EA have acknowledges some the disappointments of Battlefield 2042 came after the surprise launch of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta.
According to EA leaker Tom Henderson, EA’s admission came during a 20-minute discussion of the widely lambasted first-person shooter, as well as it and the franchise’s future, that occurred during the company’s most recent internal ‘Town Hall’ quarterly call
Allegedly, EA’s Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele told attendees, “It’s really important to acknowledge when we have misses, this is certainly the case with the Battlefield launch, which failed to meet the expectations of our players, and also clearly missed our own expectations,” before moving on to address the game’s specific missteps.
Miele began by discussing their decision to use the outdated Frostbite engine – a choice which required the team to make such extensive upgrades to the engine that Henderson previously speculated it added roughly 18-months to the game’s development time – stating, “All new tech, it was basically a new engine.”
“They went back,” she added. “The Frostbite version they were on was so old they had to go back and update. So it was basically putting the game on a new engine.”
Executives also pointed to remote working as another issue with Battlefield 2042’s development, as Miele explained, “Add up all of this new innovation, all of this ambition for the new project, and then you add a global pandemic halfway into the project, where the game teams had to work from home, we ended up with more new variables in development than we have ever experienced before.”
Despite receiving a substantial amount of feedback bugs and other issues in the Beta from Summer 2021, Miele then noted that the game’s ambitions had also garnered a substantial amount of praise, as “Players [were] saying this feels like Battlefield, Battlefield is back, this is my Battlefield, so we had to embolden the team.”
Further, Miele admitted that Battlefield 2042’s bug count ratio had reached “historic levels for a Dice game,” with mock reviews authored prior to launch giving the game scores in the “high 70s to low 80s.”
Regarding the Day 1 and Day 0 patches that attempted to reduce this count, Miele noted that in light of their release, “the game was stable,” and “the early critical reception was good.”
Yet, despite being filled with bugs on launch – with one video having racked up a full hour of examples – EA reportedly blamed the game’s rough launch on the “surprise” release of Halo: Infinite’s multiplayer.
As such, Miele reportedly admitted that the inevitably drawn comparisons between the two was not favorable for EA, as Halo Infinite was far more polished that Battlefield 2042.
She also chalked up the game’s poor Steam reviews – which have the game currently sitting at “Mostly Negative” with only 29% of over 97,000 user reviews recommending the game – was blamed on a performance cap that PC players found “upsetting.”
Nonetheless, Miele explained that such negative player feedback was concerned with three key areas – Bugs and performance, Game design and feature choices, and Battlefield 2042 not aligning with player expectations – and assured listeners that EA had learned their lessons and would take action to improve these elements.
EA executives also acknowledged that while they’ve had bug issues with DICE games at launch in the past, those present in Battlefield 2042 were within an expected amount compared to their other releases.
“DICE historically is very good at adapting games in live service, connecting with players, connecting with the community and getting the game to the place that the players expect,” Miele said, repeating a sentiment first put forth by EA CEO Andrew Wilson during the company’s February 1st, 2021 investor call.
Miele also cited changing player expectations for live service games, the lack of a scoreboard and VOIP and Specialists system, and play testing not being wide or deep enough as other points of failure.
Battlefield 2042 is currently sitting at an average 2 out of 10 across 6,800 Metacritic user reviews.
At the start of the month, executives acknowledged that the game “did not meet expectations,” and its sales were “disappointing.”
However, despite EA’s optimism, their comments during the Town Hall did not sit well with players, with many criticizing what they saw as a lack of responsibility from the developer.
In light of this backlash, EA communications VP John Reseburg issued a statement to PC Gamer asserting, “These stories are not accurately capturing the discussion and the context, which was an in-depth and very humble internal conversation about the recent Battlefield launch.”
“It was about key learnings and actions we are taking, not blaming external factors,” he added.
Shortly after this statement was issued, PC Gamer obtained a partial recording of EA’s meeting call via an anonymous source that supported Henderson’s initial reporting.
In the recording, a speaker – suppoedly Miele – can be heard praising how the game’s initial launch was positive, patches had made the game “stable, and daily player retention “looked strong,” only to then declare that it was after that weekend that “things started to turn.”
“The following Monday, Halo did a surprise release of their multiplayer mode, and their game was very polished,” the speaker reportedly continued. “It was a small segment of the game, but it was very polished, and it was not a favorable comparison to our experience given some of the bugs and polish issues we had.”
Miele also reportedly discussed the PC performance cap, which “was very upsetting to core PC players,” and the above three key areas of player feedback.
Did the simultaneous release of a more well-put together title emphasize Battlefield 2042’s failures? Or would they have been plain to see even if it was the only major FPS released that month?
Let us know your thoughts on social media and in the comments below!