Remember the last time a big, blockbuster release was unearthed by little more than a side note on a pre-order banner? If you can’t think of an instance, think outside of the box for a second. Call of Duty and Assassin Creed games are expected to release each and every year, but the actual reveal of what the next iteration in the franchise will be is always accompanied by some flashy piece of content and stream of Twitter buzz. Staple franchises that keep publishers afloat get the highest degree of attention, but when it comes to sports games, a new title with the latest year slapped on the end is guaranteed. It’s a known quantity, and a party isn’t exactly thrown when EA says, “yep, it’s happening.”
With Battlefield 4, though, the expected star treatment for a game in its respective genre wasn’t there. How did we learn about what could be one of the biggest games in the year it releases? Through EA trying to get us to pre-order Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It was first thought to be a leak, but after this morning’s trailer, it seems like EA is just fine with everyone knowing of the game’s existence.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly get me excited about the game. It actually lowers my current interest for the franchise, if that’s how EA is going to handle the property early on. But maybe, from a business standpoint, they don’t need to go big from the start. We expect a new Madden every year, and at this point, we know there will be a Battlefield game every other year. It’s a known quantity, and sadly, carries close to none of the surprise it once did.
The current audience isn’t accessing gaming journalism sites on a daily basis to see new assets and information on Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s multiplayer or Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s campaign. If I ever get asked any gaming question by a casual player who uses their 360 as a box that only plays Call of Duty, it’s simply “when’s the next one come out?” They just want to buy the game when it comes out; ignoring all the advancements and just finding satisfaction in knowing that they can now participate in the most recent product.
Sure, a big reveal will help spark some early interest, but with such a predictable release schedule the fans will be there to pick up the game just because it’s that time of the year again. November has become the Call of Duty month for some people, and that style of thinking is now becoming the same for Battlefield. The shock and awe has vanished, and the most solid piece of evidence has come via Battlefield 4’s “announcement.” We know it will happen. We know what it will play like; so why even take the time and effort to make a big deal about it being worked on?
How long can it last, though? Will the first-person shooter gravy train continue on indefinitely like Madden? Time will only tell, and the transition to the next generation may be the biggest test.
What do you think about the manner by which Battlefield 4 was annoucned? Do you agree that it’s a sign for the genre as a whole? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or head over to the forums to talk about the game!