Battlefield 2042 has been marred with issues since it launched, as technical glitches and the slow rollout of additional content have led to an exodus of players. But publisher EA isn’t giving up on the multiplayer shooter and has committed to improving the game over the long term.
EA addressed the poor reception of Battlefield 2042 in its latest quarterly earnings call. Asked what the publisher plans to do with the shooter after the recent 4.0 update didn’t generate a significant upsurge in player numbers, CEO Andrew Wilson said he wants to grow the game with more content.
“We take a long view here,” Wilson said. “This is one of the great franchises in our industry, built by one of the great teams in our industry, and our expectation is that it will continue to grow and be a really important part of our portfolio for many, many years to come.
“We’ve got incredible leadership over at that team now. “They’re rethinking the development process from the ground up, and really using the Vince Zampella-slash-Respawn model of ‘get to the fun as quickly as possible’.”
Vince Zampella is the co-founder of Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward and Jedi: Fallen Order studio Respawn. He was given creative control of the entire Battlefield franchise back in December last year. He moved into the position around the time Oscar Gabrielson, the general manager of series developer Dice, left EA altogether.
“They’ve been doing thousands of updates for the community, working on quality of life and really getting the core game right,” Wilson said of the current Battlefield team.
“I think there’s still more work for us to do there and the team is committed to doing that work for the community.
“And beyond that, once we get to a place where we feel like we’re in the right place with the core experience and with the core game, then you should expect us to invest and grow beyond where the game is at today.”
Wilson’s comments echo those he made during EA’s last earnings report. He admitted that Battlefield 2042 “did not meet expectations” and suggested the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted the development team’s testing and preparation. He also said EA was committed to improving the game through meaningful updates before Battlefield 2042’s delayed Season 1 launches in the middle of the year.
Wilson’s comments might go some way to allay the concerns of disappointed fans, but EA’s latest earnings report has still raised some eyebrows. In a presentation slide, EA listed all its live service games that have been active during the last three months. Battlefield 2042, however, wasn’t among them. Instead, its 2018 predecessor Battlefield V took its place.
The publisher may have excluded Battlefield 2042 from the list because the game’s player base is so small, and even dipped below that of the nine-year-old Battlefield 4. Or it may genuinely not consider Battlefield 2042 as an active live service game because it’s yet to receive any live service content, such as its first season of DLC. Or it could simply be an oversight.
None of those explanations cast the game in a positive light. Before its release, EA had framed Battlefield 2042 as its next major live service release that would radically expand the Battlefield franchise. The relatively little attention EA has given it in its latest earnings report is a stark admission that the game failed to meet either of those targets.