EA denies it's rushing Titanfall development
"This game will not only be highly rated, but very highly rated."
Earlier this month EA announced a release date for Microsoft platform exclusive Titanfall: 14th March 2014.
It was a release date that surprised some analysts who had expected Respawn's hotly-anticipated multiplayer shooter to arrive a little later in the year.
During an question and answer session with analysts last night, Stephen Ju from Credit Suisse expressed concern that development of Titanfall was being rushed - and asked what EA was doing to ensure its quality while meeting the March release date.
Responding to the question, EA Games Label boss Patrick Söderlund said: "So on the quality side, and if we're rushing a game, I would say no, we're not doing that at all.
"This is a very experienced, seasoned team, one of the best in the industry. They've got a bunch of great games under their belt. We have been monitoring and working with them for a long time. This has been a game that's been in development for multiple years. And all the data that we have in front of us suggest that this game will not only be highly rated, but very highly rated.
"So I feel better than I would normally feel at this time, on a game like this."
Microsoft, which has secured Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC exclusivity for Titanfall (but not necessarily sequels), has made the shooter its Xbox One launch poster boy. Indeed, it forms a prominent part of the global Xbox One advertisement. Eurogamer understands internally Microsoft was delighted to learn of Titanfall's March 2014 release date - having previously thought it might have been delayed to the summer.
During the investor call last night, EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen expanded on the thinking behind Titanfall's release date, saying Ubisoft's decision to delay eye-catching open world game Watchdogs to its 2015 financial year (it won't come out before April 2014), provided Titanfall with an opportunity to launch in the fourth quarter of EA's 2014 financial year (Jan-March 2014).
"[Respawn have] done a fantastic job keeping that on schedule and possibly even ahead of schedule in some ways," Jorgensen said.
"We saw an opportunity and a launch window in the fourth quarter because of some of the critical titles that were planned to be there moving out of the quarter, like Watchdogs or The Crew or some other titles, it looked like they're being delayed.
"Titanfall is a title that also has an amazing following already in the market. Ever since it was shown at E3, people have been highly interested in it. Microsoft wanted to include it in its marketing campaign associated with Xbox, which you're seeing in the market today. And all of that led us to decide to move it into the year."
Under the terms of its deal with Respawn, EA will share revenues and profits generated by Titanfall while the independent developer retains intellectual property rights. Development of the game and the founding of the studio has required a substantial financial investment, and while it is the Xbox One version of Titanfall that is generating headlines, the bulk of the money made from the game will, Microsoft expects, come from sales of the Xbox 360 version, which could hit the 10 million mark.