It was hardly surprising when Electronic Arts (EA) took the stage at EA Play 2018 this summer to announce a battle royale mode, the first ever, for Battlefield V.
The hundred-player survival-scavenger experience has been surging with popularity ever since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite established player-bases in the millions, bringing revenues worth billions, in less than a year.
Hence, it was only a matter of time before the publishing giant decided to jump on the same bandwagon for a massive piece of the pie.
While the new mode may have been passed off by DICE as an obvious choice for Battlefield V because of the “fun” factor, it is all about generating pools of money at the end of the day and battle royale is a proven gold mine in that regard.
During an earnings call this weekend, chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen was asked if there are any plans to separate the battle royale mode from Battlefield V as a standalone free-to-play release in the near future.
He replied that EA is “interested in experimenting” with the notion but not with Battlefield V. The response confirmed that the conglomerate will be coming up with a dedicated battle royale game similar to Fortnite but not anytime soon.
The stated path is also not surprising but the wording is. Any smart publisher would never drop millions in resources to find a working product by trial and error in the open market. Doing your homework and research is always important and it would be disastrous if EA ended up wasting an opportunity to compete in the said genre, should the upcoming standalone battle royale game fail.
Hence, when Jorgensen mentioned experimentation, he was probably referring to Battlefield V. The battle royale mode is being introduced to test the waters in advance, allowing both EA and DICE to learn before moving forward with an independent release.
It is undeniable that the Battlefield franchise is perfectly suited to accommodate battle royale. The current gameplay is already reminiscent of a large-scale survival sandbox — minus the scavenging part. The newly implemented live service and commendable take on microtransactions are also something that would accentuate a free-to-play model for a potential standalone release.
The publisher has already begun talking about cross-play as well, similar to how Fortnite bridges Xbox One and PC. These are all important ingredients.
Battlefield V provides an easy path for DICE to perfectly understand what makes battle royale tick. If done right, it will help EA amass critical feedback for improvements down the road. In addition, it will generate a following for future battle royale releases from the publishing giant.
Suffice to say, EA will be really hoping that battle royale works wonders in Battlefield V. It will, after all, open a gateway for something greater. If the approval rating is off the charts, EA might even consider branching the Battlefield franchise for a standalone battle royale game. The publisher will not have to start with a brand new franchise in this case.
Battlefield V is scheduled to release on October 19, 2018, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Those interested can start placing their pre-orders but you might want to hold back on that for the time being.