Next Battlefield Coming in FY22, Dragon Age 4 Probably in FY23, Says Electronic Arts

Oct 30
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Don't expect a new Battlefield to launch next year alongside the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. During their Q2 2020 earnings call, EA executives confirmed yesterday that the next entry in the franchise created by DICE won't be available until fiscal year 2022, which means Fall 2021 is a likely release window for the game.

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson explained during the Q&A:

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[...] it was a very thought-through decision for us and there were a few factors that came into play. And the first is that we still see a burgeoning opportunity with Battlefield V. And as I talked about in the prepared remarks, we’re about to launch a whole new theater of wall with the Pacific theater and the team is still really thinking about, how they can continue to drive that service on a going forward basis. So, we think there’s opportunity still inside the Battlefield V experience, as it was built as a bite large service from the beginning.

The second is we now effectively have an annualized shooter Apex Legends and we see tremendous growth opportunity that can continue to engage, as we talked about in the prepared remarks, now over 70 million players. And as Blake talked about, we have opportunity to take that into other regions and to other platforms. And we think it is a tremendous growth opportunity on that and want to make sure that we give that the time that it deserves.

And then third, as we thought about building for the next Battlefield. Battlefield has always been cutting edge, leading edge, both in terms of visual fidelity, and in gameplay and in multiplayer play. And as a team really began working against that. It became a parent to us that, launching into the next gen platforms was going to offer tremendous opportunity for innovation. But we really wanted to give the install base some opportunity to grow. And believe that in combination with the first three things I talked about launching Battlefield in FY ‘22 is a really strong move for us and presents us with an opportunity for strong two years of growth.

In terms of the overall franchise direction, I don’t think you should read into this a dramatic change in franchise direction other than it will be driven around live service as the nature of our industry now. It will be cutting edge. It will be high fidelity. It will be doing things in the context of multi-play and social play and competition that Battlefields to this point have not done. And we do believe it will be a really, really exciting title in FY ‘22.

There seem to be two main reasons: to be able to wait until next-generation consoles have begun accumulating a decent install base as well as providing DICE with enough time to deliver a cutting-edge product that also comes with some innovations. In the meantime, EA will capitalize on Apex Legends, in addition to Battlefield V itself which is about to get the Pacific war theater.

Dragon Age fans will have to wait even longer, though, as CFO Blake Jorgensen said the next installment is probably coming after fiscal year 2022 (that is to say, after March 2022).

Yeah, I mean, you should assume that there's, you know, Dragon Age out there, and we talked about it publicly that it's in the works and probably comes after fiscal '22. But, you know, we typically don't give multiyear guidance this early in the year or multiyear guidance period. So I don't want to start giving '23 guidance now that I've started a hint on '22. But you should assume it's out there and plans are underway for that product, as well as some other products.

Indeed, BioWare will want to take enough time with Dragon Age 4 to try and erase the misstep of Anthem (and, to a lesser degree, of Mass Effect Andromeda). In early September, General Manager Casey Hudson shared that pre-production is going well, though clearly there is still lots of work to do. If this writer could hazard a guess on the launch window, it'd be early 2023.

Credits go to Seeking Alpha for the transcript quotes.

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