Strange developments are emerging as Electronic Arts (EA) staged an investor call to talk developments for fiscal year 2014, which runs from April 2013 to March 2014. EA took a look at several titles to emerge in said fiscal year, and the development list looks strange indeed.
EA is planning to offer up 11 major titles across the standard slate of consoles and on PC, though there's not much discussion about the next generation of consoles. It could be that ports are planned, but the early term looks like EA will be focusing on the more standard fare. Set for release in the 2014 fiscal year are the next Madden title, FIFA and FIFA Manager, the standard array of regular sports games
like NCAA Football, NHL and NBA Live, the next "Need for Speed" installment, the next "Battlefield" and "Command and Conquer" installments, "The Sims 4," and "Fuse." "Fuse," for those not already familiar, follows a group of operatives in search of a stolen alien power source known as, as the game implies, Fuse.
If something seems missing from this list, it's because fiscal year 2014 will not feature a Star Wars game, especially noteworthy as EA had announced only yesterday that it had picked up a multi-year deal with Disney to build Star Wars universe titles. That's a little disconcerting, but only a little. After all, it's going to take time to develop a game like that, so rushing a title to stores just because it has the license so to do would be kind of a blow to the franchise, and to both EA and Disney.
However, there are some reports that EA may be looking to subcontract out. Reports from Frank Gibeau, EA Labels' executive vice president indicate that BioWare, DICE and Visceral will be working on the Star Wars games, so we may well yet see something come out with the EA name on it, even if not necessarily developed in-house.
But there's a couple extra twists to this particular development. EA has 11 titles slated for launch this year. But EA also lost fully 1,000 employees recently thanks to layoffs following the departure of CEO John Riccitiello. Plus, remember all those studios said to be working Star Wars? They're currently, reportedly, neck-deep in other projects. DICE is working "Battlefield 4
," and another group is working on "Mirror's Edge 2." The "Battlefield 4" team is probably safe as EA's already been talking Battlefield, but "Mirror's Edge 2" might well be delayed or shut down outright in the wake of this news. Visceral, meanwhile, is also said to be working Battlefield, and BioWare previously made the "Star Wars: The Old Republic
" MMO which went free to play after a run regarded on many fronts as a disappointment.
So with most of EA's backup currently at least partially occupied, will the lack of Star Wars shine through? It's hard to believe that EA would get a license which was no doubt pricey and then just let it sit for the first year unused. Will other games be delayed or cancelled? Neither prospect is not unheard of in this industry. Will EA do some hiring? Will EA find people willing to work in an environment like EA? It's an interesting concept, and certainly one to watch in the near-term future as EA starts getting its 2014 together.