Unlike the certain perpetuity of the core Battlefield franchise, DICE’s Battlefield: Bad Company series exists in a state of perpetual uncertainty.
Since Battlefield: Bad Company 2 released in 2010, boasting magnificent multiplayer and a stirring second chapter in the saga of its misfit-outfit namesake, fans of the series have been on standby for an announcement of Bad Company 3. A glimmer of hope for 2013 flashed by this May – a trio of developer resumes listed “prototype feedback” work with the game – but this week’s confirmation of Battlefield 4 as the next Battlefield release has placed Preston Marlowe on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
With Battlefield 4′s presumable October 2013 launch date (EA confirmed the game would shortly follow its Fall 2013 beta, unlocked through Medal of Honor: Warfighter), set to mark the shortest interval between two releases in the main series’ history, many have become vocal with a logical question: Why isn’t DICE developing Bad Company 3 instead?
DICE community manager Ian Tornay fathomed a partial answer recently on Reddit. After an initial posting in he which he promised DICE would continue support for Battlefield 3 (“past the release of End Game and Battlefield 4“) and offer ways outside of Warfighter to access the beta (“At this time, however, it is the only way to guarantee entry.”), Tornay responded to a commenter who simply asked, “Why not BC 3?”:
“I can tell you that it’s not due to any lack of love for BC inside of DICE. Everyone I’ve talked to there is very proud and fond of it.
What features from BC would you like to see in future games (which is not to say we won’t make another)?
Would be very interested to nail down for myself what it is about BC that is special to everyone and how we can incorporate that magic.”
Following reviews of Bad Company 2, DICE has every reason to take pride in its work with one of Battlefield’s more successful offshoots. Letting it rest until the team finds room for a quality successor is nothing to shun. And yet, we can’t help but feel that the layoff is also a product of what, in this generation, has sprouted into gaming’s biggest corporate rivalry: Electronic Arts vs. Activision.
EA has developed a voracious appetite in recent years for stealing away Call of Duty‘s – thus, Activision’s – first-person shooter crown. With Battlefield 3 shattering franchise sales records and Battlefield Premium enlisting 800,000 subscriptions in a mere two weeks, there’s no question an explosive growth potential exists within the corpus of the series that, in the eyes of EA and DICE, even the pyromaniac private George Haggard Jr. couldn’t concoct.
Battlefield has a new momentum to it thanks to 3, a momentum that no doubt invigorated EA after the staid reception of Medal of Honor. Only time will tell if Battlefield 4′s accelerated release capitalizes on or squanders it. But until something spoils the fruitful Battlefield [insert number]-plus-two-years-of-Premium-DLC cycle, the frenetic FPS competition EA aspires to partake, and win in – Battlefield tipping its spear – isn’t opening any doors for the offbeat, humorous, discernibly-different-to-market Bad Company.
But then again, in referencing Tornay’s future-minded question, perhaps its that very spirit DICE can channel into one element of Battlefield 4: singleplayer. Similar to Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3‘s campaign specialized in popcorn action while weaving a brink-of-world-war narrative – though it felt like a step backwards: Our Bad Company 2 review complimented campaign as “enjoyable”; our Battlefield 3 review referred to it as “tacked on”. If Bad Company 3 is truly in a development deep freeze, the least DICE’s next offering could do is throw its fans a T-bone.
Ranters, when – if ever do you expect so see Battlefield: Bad Company 3? Do you think EA and DICE are attempting to establish a bi-annual pattern of major Battlefield releases for the long-run future?
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