EA CEO Andrew Wilson, who’s tenure at the company has seen the Battlefield franchise settle into a slump that no one knowns if it could ever break out of, sees an opportunity in the beleaguered series claiming Call of Duty’s crown.
According to Wilson, said opportunity might be a reality, if and when rival shooter franchise Call of Duty becomes locked to Xbox.
Wilson, who attended the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference 2022, spoke about EA’s current portfolio of games, some of what it plans to do with it going forward, and the company’s ambitions in mobile and beyond.
Alongside Apex Legends, FIFA and all of EA’s other properties, Wilson touched on Battlefield, reiterating the publisher’s commitment to the troubled series. The CEO, who’s been big on player creation in recent years, claimed Battlefield has potential for player creation with its “only in Battlefield moments,” an over-marketed concept that’s increasingly becoming the domain of many shooters that aren’t Battlefield.
“I do think you’ll see us lean more into creation,” he said, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “And while The Sims has been built on creation since it launched in 2001, and we’ve seen elements of creation inside our Battlefield franchise with only in Battlefield moments and we see FIFA expanding with – through the creation and collection and Ultimate Team, we’re going to do more of that.”
Wilson, however, admitted that Battlefield’s two most recent games missed the mark, though he doesn’t believe that the series is too far gone to make a major comeback.
“I don’t think we delivered in the last two iterations of that in the way that we should have,” he added, referring to Battlefield.
“There’s a lot of work that we’ve got to do there. But at its very core, this [is an] extraordinary IP. And what we’ve seen in the world of entertainment is [that] great IP is resilient. And we’ve seen movies not live up to the expectations of franchises. Star Wars might be one such franchise. And then you can see what happens when you get the right creative team involved, how they can completely reinvent and grow a franchise.”
Wilson explained that EA is trying to do just that: bringing in a new creative team to lead the franchise into new heights. The executive is, of course, referring to the major leadership shake-up at developer DICE and a restructuring of series heads.
Vince Zampella, who turned Respawn Entertainment into a powerhouse of commercially successful and critically acclaimed games, is now heading up Battlefield. He will oversee DICE in Sweden, Ripple Effect in LA, as well as the recently named Ridgeline Games in Seattle.
Beyond how EA is preparing for the future of Battlefield, Wilson also brought up an unusual point of comparison with Call of Duty. The leading shooter series, owned by Activision, could become an Xbox-exclusive game years into the future, should Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision clear regulatory hurdles.
Though the head of Microsoft’s gaming division assured Sony that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for several more years, Sony doesn’t believe the offer is adequate for PlayStation gamers.
“In a world where there may be questions over the future of Call of Duty and what platforms that might be on or might not be on, being platform agnostic and completely cross-platform with Battlefield, I think is a tremendous opportunity,” said Wilson.