Speaking to employees during an internal “town hall” meeting, an EA executive reportedly attributed some of Battlefield 2042’s negative reception to the surprise launch of Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer, which dropped on Steam at around the same time. Xfire’s account of the meeting states that EA acknowledged several reasons for BF2042’s struggles, but the notion that the company might have attributed Battlefield 2042’s shortcomings to Halo’s success quickly became the subject of repudiation and internet mockery.
“DICE and EA are blaming everything but themselves for this dumpster fire of a game,” reads the title of one Reddit post, which links to an IGN article about the report. EA says that the meeting is being mischaracterized.
“These stories are not accurately capturing the discussion and the context, which was an in-depth and very humble internal conversation about the recent Battlefield launch,” EA communications VP John Reseburg said in a statement sent to PC Gamer. “It was about key learnings and actions we are taking, not blaming external factors.”
According to Xfire’s account of the meeting, EA outlined a number of reasons for Battlefield 2042’s poor reception. Aside from challenges related to working from home during the pandemic, those reasons included bugs, performance issues, and design decisions. EA said roughly the same things to investors a couple weeks ago.
The Halo Infinite comment is new, however. Xfire doesn’t quote it directly, so we don’t know exactly what was said, but in the site’s words, EA chief operating officer Laura Miele said that comparisons between the games didn’t go in EA’s favor because “Halo Infinite was a very polished title whereas Battlefield 2042 contained bugs and wasn’t as polished.” If that’s what was said, it’s true: Halo Infinite was lambasted for its battle pass, but the dominant criticism was not that it was buggy, and that was a major criticism of Battlefield 2042.
With regard to the technical state of BF2042 at launch, Xfire says that “Miele acknowledged that player expectations have changed when it comes to live service games and that it wasn’t the right choice to remain anchored to the company’s standards in comparison to previous DICE games.”
As for what EA and DICE plan to do about it, they’ve previously announced that they’re pushing back Battlefield 2042’s first season to focus on additions such as VOIP, bug fixes, and other changes. DICE will also try out a new “feedback loop,” posting information about planned changes and the reasoning behind them, observing the subsequent conversation, and then updating its plan and sharing why. Among the topics it will bring to the table are specialist design and the design of future maps, two heavily-criticized aspects of Battlefield 2042. One of those new maps will come with the first season, which after the delay is now scheduled for early summer.
I still think Battlefield 2042 is fun, but at risk of sounding like Grampa Simpson, my definition of fun might not be enough for today’s Battlefield fans: Back in the early 2000s, I was entertained for months by the Battlefield 1942 demo alone, and that was a janky-ass game which only included the Wake Island map. Now you can fly around in a cool wingsuit and everyone’s saying it sucks. Well, times change.
In any case, I’m not sure the evidence here supports the idea that EA is blaming Halo for its woes. It’s possible there was some frustration that Halo Infinite came out of nowhere to make Battlefield look bad, but based on Xfire’s report, it sounds like the comment was a soft affirmation that Battlefield 2042 should have been delayed. Halo Infinite itself was delayed for a year, and Miele reportedly praised it and suggested that Battlefield should have met the same standard.
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