Battlefield 4Source: Electronic Arts

What you need to know

  • The next Battlefield game is headed to previous-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, Electronic Arts has confirmed.
  • The project, which Electronic Arts has repeatedly pitched as a "next-gen" experience, will push forward "physics, artificial intelligence, and the immersive nature of the game."
  • Battlefield 6 is scheduled for a full reveal this June.

Electronic Arts plans to bring its next entry in the Battlefield franchise to previous-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) systems, alongside next-generation consoles and PC. The confirmation comes via the company's fourth-quarter earnings for its 2021 fiscal year, outlining its cross-generational plans to investors.

The next Battlefield title, colloquially dubbed Battlefield 6, is currently set to be unveiled this June, ahead of a planned release later in 2021. While Electronic Arts has remained tight on details, the project is repeatedly pitched as a "next-gen" experience, expected to leverage the best of the new Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PlayStation 5 consoles. However, the title will still target Xbox One and PS4 consoles when it launches this fall.

"Battlefield will be available for both current-gen and next-gen as will our sports titles," Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson stated during its FY21 Q4 earnings call. "The reference specifically from our prepared remarks was around the nature of gameplay. What we can do with the fidelity of the game, what we can do with physics, artificial intelligence, and the immersive nature of the game."

"And in the case of Battlefield, what we can do with respect to the amount of players that we can have in the game, and the nature of destruction and those all-new Battlefield moments that are truly next-gen opportunities that we are able to do in the context of our next-gen franchises because of the increased processing power and memory and output of the new consoles."

Battlefield 4Source: Electronic Arts

The confirmation comes as little surprise, with ongoing hardware shortages making PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles hard to find over half a year after their respective November launches. Current stock restraints are forecasted to continue throughout the year, further exacerbated by global chip shortages amid the pandemic. While designed with the latest systems in mind, availability on the existing Xbox One and PS4 install base comes as little surprise.

Electronic Arts has teased various advancements with the "next-gen" Battlefield experience, likely targeting 128-player multiplayer matches, larger maps, and new destruction mechanics. While details on previous-generation versions remain scarce, Wilson implies these will scale back their player counts and complexity to meet the capabilities of the aging hardware. Electronic Arts took a similar approach to Battlefield 4, with Xbox 360 and PS3 copies taking a performance hit alongside a reduced match population.

The Battlefield 6 reveal trailer currently looks set for June, reportedly adopting a near-future setting, mixing modern-day warfare with advanced gadgets. The title launches later during its third quarter, targeting between October and December 2021, available on console and PC.