Credit: Electronic ArtsPeople can be allergic to the strangest things. There are typical food allergies, of course, but some unfortunate souls can't even handle things like grass or sunlight. It seems like Electronic Arts (EA) might actually be allergic to success, because the company announced that Battlefield V's battle royale mode won't arrive until March 2019. That's four months after the game itself launches and five months after Call of Duty's battle royale mode went live.
EA being allergic to success is an obvious hyperbole. Star Wars: Battlefront II and its loot box debacle proved that isn't true. But it's still odd to hear that even after pushing Battlefield V's release date from October to November that the Firestorm game mode won't be available at launch. It's being developed by a different studio, sure, but it's also one of the primary selling points for the next installment in a major franchise.
Battlefield also seemed likely to be the first AAA series to do battle royale correctly. Call of Duty seemed like a long shot--how's a franchise where 10 players competed in a single match supposed to adapt to an expansive map with up to 100 players at a time? Battlefield had the experience with large player counts, expansive maps and weapon systems balanced for tactical combat instead of the arcade-like game modes present in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Yet, here we are. EA previously announced that Firestorm would be limited to squad-based gameplay featuring 16 groups of four players a piece, bringing the player count to the same 64-person cap as Battlefield's other game modes. At that point the biggest difference between Firestorm and Battlefield V's other game modes is the lack of respawns and the ring of fire engulfing the map, but one could get the same effect with basic custom game settings.
Battlefield V has more than just Firestorm going for it. We played the game when EA held an open beta and came away from the experience optimistic about its potential. DICE has created a beautiful game that feels good to play, despite a few balance problems (which can easily be addressed) and basic UI downfalls. Series faithfuls might still be content with the core game, but Firestorm's delay could also limit the title's appeal to non-believers.
There's also the question of people who pre-ordered Battlefield V under the impression that Firestorm would debut alongside the core game. Are those people willing to wait several months for the mode to debut—assuming it's actually introduced in March—or are they going to get their battle royale kicks elsewhere? EA might not be allergic to success, but its audience could prove intolerant of the constant uncertainty surrounding Battlefield V.