EA has announced plans to build a "connected Battlefield experience", spanning multiple titles and studios, alongside news of a senior management shake-up that will see DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson depart the studio and Respawn's Vince Zampella taking on the role of Battlefield franchise boss while retaining his existing managerial duties.
Zampella revealed EA's plans to create a multiple-game "connected Battlefield universe" in an interview with GameSpot, explaining it would feature an interconnected world with shared characters and stories, and "the player at the center". The aim of the move, Zampella claimed, is to "grow Battlefield and meet players where they play through various experiences and business models", including the upcoming Battlefield Mobile.
Alongside that mobile instalment, which is in development at Industrial Toys, Ripple Effect (formerly DICE LA) is reportedly working on a new title as part of EA's fledging Battlefield universe plans, while the recently announced Seattle-based studio founded by Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto is said to be focussed on world-building and narrative across a "variety of experiences" in the Battlefield franchise.
That's according to Byron Beede, general manager of Battlefield, who tells GameSpot Lehto's studio will "act as the driver for narrative", laying the foundation for "storytelling opportunities now and well into the future".
As for Battlefield 2042 - which has continued to struggle with technical issues following its disastrous launch - Zampella says the immediate goal is to "evolve and grow" the experience, with DICE, Ripple Effect, and Lehto's studio all working together to expand and improve the game. Zampella also insists Battlefield 2042 isn't being replaced, but rather that the aim of the newly announced universe is to "add to [the game's] foundation to provide an awesome array of experiences for our players".
Battlefield 2042 failed to impress Eurogamer when it launched last month, with Martin Robinson writing, "For all its breadth and scope, [it] feels like the most muddled, compromised and confused entry in the series yet" in his review. "There's a chance, though, that DICE can do what it's proven to do so well in the past," he continued, "with Battlefield 4 and then Battlefront 2 which faced controversies of its own." Time will tell if today's strategic rethink will do just that.
Alongside news of its major Battlefield shake-up, EA also confirmed DICE's general manager Oskar Gabrielson - who has been with the company for nearly 9 and a half years - will be leaving "to pursue a new endeavour outside of EA", with Rebecka Coutaz stepping into the role.
Sharing the news of his departure on Twitter, Gabrielson wrote, "A winter just like this 13 years ago I stepped into the DICE studio pitching a new way to play Battlefield games. That pitch later become what we know as Battlelog. Little did I know I would spend the next decade with these amazing game creators.
"My last decade with the team at @EA_DICE has been nothing short of amazing. There have just been so many great memories working with our teams. But I have now made one of the hardest decisions of my life, to leave DICE and Electronic Arts.
"DICE has some of the best talent in the industry and the team is in great hands. I'll be here to support the transition over the next few months before I head out on my new adventure. I can promise you all there is a lot to look forward to on the Battlefield!".