn up on Wii U, so keep your eyes peeled for Nintendo’s third-party press release at E3 next month.

Vita hasn’t seen a lot of EA love so far, with the company seeming a little shy of the new handheld, but that could well change as PopCap and EA’s notable collection of casual and social developers hit their stride with the hardware.

It looks like a busy few years ahead, and this is only the stuff we know about. Expect big guns to fire at E3 and gamescom: the silly season is about to start.

[image]

Breaking news

9 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  1. StolenGlory

    Oooh Ultima.

    Now *there* is a prime candidate for a Kickstarter if I ever saw one.

    In other news, ‘Bioware Victory’ is probably the coolest name a game dev could possibly have.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    I think they’ve been working on the Ultima stuff for quite a while now. At least a few years.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. StolenGlory

    @2

    That’s pretty encouraging; so long as it is a bonafide entry in the RPG side of things and not any sort of extension to that Lords of Ultima bollocks.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Hunam

    I just hope they give Dragon Age 3 a good long time to cook. DA2 has some good points, like the story, companions and art direction but everything else was just pretty poor and they didn’t take the lore very seriously at all (mages just about everywhere).

    Although it’s odd to see so few games up for release from a big publisher for the rest of the year. I guess they really have changed to focus on digital/dlc to extend games instead of knocking out games every 5 seconds.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. SplatteredHouse

    Looking at this prediction of Hot Pursuit 2 (Burnout’s red-headed stepchild returns.)
    I would be more satisfied to see one smash, crash all-out EA racer, one franchise like that, and then another that’s sleek and speedy, is more about finesse, perhaps plays more in the vein of early Midnight Clubs. They can fit all their social/vouchers they want in to a framework like that. Instead, they gave us The Run.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. StolenGlory

    @4

    “I just hope they give Dragon Age 3 a good long time to cook. DA2 has some good points, like the story, companions and art direction but everything else was just pretty poor and they didn’t take the lore very seriously at all (mages just about everywhere.”

    I completely agree with this.

    I was actually bought Dragon Age: Ultimate Ed for Christmas and just couldn’t put it down at all (I was also bought Skyrim at the same time; which to this day remains in its packagaing). I feel head over heels in love with the characters and the lore. When DA2 rolled around, (I had heard extensively beforehand that the majority of folks despised it, but I thought I would take a chance on it; it only cost me £5) I played through it and saw it through to conclusion. Whilst I didn’t *hate* the game, I truly think that it was inferior to the original in every single, meaningful way and was compounded by some truly silly design decisions (no real party equipment, overused maps, etc..).

    Still, they *seem* to have taken alot of this on board and *hopefully* we’ll see something a little more along the lines of the original DA when the supposedly Orelais-set DA3 comes about.

    All eyes on E3 presumably I guess.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. absolutezero

    I kinda like the look of Overstrike but thats as far as it goes.

    Triple A YEAH

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    EA is working on the Ultima Online?

    Oh come on. It’s going to be another WOW Rip Off.

    Ultima Online is still the best MMORPG to date, EA won’t capture that magic. To make this game you need to have excellent team that love it and with current gen visuals it is better for them to make a game that is not about Ultima, freedom, that loot, that hardcore stuff.

    I still have my copy of the oldchool Ultima with a huge book with lot’s of commands.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. StolenGlory

    @8

    Besides Ultima Online, what was your favourite Ultima title Erth?

    #9 2 years ago