Battlefield Hardlines, originally slated for 21st October this year, has now been given a significantly later release date. The Space Year 2015. "Early" 2015. On a slippy day for EA, which also saw the announcement of Dragon Age: Inquisition sliding into November, DICE's cops-n-robbers reinvention of the Battlefield series seems to have taken a much more serious hit. Apparently in response to what maybe wasn't that brilliant of a beta test in June.
DICE's VP Karl Magnus Troedsson puts a much more positive spin on it. He states that "millions of you jumped in and had a great time." But yet apparently not so great a time that the feedback hasn't given them cause to delay the game by at least a few months. They've been "poring over the data and feedback", which has given them cause to consider, "other possibilities and ways we could push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better."
"The more we thought about these ideas, the more we knew we had to get them into the game you will all be playing. However, there was only one problem. We would need more time. Time that we didn’t have if we decided to move forward with launching in just a couple of months."
It's slightly more of a significant change than this upbeat statement suggests. It means EA isn't going to have a Battlefield title this Christmas, to compete with Activision's inevitable Call Of Duty offering. And it's worth noting that the three highlighted areas they plan to improve upon in this extension aren't described as innovative new concepts or inspired ideas, but, well, the foundations of the game:
"Here are a few of the things the new timing will allow us to accomplish:
1. Multiplayer Innovation: Coming out of our E3 beta, internal focus tests, and work with our community, we have received a lot of great Multiplayer thinking. We’re going to be adding some new feature ideas direct from the community that will evolve the cops and criminals fantasy into a truly unique Battlefield Multiplayer experience.
2. Single Player Story Depth: In order to ensure our Single Player experience delivers on player expectations, we’re spending more time polishing our core features, as well as adding a few new ones that will support a deeper “crime revenge” story experience.
3. Stability: This has been a focus for our team since day one and we’re going to be using the extra time to continue to optimize the game for a stable launch. We have learned a lot from Battlefield 4, are continuing to learn from our Community Test Environment and will learn more from another Hardline beta. More time allows us to surface issues that the team can attempt to fix prior to launch."
So the multiplayer, the single player, and making it work. Good! These are good reasons to delay the game!
EA have some good news to accompany these slips, having just seen a 51% climb in profits in the last quarter. But despite their repeated claims that Battlefield isn't aiming to be an annual franchise, not having it for their Christmas line-up won't be helpful.