The Battlefield series has been pretty regular over the years: Battlefield 3 in 2011, Battlefied 4 in 2013, Hardline in 2015, Battlefield 1 in 2016, and Battlefield 5 in 2018. The wait for the next Battlefield, whatever it ends up being called, will be a little longer, as CEO Andrew Wilson said in an investors call today that it won't be out until sometime in EA's 2022 fiscal year, which begins on April 1, 2021.
"Our Battlefield franchise and its community are also a major focus for us, and we'll add new content and new ways to play Battlefield 5 in FY21," Wilson said. "Targeting new innovation that will be enabled by next-gen platforms and a growing install base on the new consoles, our next Battlefield game is set for FY22."
Wilson went a bit deeper into EA's thinking in response to a followup question, saying that the decision was based on a few different factors, the first of which is the fact that EA isn't done with Battlefield 5 yet.
"We still see a burgeoning opportunity with Battlefield 5, and as I talked about in the prepared remarks, we're about to launch a whole new theater of war with the Pacific theater. And the team is still really thinking about to continue to drive that service on a go-forward basis," he explained. "So we think there's an opportunity still inside the Battlefield 5 experience, as it was built as a base live service from the beginning."
Interestingly, the success of Apex Legends also factored into the decision. Wilson said that Apex is effectively an "annualized shooter," which presumably relieves some of the pressure to put out relatively frequent Battlefield sequels. He also reiterated EA's desire to take advantage of next-gen console technology—but not until there's a relatively large base of users in place—and said that, like Battlefield 5, "it will be driven around live service, as is the nature of our industry now."
The success of other games has also given Electronic Arts reason to be a little more selective about the moves it makes: For instance, COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen revealed that potentially surprising fact that Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2 have sold 33 million copies between them.
"That's a huge tail for our business going forward, and so we're very conscious about how we think about staging when our games come out," he said. "I think people get used to the annual cadence of sports, which works really well in sports, but we want to be careful on some of these other franchises that we give them the long life that they deserve inside our business, and can generate great returns for us over a long period of time."
Sadly, another great EA shooter series remains in limbo for now: Titanfall 3 could happen at some point in the future, Jorgensen said, but there's no concrete news. "We really want to keep the team hyper-focused on Apex because we see there's so much opportunity there, so I can't give you a sense of if or when [a new Titanfall] will come," he said. "But it's still a great brand, and we certainly won't forget about it down the road."