The argument of releasing a new game in a franchise yearly can get somewhat heated, very quickly. Some might take the stance that a popular franchise should have a game as often as possible, while others might see a bi-yearly cycle as better. The Call of Duty franchise has obviously taken the position of “more is better,” but the makers of Battlefield 3 won’t be taking that approach, going so far as to say that having annual Battlefield titles would kill the franchise.
With Battlefield 3 so close to release, DICE is focused on supporting the title to its fullest extent, not immediately working on a follow-up. Considering the strength of the franchise, nobody’s in a hurry to mess with success, and rushing through development on a sequel could hurt the ability of current games to flourish among fans.
Patrick Bach, series producer for Battlefield, discussed the team’s reasons for thinking annual releases could do more harm than good. While the developers have maintained that there’s no direct rivalry with Call of Duty, one could infer a poke at competing games from Bach’s statements:
“To us, we need the time to be able to create the next game that consumers will hopefully like. If we were to release another big Battlefield title next year, that would mean that we’d have less than a year to build it, and that would mean that we’d have to have another studio building it for us, which would mean it wouldn’t have that DICE seal of approval, which would mean they’d just have to release a copy of the game we just released. Ugh, no.
“EA would never force us to release a game every year. I think that would dilute the vision of the franchise, and you will eventually kill the franchise by doing that.”
DICE and Electronic Arts haven’t been shy with voicing their opinions, calling some of competition is lazy, or accusing them of treading water instead of innovating. Bach doesn’t dispute supporting existing titles via things like map packs, or in the case of Bad Company 2, releasing the Vietnam expansion which essentially created a brand new game:
“What we noticed with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was that if you spend enough time on making an expansion pack like Vietnam there’s enough content to make it feel new and fresh. It’s not only a map pack, it’s weapons and vehicles, and it makes the game feel fresh again.
“I think that’s a more healthy way of expanding on the game experience. It’s not a new game but a twist on your old game, and I think that’s a healthier way of looking at a franchise rather than just trying to cram every single last penny out of it.”
After putting a lot of work into creating the Frostbite 2 engine, enabling cooperative play, and having an engaging single-player campaign, DICE has every justification for not falling into the trappings of annually releasing a new BF game.
Do you think this approach will help or hurt Battlefield? Would you prefer to trust the development team, or see another studio take a crack at the series formula?
Battlefield 3 releases October 25, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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