How do you take down a blockbuster? By making one of your own, of course. But in this industry, it must be top-quality, too.
EA is well aware of this fact. It's why they're always talking about producing games that score high on Metacritic; they know that titles that hold average critic scores of 9+ typically perform far better on the sales charts. So, the plan to overthrow Call of Duty is simple for EA; said boss man John Riccitiello- we'll just make a better game. That's the idea.
"If I had to pick the story I'd like to play out next year is we ship a 90 [Metacritic scoring game] and they ship an 85. …what I've witnessed a couple of times in the games industry is the way you unseat a market leader is you make a better game a couple of times in a row."
For the record, Black Ops and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 both hold average review scores of 8.8 at Metacritic, and EA has pegged their vaunted Battlefield series as the new ruler. Not only do the shooter fans have super high expectations for the upcoming Battlefield 3 , many will claim Bad Company 2 and Black Ops are quite similar in terms of quality. In fact, some will say BC2 is the FPS of 2010. Added Riccitiello:
"Our next game [Battlefield 3] is being built on the second generation of Frostbite which I think is at least in my opinion is a class act for FPS. I think we're going to lift the game pretty dramatically in the first-person shooter category.
I have great expectations to do a lot better in 2011 than in 2010 on the strength of a couple of products like Bulletstorm and Crysis , but most importantly for us, Battlefield 3, which I feel incredibly good about."
Analysts and publishers have long since warmed to the following formula: make a game that tops the list of critic recommendations, and you have a financial success. There are always a few exceptions to the rule, of course, but in stark contrast to most any other entertainment medium, most of the best-selling video games are also widely recognized as some of the best in terms of quality.
So go for it, EA. You make a great game; we'll reward it.