DICE's Patrick Bach is once again in the headlines, after telling GamerZines last week that annualising Battlefield would 'kill the franchise', indirectly referring to their FPS rival in the process.
'EA would never force us to release a game every year,' said Bach. 'I think that would dilute the vision of the franchise, and you will eventually kill the franchise by doing that.'
Bach defended this by suggesting that given only a year to complete development on the games, should the series be annualised, DICE would have to alternate development with another studio - in a similar manner to how Activision cycle Call of Duty through Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer - something that DICE just wouldn't be willing to relinquish.
To us, we need the time to be able to create the next game that consumers will hopefully like. If we were to release another big Battlefield title next year, that would mean that we'd have less than a year to build it, and that would mean that we'd have to have another studio building it for us, which would mean it wouldn't have that DICE seal of approval, which would mean they'd just have to release a copy of the game we just released. Ugh, no. - Patrick Bach, DICE.
According to GZ, the possibility of alternating Battlefield and Medal of Honor, EA's other flagship FPS series, has been aired, but Bach believes that creating DLC that puts a new twist on an existing game - much as the Vietnam pack did with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - may well be the way forward. This wouldn't simply be a map pack, but rather a larger content package in a similar vein to boxed expansions that proved popular during the early-mid Noughties.
'What we noticed with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was that if you spend enough time on making an expansion pack like Vietnam there's enough content to make it feel new and fresh,' continued Bach. 'It's not only a map pack, it's weapons and vehicles, and it makes the game feel fresh again.
'I think that's a more healthy way of expanding on the game experience. It's not a new game but a twist on your old game, and I think that's a healthier way of looking at a franchise rather than just trying to cram every single last penny out of it.'
While the November launch of whichever Call of Duty game appears each year is etched into the calendar year on year, making lots of noise just before Christmas and netting Activision tidy annual profits, there can be no doubt that extended development has clear benefits. You only have to glance at Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2.0 engine to notice the staggering aesthetic differences. We rather think that alternating franchises could work for EA, but with COD: Elite binding Activision's franchise together for the foreseeable future, EA would surely need to extend Battlelog across as well.
But what do you think? Would you like to see EA step up to the plate annually? Did you like what DICE did with BBC2? Could alternating Medal of Honor and Battlefield work...would you buy them both?