EA’s efforts to combat Activision in the annual end-of-year shooter field are well documented, but the release of Battlefield: Hardline does not mean the publisher has annualised the franchise.
EA regularly fronts a shooter game in October, slightly ahead of Activision’s annual Call of Duty release. For the past few years Battlefield has launched every second year, with Medal of Honor filling the gap – but that franchise has since been put on the back burner, having garnered a lukewarm reaction at best since its reboot.
With Battlefield: Hardline following Battlefield 4 just one year later, it seems natural to assume that EA is following in Activision’s footsteps by turning Battlefield into an annual, multi-studio franchise.
But EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund told Polygon that’s not actually the case. Instead, Hardline is a passion product that happens to fill the gap this year, and came about after DICE boss Karl-Magnus Troedsson and Visceral head Steve Papoutsis met, formed the idea, and brought it to Söderlund.
Söderlund approved the plan, provded Visceral could prove its Battlefield chops by making an expansion pack.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that’s the way it’s going to be forever and ever. I understand that some people may look at it that way but that’s what happened,” he said.
The executive’s explanations follow comments made last week to the effect that EA doesn’t want to annualise all its franchises.
“The idea of a cops and robbers type Battlefield game has been with us — me and the DICE team — for more than ten years,” he added.
“There are early prototypes from, like, 2000 or 2001 of a game that we called back then Urban Combat. This has been lingering and we’ve been wanting to do something like this.”
There’s one other other chief worry Battlefield fans have in the wake of Hardline’s announcement, and that is that Battlefield 4 launched in a somewhat sorry state, and another release so soon afterwards feels a bit rushed (although thankfully, it certainly doesn’t mean DICE will stop working on its shooter). Söoderlund feels he can put that concern to bed, too.
“We still have things to make [Battlefield 4] better. Everything that we’ve fixed with [Battlefield 4] will go into Hardline,” he said.
Battlefield: Hardline is coming to PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in October.