Flagship first-person-shooter Battlefield 4 is so troubled that the game's development studio won't proceed on development of any new, planned expansions until the game's problems are sorted out, BF4 publisher EA told Kotaku in a statement today.
That update comes at at an awkward moment. Online connection issues have been frustrating some players of the late-October PC and console game. Those issues appeared to become more prevalent with the release of the next-gen versions of the game in November. EA and development studio DICE were supposed to issue a key patch yesterday but delayed it. Those parties did, however, release a new expansion to the game called China Rising yesterday.
EA wants it to be known, however, that business as usual won't continue. Future expansions won't be worked on right now. Bug fixes will. That is a reiteration of what the company said in late November, but is perhaps worth reiterating given this week's odd confluence of events.
Here's EA's statement:
First, we want to thank the fans out there that are playing and supporting us with Battlefield 4. We know we still have a ways to go with fixing the game — it is absolutely our #1 priority. The team at DICE is working non-stop to update the game. Since Battlefield 4 China Rising expansion pack was already in the final stages of development by the time issues began withBattlefield 4, we decided to fulfil our promise to deliver it this week, but we're not moving onto future projects or expansions until we sort out all the issues with Battlefield 4. We know many of our players are frustrated, and we feel your pain. We will not stop until this is right.
This isn't the first EA mea culpa for Battlefield 4. On November 22, new EA boss Andrew Wilson publicly apologized for the game's problems:
We have had our challenges with stability issues on Battlefield 4, and the DICE team is 100 per cent focused on understanding and resolving the problems that some players have been having.
That same day, DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson wrote on the Battlefield blog and mentioned that development was focusing on fixing the game's issues, not making expansions:
Millions of people around the world are playing the game and seeing the tip of the iceberg of what the next generation has to offer. At DICE, we are committed to you, the fans, and view the game as a live service. I am extremely proud of the people at DICE and everyone across EA that contributed to the development of Battlefield 4. However, I am less proud to see that the game has experienced some turbulence during the launch period. While some platforms have had only minor problems, others have had more than their fair share of issues. Resolving the launch issues is our #1 priority. In fact, we are so serious that we have the entire team working to stabilise the game and we will not move on to other projects until we are sure that Battlefield 4 meets — and exceeds — your expectations. It is the right thing to do.
As a sign of good faith, Wilson and Troedsson had also announced a double-XP week for Battlefield 4 players. That week ends tomorrow, December 5.
EA and DICE tend to support their Battlefield games for a long time and had initially pledged to release five expansions for the game. We're checking with EA to see if this change in development focus to problem-solving will affect that count.
Internally, Kotaku staffers have had varied success playing Battlefield 4 online. On Xbox 360, things went pretty well. We've had infrequent connection issues on PS4.
EA urges all Battlefield 4 players to keep an eye on the game's Control Room page, which links to status updates for the game across all its platforms.