2016 has been a good year for Electronic Arts. The company recently published its full fourth quarter and fiscal year annual results ending March 31, and the numbers should make shareholders very happy. EA was the number one publisher for PS4 and Xbox One games in the West and was the top publisher for mobile game downloads in calendar year 2015.
In addition to the usual financial reporting and other business-related news, there were also a few interesting tidbits revealed in the report.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Confirmed
Last year’s reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront franchise outperformed company expectations, selling 14 million copies. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that development of Star Wars Battlefront 2 was confirmed. EA CFO Blake Jorgensen says that the game will take place on “bigger and better worlds” than last year’s game.
Jorgensen also noted that the game will use content from the new movies, though it isn’t clear if he just means Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, or if this includes spin-offs such as Rogue One or the untitled Han Solo project. Last year’s game focused on the original Star Wars Trilogy, and there was a free “Battle of Jakku” DLC add-on that took place between the events of Episodes VI and VII.
Jorgensen confirmed that Battlefront 2 would arrive “next year,” but it was unclear if that means calendar 2017, or next fiscal year, beginning April 1, 2017.
Even More Star Wars
Jorgensen also said that EA will release one new Star Wars game each year for the next three to four years. In addition to Battlefront 2, the action game from Dead Space developer Visceral and Motive is still in the works and will arrive next year (again it is unclear if that means fiscal or calendar), and the recently announced third-person action game from Titanfall 2 developer Respawn is also in development.
It appears that EA’s licensing deal for Star Wars is paying off, and considering yesterday’s news about Disney’s own game publishing business, one can only assume even more Star Wars business could be headed their way.
No NBA Live This Year
Despite traditionally releasing in the fall to coincide with the beginning of the NBA basketball season, NBA Live 17 is set for a fiscal Q4 release, meaning it could arrive anytime between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2017.
EA appears to be giving the development team extra time to ensure they get this year’s iteration of the franchise right. Recent games were poorly received by both critics and fans alike. Metacritic scores for NBA Live 16, 15, and 14 were 59, 59, and 43, respectively, and according to VGChartz.com, NBA Live 16 sold just 250,000 copies worldwide, compared to main competitor NBA 2K16 at 7.29 million copies sold.
EA is instead focusing on the mobile version of the game this year, as detailed in a statement by Executive Producer Sean O’Brien on the EA Sports blog:
Our focus this year is to deliver an amazing, high-quality basketball game to a global audience. The best way to do that is through the fastest growing, largest, and most accessible gaming platform… mobile.
Hopefully, the NBA Live series can find its footing and make a comeback. As our own Nico Faraguna previously discussed, having more than one option for any sports title is a good thing.