The next Battlefield will be a showcase for next-gen consoles (but also run just fine on last-gen consoles).
As part of its Q4 2021 and full-year earnings call overnight, EA finally stopped beating around the bush and confirmed that Battlefield 6 won't just be a PS5 and Xbox Series X/S game, as has been communicated from the start, but will also arrive on PS4 and Xbox One.
The news isn't particularly surprising, of course, as most publishers wouldn't give up the tremendous sales potential that comes with releasing on mature consoles whose install base are close to 200 million. This makes even more sense when you consider that most people still can't find PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles, with stock woes predicted to be a problem well into next year.
It is, however, a little amusing to see EA CEO Andrew Wilson proclaiming the next Battlefield as a true next-gen game, only to later announce it's also coming to last-gen consoles.
"The reference specifically from our prepared remarks is around the nature of gameplay, what we can do with fidelity of the game, what we can do with physics, artificial intelligence and the immersive nature of the game," Wilson said when asked how the games can be designed for next-gen while still being playable on last-gen.
"And in the case of Battlefield, what we can do with respect to the amount of plays that we can have in the game and the nature of destruction of those only in Battlefield moments that are truly next-gen opportunities that we’re able to do in the context of our next-gen franchises, because of the increased processing power in memory and output of the new consoles."
Elsewhere in the call, a different investor asked Wilson whether having to release on two console generations could jeopardise the quality of the game, particularly as a number of other games in a similar situation struggled on last-gen for being "too ambitious." Battlefield 4, of course, famously had a disastrous launch on both console generations that took DICE months to truly fix.
"I think when you think about our infrastructure around our Frostbite team, our digital services teams and our game teams who have unbelievable experience getting the very best out of the past generation consoles to ensure that even as we move to the next generation, we’re getting more and more out of the old generation platforms. And so those games are going to look great," he said.
"When we think about new platform generations, again with the advances that we’re making in Frostbite with the advances that we’re making in our digital ecosystem and with the advances that we’re making at a future design level with the new unlocks that come from power, the gains on next generation consoles are going to be extraordinary."
The next Battlefield, whose official name has has yet to be confirmed, arrives before the end of EA's third quarter in December 31. It will be revealed in June.