A tectonic shift is coming to the Battlefield franchise, GameSpot reports, with Electronic Arts restructuring various studios and committing to a “connected universe” of projects in the long-running first-person shooter series.
Most notably, Respawn Entertainment co-founder and CEO Vince Zampella will now oversee all Battlefield development following the departure of DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson. Zampella was previously charged with overhauling DICE Los Angeles in early 2021, a move that saw the company rebranded as Ripple Effect Studios that August. Ripple Effect is credited with developing Battlefield 2042’s well-regarded Portal mode, which allows players to create custom matches with content from previous games.
“We will continue to evolve and grow Battlefield 2042, and we’ll explore new kinds of experiences and business models along the way that we can add to that foundation to provide an awesome array of experiences for our players,” Zampella told GameSpot. “In this universe, the world is interconnected with shared characters and narrative. This universe is also built with our community as we harness the power of Portal and user generated content that puts creativity in the hands of our players.”
This news comes hot on the heels of near-universal condemnation of Battlefield 2042 after its November 19 launch due to its lackluster PC performance at high levels, bugs, and overall feature dearth. Battlefield developer DICE is currently undertaking an apology tour and promising a bunch of post-launch fixes for the coming months, a move that’s become all too common in modern game development.
Also involved in the Battlefield shake-up is former Halo designer Marcus Lehto, who is leading a new, currently unnamed EA subsidiary in Seattle, Washington with the goal of introducing more narrative to the franchise. Lehto’s studio will also be collaborating with DICE and Ripple Effect in the ongoing development of Battlefield 2042, setting up “storytelling opportunities now and well into the future,” according to Battlefield series general manager Byron Beede, the former Call of Duty boss who joined EA earlier this year.
“While [Lehto] and his team in the Seattle area are just getting started on building the Battlefield world of tomorrow, their work will shape later seasons for 2042 and beyond,” Beede told GameSpot. “This new studio will act as the driver for narrative in tight collaboration with DICE and Ripple Effect Studios to help build great player experiences in the Battlefield universe.”
As of now, the only publicly known Battlefield project outside of Battlefield 2042 is a mobile spinoff scheduled for 2022. Battlefield Mobile is being developed by Industrial Toys, a California-based studio led by Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian.
With so many big names leading the charge on Battlefield, it’s clear EA sees the franchise as one of its top priorities moving forward. But the shaky foundation established by Battlefield 2042 definitely needs fixing first if it’s going to act as the so-called “cornerstone” of this new universe. Here’s hoping fans finally get the game they want as EA’s focus expands.