EA has announced plans to widely expand and create a “connected Battlefield universe” that will see multiple teams working on various titles, including Ripple Effect, with Respawn’s Vince Zampella overseeing the franchise.
Battlefield is finding itself in the media limelight a ton at the moment, and not for the best of reasons, after Battlefield 2042 launched last month with a monumental list of problems — a list that EA Dice is quickly working through, as with the recent Update 3 that covered over 150 different issues. True Achievments gave the game a 6/10 in their official review, thinking that underneath all of the problems is a game brimming with potential. That’s a sentiment obviously shared with EA, because a recent Gamespot interview with Respawn’s Vince Zampella uncovered that he is now heading up the franchise — the new Specialists now make sense — and that there are plans to create a “connected Battlefield universe.”
With Dice’s general manager Oskar Gabrielson leaving the company, Ubisoft Annecy’s former studio director, Rebecka Coutaz, will be moving into the position. “It is hard to put into words my passion for our studio, our teams and the Battlefield franchise. The last decade with the team at DICE has been nothing short of amazing. From the debut of Battlefield 3, to Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefield 1, and of course the return of all-out warfare with Battlefield 2042,” says Gabrielson. “There’s just been so many great memories working with our teams. DICE has some of the best talent in the industry and the team is in great hands.”
Vince Zampella, however, is stepping into a larger role by overseeing the Battlefield franchise — which looks like a huge endeavour as EA plans to rapidly expand the franchise across multiple studios. “He creates culture-defining entertainment that resonants beyond games. We are bringing one of the most influential and talented individuals in entertainment to a franchise that is ready to be unleashed into the modern era of gaming. It’s an extraordinary inflection point in game history. His ability to lead studios and bring developers together so they can create world-class experiences is unmatched,” says EA’s chief operating officer, Laura Miele. “I believe the structure, process, and vision he brings will enable Battlefield to excel like never before. No one knows shooters and live services better than Vince.”
So what will Zampella be overseeing exactly? Well, on top of his responsibilities at Respawn, looking after Apex Legends and the team’s currently unannounced new game (potentially Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order 2), Zampella will also be leading the Battlefield franchise across multiple projects and teams. “We will continue to evolve and grow Battlefield 2042, and we’ll explore new kinds of experiences and business models along the way that we can add to that foundation to provide an awesome array of experiences for our players,” says Zampella. “In this universe, the world is interconnected with shared characters and narratives. This universe is also built with our community as we harness the power of Portal and user-generated content that puts creativity in the hands of our players.”
With Zampella leading the charge, Dice, Ripple Effect, and former Halo designer, Marcus Lehto’s, currently unnamed Seattle-based studio will continue working on Battlefield 2042. Lehto’s team will be looking to expand the “narrative, storytelling, and character development opportunities in the Battlefield series." Former Call of Duty veteran, Byron Beede, who joined EA earlier this year adds: “While he and his team in the Seattle area are just getting started on building the Battlefield world of tomorrow, their work will shape later seasons for 2042 and beyond. This new studio will act as the driver for narrative in tight collaboration with DICE and Ripple Effect Studios to help build great player experiences in the Battlefield universe.” Ripple Effect will be building a new Battlefield experience within the Battlefield 2042 universe while continuing to support the game’s Portal mode. Alex Seropian and Industrial Toys are continuing to work on the Battlefield mobile game, which is expected to release sometime in 2022.
“We are lucky we have such passionate fans, and I am confident we will continue to do everything we can to meet their expectations. We believe in 2042 as it is the cornerstone for the future as we begin work to expand the universe,” says Miele. “As a whole, we’re all-in on Battlefield. It is one of the most important and valuable franchises in the industry. Collectively, we are out to unlock its enormous potential.”
It certainly sounds like the Battlefield series will start appearing in the news a whole bunch more next year — with an air of positivity, we hope. What do you make of this new “connected Battlefield universe,” that sounds very much like the route Activision has taken with Call of Duty?