Despite being the first company to earn The Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" distinction two years in a row, Electronic Arts is easily one of the most important developers/publishers in the video game industry. The company owns some of the biggest IPs in the medium, including Mass Effect, Need for Speed, and Battlefield, and produces best-selling sports franchises such as Madden NFL and FIFA. Most importantly to many fans, EA currently holds the Star Wars license and plans to create new Star Wars games for the next decade.
EA is responsible for a number of our most anticipated games for 2016, starting with the release of Unraveled in February. But as with all large companies, all eyes are already looking toward the future, and EA has big plans for Fiscal Year 2017.
During the company's 2016 Q3 earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson revealed the company's plans for the next fiscal year, running from April 1st, 2016 to March 31st, 2017. The first quarter starts with the release of Mirror's Edge Catalyst in May, followed by the next installments of the company's annual sports games. Finally, Wilson offered an update on the company's upcoming biggest titles.
"An all new 'Battlefield' game from DICE will arrive in time for the holidays. We are excited to have a new 'Titanfall' experience coming from our friends at Respawn, and of course 'Mass Effect: Andromeda' from the team at BioWare will launch later in the fiscal year. "
A new Titanfall game was confirmed last year, but since then there has been no new information on the title. With its release window confirmed for the next year, it's likely to show up during EA's recently announced live events EA Play. The announcement of Battlefield's imminent release confirms the launch window announced at one of EA's investor calls last year.
The most disappointing news is that Mass Effect: Andromeda might not be launching until 2017. While the game was never officially confirmed for 2016, the current placeholder dates indicated a holiday 2016 launch window may have been in the cards. Mass Effect 3 saw the series shift from holiday releases to a February release date, so it's possible Andromeda will follow a similar path.
The earnings call also offered a brief update on the upcoming Star Wars game from EA-owned developer Visceral. Asked about reducing less-profitable titles, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said the following:
"We are down to less than 15 major SKUs. And that feels like a good size of the business and we are obviously announcing that we are investing in some action-based SKUs by bringing people like Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig into our organization to help build those. And those are obviously a few years out in our SKU plan."
Amy Hennig previously worked with developer Naughty Dog, serving as the driving force behind the first three Uncharted games. Hennig left Naughty Dog in 2014 to join Visceral's Star Wars project, soon joined by Todd Stashwick (Justified), who is co-writing the game. Jade Raymond, executive producer on Assassin's Creed 2 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, is currently overseeing Visceral's California studio to assist in development. With an impressive range of talent and one of the most popular licenses in the world, there's no doubt Visceral's Star Wars game will be a massive undertaking, explaining the extended wait for the game's release.