There's been a big shakeup in the management of EA and Dice's Battlefield series. In a conversation with Gamespot, EA revealed that Respawn Entertainment co-founder Vince Zampella is now in charge of the Battlefield series--a management shakeup that will also see the series expand beyond DICE's Stockholm headquarters. He'd previously volunteered to help run Ripple Effect Studios (formerly DICE LA).
Zampella told Gamespot that the aim is to build a "connected Battlefield universe" across multiple games, with DICE, Ripple Effect Studios, and a Seattle-based developer helmed by former Halo designer Marcus Lehto working together on different projects.
Former DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson is departing the company as part of this change.
EA is already working on a mobile version of Battlefield, and it appears that some portion of these future Battlefield games will include single-player experiences, along with expanded versions of Battlefield 2042's Portal mode.
This promotion for Zampella comes at a critical point in time for the series. Battlefield 2042 is facing strong headwins on launch, buffered by both the debut of a new Call of Duty and new Halo title on either end of it. It's also struggled with numerous, sometimes game-breaking bugs since its debut (DICE has shipped a huge quality-of-life patch fixing many persisting issues).
Zampella's comments about a "connected Battlefield" universe give way to some interesting possibilities. It's interesting to see EA get a hankering to spin Battlefield out into more kinds of franchises, given that it's shied away from the critically beloved Bad Company spinoff titles, and that the series has jumped back and forth between mimicking real-world conflicts and goofier science fiction entries.
(Then there was that time Battlefield was a cops-and-robbers game. Oof.)
You have to wonder if EA is looking at how other studios like Riot Games are beginning to use their IP to create games in multiple genres. A "connected Battlefield" universe could mean capturing more fans of war-themed shooters but who haven't enjoyed the huge sandbox conflicts that define its most popular entries.
But one uphill struggle seems to be that Battlefield isn't a series with a lot of characters to latch onto. If the fantasy of Battlefield has been about being an anonymous grunt acting as one tiny piece in a large battle, will players want to latch on to individual characters across different games?
Then again, Zampella's previous studio Respawn Entertainment turned its multiplayer-only sci-fi military shooter Titanfall into a character-based soap opera with Apex Legends. It may not be so wild a jump after all.