It might have felt like Battlefield 4 followed fast in the jetstream of Battlefield 3 last year - possibly because DICE didn’t reach for Bad Company or any of their other sub-brands, instead slapping on a new number.
But actually, 2012 was the only year we haven’t seen a new Battlefield game in the last seven. Which makes it a little odd to find EA Studios exec Patrick Söderlund defending the series against claims of annualisation. It’s not a publisher policy, he says, but a happy accident caused by EA letting its studios do what they want.
Söderlund explained that the idea for Battlefield Hardline came from DICE’s Karl-Magnus Troedsson and Visceral’s Steve Papoutsis, who met in Barcelona three years ago.
“Actually, the idea of a cops and robbers type Battlefield game has been with us - me and the DICE team - for more than ten years,” Söderlund told Polygon. “There are early prototypes from, like, 2000 or 2001 of a game that we called back then Urban Combat. This has been lingering and we've been wanting to do something like this.”
The fulfilment of that long-gestated idea doesn’t mean dictated annualisation for Battlefield in the future.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that’s the way it’s going to be forever and ever,” said Söderlund. “I understand that some people may look at it that way but that’s what happened.”
At the publisher’s E3 press conference, Söderlund said he was trying to help build an EA that doesn’t “need to annualise everything”. Where does he need to concentrate his attention, do you think?