Electronic Arts has appointed Byron Beede as the new SVP and general manager of the Battlefield series. Beede previously spent nearly 20 years at Activision Blizzard, where he most recently worked as the executive vice president and general manager of the Call of Duty series.
Beede will be reporting to Vince Zampella, one of the co-founders of Respawn Entertainment. Zampella currently leads Respawn and DICE’s offices in Los Angeles.
Alongside Beede’s hiring announcement, EA also said that the move “signals a strategic, long-term commitment to the growth of the [Battlefield] franchise,” as reported by IGN.
Battlefield and Call of Duty have had a robust yet lop-sided rivalry for decades. Both series were launched around the same time (Battlefield 1942 in 2002 and Call of Duty in 2003) to great acclaim and similar sales numbers.
But as time marched on, that gap widened. Battlefield V was released in 2018 with a disappointing sales performance, according to EA itself. Meanwhile, 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot brought in $US1 ($1.4) billion for Activision by the end of the year.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson suggested that prioritising Battlefield V’s single-player campaign over its battle royale mode, Firestorm, ultimately hurt the game’s sales. Perhaps one of Beede’s major responsibilities will be to ensure that the next Battlefield ships with a compelling battle royale mode that can go head-to-head against Activision’s massively popular battle royale game, Call of Duty: Warzone.
In April, DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson wrote a blog post declaring that Battlefield 6 is being worked on by the series’ “biggest team ever,” pulling in support from Criterion, DICE LA, and EA Gothenburg. The same blog post revealed that the studio has also been co-developing a Battlefield mobile title with Industrial Toys. Perhaps these are the ambitious moves of an army getting ready to take down the king.
The next Battlefield game will be officially unveiled on June 9.