October won’t be quite as busy a month for video games as we thought. Electronic Arts has delayed Battlefield V, the latest installment in the at-least-semi-realistic shooter franchise, to November 20. The official reason is to give DICE more time to polish the game in response to player feedback, but the later release will also make sure Battlefield V isn’t directly competing with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 or Red Dead Redemption 2.
DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson said in today’s announcement that Battlefield V’s delay is supposed to let the studio “take the time to continue to make some final adjustments to core gameplay, and to ensure we really deliver on the potential of Tides of War.” (More on that later.) That requires a longer gap between the open beta, which starts on September 3, and the official release. Apparently one month is long enough.
Gabrielson said “tens of thousands” of players participated in Battlefield V’s closed alphas or played the game at E3 and Gamescom. He expects “millions” to play in the upcoming open beta. That’s a lot of feedback to respond to. It’s also sure to expose problems with the game’s underlying infrastructure that some players might not even notice. Responding to feedback before release instead of after is probably better PR.
It doesn’t help that Battlefield V is both a departure from the Battlefield formula and a return to form. The game will feature a battle royale mode—much like Black Ops 4 and countless other titles—but it also brings the setting back to World War II. Combine that with the same emphasis on large-scale gameplay, destructible maps, and “realistic” mechanics and it’s not hard to see why DICE and EA think Battlefield V will revitalize the series.
“We believe we have one of the best Battlefield games ever on our hands. A game that will deliver on an emotional journey through the return of unseen single player War Stories, a deep multiplayer experience, Battle Royale, along with our new live service, Tides of War – a journey across multiple theaters of WW2 and designed to keep our community together.”
But EA and DICE aren’t the only companies with something riding on Battlefield V. The game has also been presented as the poster child for Nvidia’s support for ray-tracing technology, which is an important selling point for its Turing GPUs. We don’t know if wanting to improve the game’s ray-tracing support contributed to its delay. But either way, this is bad news for Nvidia’s expensive new graphics cards. It’s not like there are an abundance other ray-trace-ready games ready to take its place.
At least not in the ray-tracing game. For everyone who doesn’t plan to buy an RTX card in the coming weeks, though, Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 will be ready to fill the void left in Battlefield V’s absence. That’s assuming those games aren’t delayed as well. At this point you’re probably better off consulting a Ouija board than official release dates. Maybe the open beta will be enough to convince people Battlefield V is worth the wait. We should find out on September 3.