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Published on January 27th, 2022 | by minshewnetworks


Is the Rapid Release Calendar Doomed?

Of all the many things players like to complain about, the rapid release schedule of titles like FIFA, Football Manager, Call of Duty, and Battlefield has grown to become a colossal bugbear in recent years, not least because the quality of the latter two franchises seems to be in freefall. EA is now reportedly looking to convert Battlefield 2042 into a free-to-play game, which is a bit of an ignominious outcome for a title just two months on the market.

Multiplayer Servers

What went wrong, though? Plenty of games and entertainment activities tend to experiment around a single theme. In casino gaming, for example, novel creations such as Slingo games online, a melding of bingo and slots, now have a large catalog of variants on the Betfair website. The game was initially invented back in 1994 as an exciting twist on two traditional casino fan-favorites. While few of these titles re-invent the wheel, they nevertheless mean that playing Slingo is a fresh experience that allows players to enjoy two beloved classics in a new form.

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Slingo games didn’t all come out at once, though, which is an illusion that the release schedule of the previous games seems to manifest in players’ minds. Entries in the Battlefield canon, like Hardline, IV, V, and Battlefield 1, are no doubt still fresh in the minds of FPS fans, not least because all the multiplayer servers are still up. EA is ostensibly running the entire Battlefield franchise at the same time.

Command & Conquer

While having four or five games generating income is an obvious boon for publishers, it’s a difficult sell for consumers, as it’s difficult to provide the improvements and new storylines that a frequent $70 purchase demands. This dilemma has produced several sharp turns in FPS lore, such as Call of Duty heading to space in 2016’s Infinite Warfare or Battlefield 2142 leaping more than a century into the future.

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These ideas might be perfectly fine for a franchise like Command & Conquer, which has featured giant ants, dinosaurs, and time travel in an otherwise ‘normal’ combat setting, but both Call of Duty and Battlefield purport to be semi-realistic – or, at least, they do when it suits the marketing. These twists and turns haven’t always been poorly-received but there’s still a feeling they’re an unnecessary indulgence for the two series.

Football Manager

Fortunately, for players bored of the increasingly frantic release schedules of AAA games, Activision looks like it might have had enough. The publisher has always been quite up-front about the fact that it wants no more than a year of support and development from each Call of Duty game, which is one of the most commercial, fan-unfriendly ideas ever put to paper. Could it now really skip 2023, as reported in the gaming press?

Military shooters aside, one of the most frustrating aspects of regular franchise releases is that games such as FIFA and Football Manager would work perfectly well with a yearly roster update rather than a full re-build. Of course, this would dramatically reduce the annual income on those particular titles. In any case, though, there are different ways of doing things that – hopefully – publishers are slowly coming around to.

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