updated 04:00 pm EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Cops versus robbers game pushed to early 2015, Dragon Age pushed to November
Electronic Arts (EA) appears to be in need of additional time for two of its highly-anticipated releases that were scheduled for this year. Battlefield Hardline, which saw a beta test launch after the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third installment of the role-playing series, are seeing their release dates pushed back.
Battlefield Hardline, a new entry in the popular shooter franchise that pits police against high-stakes criminals, is being pushed back from its original release date of October 21 to an unspecified date in early 2015. Visceral Games, the studio behind the Dead Space series, has received feedback from players that it has attempted to incorporate into the development of the game. However, implementing all the changes and new ideas takes more time.
"We decided that the right thing to do was to take more time to ensure Hardline is the best, most innovated Battlefield experience we can give to you, our fans," said DICE Vice President Karl Magnus Treason. Stability, one of the major issues with Hardline currently, is said to be addressed with the extra time.
Dragon Age: Inquisition won't witness as drastic a bump as Battlefield, but gamers will have to wait a little longer to jump back into the magical world. The game is now being released on November 18 in North America, when it was previously scheduled to come out on October 7. Executive Producer Mark Darrah posted about the news on the Dragon Age website, stating that the game "will be all the better" for the extra time.
"I'm privileged to be a part of a team that has been working very hard to surpass every measure they've set for themselves, said Darrah. "That has meant completing huge amounts of game content, fixing bugs both big and small, and improving the overall experience. This last bit of time is about polishing the experience we want you to see."
While EA doesn't give reasoning other than polishing and fixing the games, the decision to delay could have something to do with other games on the release slate. A number of big games are being released in the same month, including Assassin's Creed: Unity, Sunset Overdrive, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Evil Within, Evolve and Alien: Isolation. September will also see the release of one of the largest games of the year in Destiny.
A note in the quarterly financials for the 2015 fiscal year could shed light on the situation as well. During the results call, Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen stated the company reviewed its intellectual property portfolio. In the process, EA decided that it wouldn't use a "certain licensed intellectual property" going-forward. The decision cost the company $122 million, but wouldn't impact "core licensed products." The property loss could be seen as a gap in releases that needs to be adjusted for.
EA likely holds a list of licensed property that it can utilize, but the property dropped wasn't named. It could be a reflection of the end of the licensing agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). EA hit trouble last year over using the likeness of college students without permission in its yearly football release. The NCAA stated in July 2013 that it wouldn't renew its contract with the publisher. Initially, EA believed they would continue with college football games, but announced in September that a new game wouldn't be published in 2014. ESPN states that the agreement was set to expire last month.