The Battlefield franchise is deader than dead – Reader’s Feature
A reader is upset to hear of the cancellation of Battlefield Mobile and fears that the franchise, and developer DICE, are doomed.
It’s been fun to see everyone getting nostalgic over GoldenEye 007, thanks to the recent re-releases. The original was a bit too old for me to remember but I do appreciate that it was very different to the average first person shooter, in large part because the rules of the genre hadn’t really been written at that point and most of the games back then were still just Doom clones. I suspect the game would’ve had a much bigger impact if it wasn’t stuck on the N64 but it’s obviously still much loved.
For me, the first shooter I got into was Battlefield 1942, round about 2002. That’s five years later and on the, potentially, much more powerful PC but even beyond that the two games couldn’t be more different. Back then Battlefield had no story mode and DICE wasn’t owned by EA. It was a true sandbox game that owed all its success to being easily customisable, especially in terms of mods, and so was very popular with the early online gaming scene.
Even though it was still published by EA it didn’t feel like a mainstream game, since there was no console versions and you had to have a pretty good PC and internet to get anything out of it. It was a real hobbyist game and that’s generally the way the series stayed until Battlefield 3, when EA started to emphasise the console versions and using the franchise as a way to take on Call Of Duty.
As any Battlefield fan could’ve told them, this was a terrible idea as the two games, despite both being military shooters, have almost nothing in common – especially at that time. So Battlefield games got rushed out, and were full of bugs, and they started adding in story campaigns that no one played, while the amount of easy customisation decreased alongside the emphasis on destructibility and scale.
EA’s answer to taking on Call Of Duty was not to offer something different but to make Battlefield as much like it as possible, which you’d think any fool could see was never going to work. This all got worse and worse until finally we got Battlefield 2042, which, as usual, was rushed for no reason, full of bugs, and a shadow of what the franchise used to be about.
Battlefield 2042 was more depressing than usual because at least they didn’t bother with a story campaign and, before launch, it did seem like they were trying to get back to the old experimental style, especially with the Battlefield Portal mode. But no, the whole thing was still a mess and, unlike Battlefield 5, it took ages to get it into any kind of reasonable state.
By that point people had lost any interest and even before it was working properly there were rumours that EA was working on a new game instead. My advice to them is don’t bother. It’s dead. Mainstream gamers don’t care and long-time fans are so over what has happened to the series that I don’t think they can be counted on either.
And then this week we had what seems like the final straw: EA has cancelled Battlefield Mobile before it’s even out. They’re apparently on a cost-cutting spree at the moment and they just decided, ‘You know what, let’s not bother. No one’s going to care about Battlefield Mobile.’ The sad thing is they’re absolutely right.
I don’t think anyone is going to care about Battlefield again. You can guarantee that the new game, whatever it is (my bet is Bad Company 3) will still have a story campaign, still won’t embrace mods properly, and will still be stuffed full of whatever bandwagon-jumping mode is currently fashionable (Battlefield has already messed up battle royale and extraction).
It’s just dead. EA and fans have just got to get used to that fact and learn to move on. EA won’t, I’m sure, but at this rate it’s not just Battlefield that risks going under, but DICE themselves as well.
By reader Homer2
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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