Have EA and Dice Permanently Damaged the Battlefield Brand?

I love Battlefield.  My first experience with the franchise came in 2008 with Battlefield: Bad Company.  I was always a console gamer growing up, but I had heard great tales of Battlefield 2 with its huge battles and amazing graphics.  So, I was excited to get my hands on my first Battlefield game, and it was awesome.  I still remember my friend and I playing for hours arguing over whose turn it was next.  My love for the series intensified when Battlefield: Bad Company 2 proved to be even better.

When Battlefield 3 came to PS3 and Xbox 360 alongside PC, I gleefully jumped into the game.  The campaign was awful, but the multiplayer was still good fun despite being only 24 players.  It was also, in my opinion, a more balanced choice compared to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  I knew another one was coming, and I was sure that EA and Dice could create a game that could topple Call of Duty.  Little did I know that they would end up almost destroying Battlefield.

Battlefield 4 was one of the best games I saw at E3 2013.  I got to play it running on a PC with very little of a hitch and was excited to insert it into my brand new PS4.  The full Battlefield experience on a console, now that was exciting.  Then everything went wrong.  I was unable to log into Origin or create a new account.  Every time I tried it would enter an infinite loop where I had to keep redoing it over and over again.  So I decided to go play some campaign.  Two hours in I received the CE-34878-0, which crashed my game.  I rebooted to find to my horror that all my single player data had been deleted.

The next day I was finally able to log into Origin and went to play Conquest…but I couldn’t.  A majority of modes would not let me in saying I failed to connect.  Could this be something wrong with my internet?  No, as it turned out.  I tested both Killzone: Shadow Fall and Call of Duty: Ghosts and got nothing but smooth gameplay.

It isn’t just the PS4 version that has been given a broken copy of Battlefield 4.  Pretty much every version has had crippling issues, but none as bad as the next-gen versions.  The release of Second Assault and China Rising actually broke the game and everything Dice had fixed it with.

So, where does Battlefield go from here?  Probably nowhere good.  2013 really was the year for EA and Dice to take the crown.  Call of Duty: Ghosts was tracking far below Call of Duty: Black Ops II and excitement for the game was quite low. All EA and Dice really had to do was release a good game and let positive press raise their sales.  However, that boat has sailed away.

Dice has halted all future expansions and projects in order to fix all of Battlefield 4’s problems, but this is coming after a whole month.  They’ve also found themselves slapped with two lawsuits from investors claiming that EA purposefully lied to them in order to inflate its stock numbers.

No matter which way you look at it, the Battlefield brand has been forever tarnished.  Releasing a game that was so broken and taking so long to acknowledge that it is broken and fix it will not leave gamer’s that open to picking up a future installment, nor will investors trust EA as much as they did before this incident.

So whose fault is this?  EA is easy to blame considering the fact that they have been boasting about the game all year by making grand promises to their investors.  In their blind greed to best Activision and Call of Duty, they forced Dice to release a game that was not finished.  Plus the amount of Call of Duty bashing that made it into the game (punching a dog that looks like Riley or printing a quote about how amazing the game was compared to Call of Duty: Ghosts) was in poor taste.  However, fault also lies with Dice.  They built the Frostbite 3 Engine and knew its limitations and boundaries.  They knew how much time EA was giving them to develop the game and how much they could develop and polish in that time.  They should have cut some content that wasn’t ready and patched it in later.  No one is innocent in this, everyone is guilty.

I fear for the Battlefield franchise.  In EA and Dice’s haste to best Call of Duty they forgot to slow down and make their product a sterling example of quality.  It’s pretty much the same thing that happened to Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and look what happened to that franchise.  Battlefield 4 will sell better than Warfighter, but NPD has already noted that the game is selling much worse than its predecessor.  People aren’t happy, and Battlefield will never sell the same again.