Industry behemoth Electronic Arts surprised everyone this week by letting the cat out of the bag on the next instalment in DICE’s Battlefield franchise. While no details were revealed on the military shooter, EA confirmed that those who pre-order Medal of Honor: Warfighter will gain access to Battlefield 4’s beta in fall 2013. Platforms, as well as a release date for BF4 have yet to be confirmed, though that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from cranking into overdrive regarding potential formats.
EA has previously touted it would never force DICE to annualise the Battlefield franchise, and indeed this seems to be the case. With Battlefield 3 launching last year to critical and commercial success, EA is giving MoH the spotlight for 2012, while smart money says Battlefield 4 will arrive late next year. While many were perhaps expecting something along the lines of Bad Company, a fully-fledged sequel is hardly a surprise given how successful BF3 proved. However, we’re still none the wiser as to what platforms the game will turn up on; a PS3/360/PC release is a given, but is it that hard to imagine the game making the transition to next-gen formats too? We think not.
Next-generation consoles are hotly tipped for a late 2013/early 2014 launch, making Battlefield 4 an ideal launch title for both PS3’s successor and the new Xbox. Aside from perhaps Call of Duty, Battlefield is the most prolific FPS series around, and would surely sweeten the deal for early adopters looking to make the next-gen jump. The fact the beta kicks off in autumn 2013 means the full product can’t be too far around the corner, and ties in neatly with the purported launch window of PS4 and Xbox 720.
This sort of thing isn’t exactly new, either. Many games arriving late in the console cycle have been made available for up-and-coming hardware. Remember the game adaptation of Peter Jackson’s King Kong? That launched on last-gen machines, but was also a 360 launch title. Call of Duty 3 turned up on PS2 but also made it for PS3’s launch, so did FIFA 07, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and many others. Failing that, even if the game doesn’t make day one, there’s nothing stopping DICE porting the shooter to PS4 and Xbox 720 a few months down the line.
Who knows, perhaps if the game does show up on new hardware, it’ll come packed with some extra content to boot. Battlefield has consistently remained one of this cycle’s most stunning-looking franchises, and no doubt DICE will be keen to perpetuate that tradition for the next batch of consoles. Presumably the game is being made from the ground-up on PS3 and 360, so a port to PS4 and Xbox 720 would be a fairly simple task and we’re likely to see some improved visuals too, as is usually the case when a game ends up on two formats of differing hardware generations.
Regardless of what happens, we feel confident that Battlefield 4’s chances of showing up on next-gen machines is fairly high, and would certainly tempt many potential buyers off the fence and kick start the race with a bang.