Electronic Arts uts the Battle-Royale mode in Battlefield game

Andrew Wilson, chief executive officer of Electronic Arts Inc. (Bloomberg pic)

LOS ANGELES: In a nod to the remarkable success of the every-man-for-himself shooter game Fortnite, Electronic Arts Inc. said it will include a battle-royale mode in its upcoming Battlefield V game.

The move follows a similar announcement by Activision Blizzard Inc. for its next version of Call of Duty, also due out in October.
Fortnite, made by closely held Epic Games, has become a cultural phenomenon since its release last year, attracting more than 45 million players worldwide and causing the video-game industry to rethink its game designs and business models. Fortnite is free to play, with Epic generating revenue from players who want buy options such as outfits and accessories for their characters. In the game, 100 people at once compete online in a fight to the finish.

Eletronic Arts also said Battlefield V wouldn’t contain “loot boxes,” the ability to purchase features that sometimes enhance performance. The loot boxes have been contentious because many gamers don’t believe players should be able to buy their way to better performance. Some authorities also consider the surprise of finding what’s inside gambling. The company’s major release last year, Star Wars Battlefront II, sparked a fan protest over the boxes.

At a press conference in Los Angeles on Saturday, Electronic Arts executives acknowledged customer dissatisfaction with the game, and announced new characters and journeys to try to please them. The company also said its next game in the series Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order will be released late next year.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive officer of Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts, said he was also introducing a higher-end version of its subscription game-playing service that will include new titles such as Battlefield V and the Madden NFL 19 football game. It was an acknowledgment that streaming is the way of the future in content publishing of all kinds, he said. The company is investing in a new cloud-based development unit in Israel to enhance online play.

The new subscription service is PC-based and costs $15 a month, three times the cost of a version that doesn’t include the company’s newest titles.