Battlefield, Dragon Age delays show a changed EA
Something happened this week that I don’t think many of us cynical gamers thought would happen. EA delayed not one but two major holiday releases, even pushing a Battlefield title until after the holiday season.
Dragon Age Inquisition was delayed from mid-October until November 18th and Battlefield Hardline was moved from October 21st until sometime between January and March 2015. EA has a history of rushing games out to hit shelves by the holidays, with Battlfield 4 being the most recent example.
Over 9 months later, Battlfield 4 is still full of bugs across consoles and PC. Some have been fixed while others have lingered since release and new problems have popped up since then. Its things like this that make EA one of the most hated companies in the US, they’re lack of concern for putting out a quality product on day one versus capitalizing on a busy shopping season.
Dragon Age’s delay isn’t a big deal. It’s still shipping during the holidays so it seems maybe BioWare needs just a little bit more time to iron out the rest of the game. Visceral however needs significantly more time to finish up Hardline.
Visceral has been very public about the fact that the E3 beta opened their eyes on some issues with the game’s multiplayer, the strongest selling point of the Battlfield franchise. 2-3 months to fix various issues and tweak things before the game’s original October release seemed like all the time the former Dead Space developer had.
With the news that Visceral and EA want to focus on Hardline being a quality title over hitting the October release date, the question of whether EA is finally trying to repair its weakened public image begs to be answered.
Of course we couldn’t answer that today, we’ll have to wait until Hardline does launch so that we can tell if the delay was worth it in the end or if it still needed more time. The fact that EA is willing and supporting this delay does say that they’ve taken notice of the negative reaction they got from releasing Battlefield 4 last year with so many bugs.
Imagine Activision delaying a Call of Duty title from November until March? Seems like something that would never happen, not in a million years. So just on that note EA should be applauded for giving Visceral more time to develop Hardline. It shows that EA has changed or at least wants to change their public image.
It’s not like early 2015 isn’t loaded either, Hardline will have even stiffer competition then too. The Order, Batman Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3 and others will all be vying for consumers’ attention. The Battlefield IP is a strong one and EA will certainly benefit from not having to release two weeks before Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.
No one can say right now if the Battlfield Hardline delay will be worth it in the end but it does show progress being made with EA. The thrashing they’ve taken in the media and with fans over the past few years, especially with Battlefield 4, seems to have gotten their attention.
They’d rather lose out on extra holiday sales in order to ship a more fully featured, complete and error free game. If they can pull that off I’m sure they’ll restore a little bit of faith in the former EA fans who abandoned the company in recent years due to various PR nightmares like the release of SimCity and BF4’s online woes.