Battlefield 5 landing in 2016 - Games Weekly

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Battlefield 5 landing in 2016

The next three years of Battlefield games have been scoped out. EA’s first Star Wars title, DICE LA’s Battlefront, will release late next year, the publisher recently announced. Also confirmed was the March 19 release date for Battlefield Hardline, the heist themed entry that was originally meant to ship late this year, and the news that we can expect to see Battlefield 5 by Christmas 2016. It was all wrapped up in a very businessy earnings call, but the prospect of savaging the ewoks’ homeworld and destroying their way of life in a shiny AT-ST next year is exciting.

By the time DICE’s Frostbite powered arena shooter arrives, it will have been ten years since the release of Star Wars: Battlefront II. The third Battlefront game has been trapped in development hell for many years now, starting as a since abandoned project by TimeSplitters developer Free Radical, extensive footage of which has been leaked online (featuring ground to space battlefields, it looked
really impressive). EA grabbing the licence was actually a bit of a relief for me. How it took a decade for such a successful series to return is baffling. Serious money was left on the table there, as competitive shooters have escalated in popularity over the last ten years.


EA only secured the licence for Star Wars in May 2013, and with a targeted window of September December 2015, that’s only a two and a half year development cycle for an entirely new series. But with Hardline getting significantly delayed for a polish, it’s always possible that Battlefront could be pushed back as well. On the other hand, the allure for EA will be getting a Star Wars game out at the same time as JJ Abrams’ Episode VII, which is released on December 18, 2015. At that point, with non app Star Wars games having been off the map since The Force Unleashed II, and the mediocre output of LucasArts’ final days a distant memory, there may be a hunger to step back into that galaxy. EA also confirmed that their game will be a first person shooter, whereas the previous ones could be played in third person, too (this hasn't been ruled out).

As for Battlefield 5, it’s getting a year longer in development than Battlefield 4 did, which is a smart decision given the issues Battlefield 4 had at launch. I would speculate that they're attempting to form a three year cycle of Hardline, Battlefront and mainline Battlefield games. Putting it like that is a little depressing, but it may help mitigate the decline in quality you’d otherwise get from a yearly series. Hardline is the biggest question mark the beta didn't impress too much, and by the time it releases, it will have been nine months since the public got to try it out. You can read what we think of the single player later in this issue.

As well as Battlefront, EA has at least one more Star Wars game in the works from Visceral Games, led by the former writer and creative director of the brilliant Uncharted series on PlayStation 3, Amy Hennig. From that hire alone I would speculate that this will be a strongly narrative driven project. On top of that, when EA announced that the licence had been acquired last year, BioWare’s
name was mentioned as one of the three studios working on Star Wars related projects. It’s unclear whether this will be more expansions for The Old Republic or something new.

Hopefully it won’t be completely embarrassing to like Star Wars by 2017 when all these games are likely to emerge.

EA has a plan, then, and it mostly involves shooting variously themed guys in arenas for the next three years, whether they’re soldiers, criminals or most excitingly, gungans.

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