A Star Wars: Battlefront release date has been confirmed for Summer 2015, according to numerous sources privy to information discussed on a recent investors call at EA headquarters. EA Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said the game "will most likely come out around the same time the Star Wars movies start to come out, probably in the summer of '15." So what does a Star Wars: Battlefront release date of Summer 2015 mean for fans?
Lots of very good things.
First and foremost is the care that will be placed into this game. EA's DICE studio has been quick to point out that this game is NOT Battlefront 3, despite the association being made by fans and games writers. Last month, EA Games Label boss Patrick Söderlund told Eurogamer that the next Star Wars game would not be a reboot of the canceled-while-nearly-completed Battlefront 3 fans were clamoring for (especially after this one hour of gameplay leaked earlier this year).
"This is DICE's interpretation of what Battlefront should be," Söderlund told Eurogamer. "That's the best description you can have. There are absolutely things in the previous Battlefront games that you'll recognise and remember, but DICE wants to put its own flavor on it. That's the only way we can do it. Hence it's called Star Wars: Battlefront, without a 3 at the end. We want to say it's something new. But again, it's going to be very Star Wars and very cool."
Ok, so it's not EXACTLY Battlefront 3, but DON'T FREAK OUT! I've always felt that DICE was a rare bright spot in the rainbow of sh-t that are EA games. The Battlefield series, although not my preferred shooter, is unquestionably one of the most gorgeous titles in the genre. The Frostbite 3.0 engine alone should make Battlefront 3 fans happy that EA is making this game. It's hard for me to watch Battlefield 4 footage now and not just imagine Storm Troopers and an army of Yodas tearing up Mos Eisley.
Frostbite 3.0 Gameplay Footage
What's especially exciting about the Star Wars: Battlefront project is that it wasn't assigned to DICE, in fact, Karl Magnus Troedsson and Patrick Bach (who are the minds behind the Battlefield series and the stellar rep DICE has in the industry) actually asked to be a part of the project, something that caught Söderlund off guard.
"The DICE guys Karl Magnus Troedsson and Patrick Bach were talking and I told them we were in dialogues with Disney over this deal and they just looked at me and said, 'Why haven't you spoken to us? What are you doing? We want to make Battlefront,'" Söderlund told CVG in June. "DICE is a very particular place and they are very proud of what they do and you don't really tell them what to do ... But they were just like, 'we would kill to make this game' and the whole studio started talking about it like, 'please give us this game'. That's when I called Frank [Gibeau, EA Labels boss] and I realized we had something here. 'If they want it that badly, then the game will be freaking awesome - we have to figure it out'. So we figured it out, we got them the game and it was that simple."
It's no surprise to fans of Battlefront that top tier designers would want to work on the project. The series is revered amongst gamers and many have formed strong attachments based on late-night gaming sessions involving intense multiplayer battles. And that type of gaming is exactly what DICE is built for, and will almost certainly deliver on the Star Wars: Battlefront release date in summer 2015.
But there's more than just the rep of DICE on the line here. I think EA is going to be incredibly invested in making the project a success because, frankly, the company needs to chalk up a win in the hearts of gamers everywhere. Despite the obvious financial successes attached to franchises like Madden and Battlefield, EA has the worst reputation of any gaming company and, according to a Consumerist poll, was voted "Worst Company In America" two years in a row. Gamers blame EA for the botched Mass Effect 3 ending and the diarrhea minefield that was Dragon Age 2. For better or worse, EA is seen as a ruiner of franchises, so turning out a flawless version of a beloved game based on a legendary franchise could turn the tide of public opinion in their favor.
This is why EA didn't just churn out Battlefront 3 as quickly as possible because it wouldn't be as good as it COULD be. Instead of us getting a cross-gen multi-platform game that was rushed out and based on substandard Lucas Arts designs, EA has decided to let its absolute best people run wild with arguably the best graphics engine in the business right now to create a shooter that will take advantage of the substantial hardware of next gen consoles and PCs. So while a Star Wars: Battlefront release date in summer 2015 seems far, far away, I take solace in the idea that once Star Wars: Battlefront comes out, it could raise the bar for next-gen gaming and establish a franchise that fans will embrace for the next decade.
And if EA totally botches the whole thing and the series is a flop? Well, they'll pretty much be in the exact same position they're in now. Loved by investors, reviled by fans and fated to crank out annualized sports games to pay the bills.