EA Confirms New Battlefield This Year, Respawn's Star Wars Title By March 2020, Comments On Lootboxes As Gambling
In their quarterly earnings call today, Electronic Arts confirmed a new Battlefield title for this holiday season, and indicated that Respawn's Star Wars action game will release in the 2020 financial year.
Electronics Arts executives Andrew Wilson, Patrick Soderlund, and Blake Jorgensen announced that a new Battlefield game would release this year and praised the success of the Battlefield IP, especially as Battlefield One ended up becoming the biggest game in the series. No other details were provided, but Battlefield One was revealed by DICE ahead of E3, so presumably EA will do something similar again.
The game was announced partly as means to explain why Bioware's Anthem, originally announced for 2018, is now slipping to early 2019. Jorgensen insisted that they do not look at the new date as a delay and that pushing it back was only done for scheduling reasons, with Jorgensen explaining game has been hitting all its development milestones. "It doesn't make sense to release [Anthem] next to Battlefield," he stated.
A question was asked to the executive team about whether or not Battlefront II broke fan trust and if it could be repaired in two years for an inevitable Battlefront III, but Soderlund clarified that Battlefront III has not been announced. He said that he expects Respawn's Star Wars action game, which has not been shown yet, to be fiscal year 2020's Star Wars game. Fiscal year 2020 ends in March 2020, so if those predictions are accurate, a holiday 2019 release could be a good guess.
When asked about the impact of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, EA president Andrew Wilson equivocated, and would not confirm similar long-running battle royale modes for Battlefield. "What PUBG has done is change the level of innovation that changes the way people play first-person shooting games,' Wilson said. "We've also seen it in Fortnite, so people are clearly interested in it. That doesn't mean just putting battle royale in Battlefield, though. Our Battlefield teams are looking at how they innovate, including core gameplay and map design."
Finally, the specter that has been hanging over EA since Battlefront II's release, lootboxes were eventually brought up. "We do not believe that lootboxes are a form of gambling, and a lot of countries agree with us," the executives reiterated after a question. "It's not just us, the entire industry and the ESA agree, and are helping to explain to people what those are. People are enjoying games all the time that some are misconstruing as lootboxes or gambling."
Battlefront II has sold nine million copies, though EA pointed out that this is weaker performance than Battlefield One.
It is interesting that they consider 2018 a bad time to release a game next to Battlefield and not 2016, when Titanfall 2 infamously launched a week ahead of Battlefield One.