EA has recently decided to a show a little faith in their developers by publicly detailing their master plan for gaining ground on, and eventually overtaking, the Call of Duty franchise. It was a nice gesture, but one ruined by how flawed the plan is itself, which is really no more than to 'make a better game'. It sounds logical in some respects, since everyone knows that a consumer will always be willing to jump onto another product if it's superior, but on the same page it lacks a certain logic of its own. What exactly determines what kind of game would be 'superior' to Call of Duty? How does one accomplish that? Naturally EA has all the answers, which boil down to one game: Battlefield 3.
Not to say that Battlefield 3 won't be an amazing game, because everyone knows that EA DICE are capable of creating absolutely phenomenal gaming experiences. They've got a unique weapons system, realistic combat mechanics that are fun without becoming tiresome, and have one of the best handles on vehicle warfare. But if EA's plan is to make great games in succession, then one can only imagine that there must either be a lack of faith in Battlefield 3 to steal the show or that EA has simply resigned themselves to the long-haul when it comes to beating Activision. It's almost like they've admitted defeat.
After all, creating hit after hit will only saturate the market with shooters that players will, if they're good enough, feel obligated to purchase. But it's a big risk too, because there's a chance the FPS genre will simply cannibalize itself in the same way that the music genre has done. Why bother purchasing a series that has only minor tweaks and changes from title to title, when you know that only a few months after that another one will release that may have some minor tweaks and changes you're more familiar with? As long as players only have Call of Duty styled games to compare against, Call of Duty will almost always come out on top - unless they do something severely wrong.
Worse than that, assuming that Battlefield 3 is the first stepping stone on EA's master plan to dethrone the current king of FPS, what comes after that? Comparing Bad Company 2 to Modern Warfare 2 is like apples to oranges, two similar things that appeal to different types of gamers. Publishers use this logic all the time when it comes to games, and very rarely does it ever succeed. Medal of Honor, after all, was a game that EA believed was primed and set to deliver an experience that would easily topple Modern Warfare 2, if not give Black Ops a run for its money. The result was a game that couldn't possibly live up to anyone's expectations, let alone meet the standards EA had set for it.
All of this naturally makes one wonder why EA hasn't sat back and reviewed the success of Modern Warfare as a prime example of what they should be doing. A new franchise showing up to take hold of an arena of gaming that lay completely unoccupied in the wake of dozens of other World War II shooters; it's really no wonder the series made such a heavy splash. Instead of looking to copy, or one-up the competition they should be looking to find ways in which Activision cannot possibly complete.
If anything, they should look at what Activision did with Call of Duty. It was set up to rival the successful Medal of Honor franchise, but after a few iterations, it was doing ok, but it wasn't pushing Medal of Honour out. So what did they do? Did something Medal of Honor hadn't, and blew it out of the park.
This isn't to say that Battlefield 3 won't be the game that allows EA to do this, very little news has been leaked to the public regarding the series after all. For all we know, it could be set on another planet using future-tanks and laser guided bullets. But the fact of the matter remains that EA's plan to simply saturate the market, while at the same time pushing forward every single game as a 'CoD Killer' is a bad one. It puts too much pressure on EA DICE and Danger Close, risks putting mainstream FPS in the same position as Guitar Hero, and worst of all sets unrealistic expectations for their games. EA would be far better off supporting a game based upon the merits of being unique and fun, rather than a 'better alternative' to anything; any consumer would be able to tell them that in a heartbeat. It's just a matter of EA being willing to listen.