NEWS - Thursday, November 18, 2004

EA has plans for Xbox 2

Early details of Electronic Arts' plans for the next generation of consoles have emerged today, with Digital Illusions' Battlefield: Modern Combat confirmed to be on its way to Xbox 2, as is Criterion's Black. Digital Illusions revealed last week that it is working on two untitled games for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2, due for release in late 2006 or 2007, but this is the first time that the firm has confirmed that it is planning to launch a Battlefield game on a next-generation platform. Battlefield: Modern Combat was originally meant to launch in 2004, but has been pushed back to 2005 to incorporate a single-player element, which is currently being developed at EA Studio UK's Warrington offices. The year's delay will mean that the developers have time to build an Xbox 2 version, and this is not expected to impact the launch of the titles on other platforms, with PS2 and Xbox versions still in the works. On a related note, sources close to the company have indicated that Criterion's promising first person shooter Black is also to have an Xbox 2 version, along with versions for the current generation consoles. These two projects are EA's first named forays into next-generation development, and suggest that the firm's European development division - bolstered by the recent acquisition of Criterion and the likely acquisition of Digital Illusions - is leading the way on the next-gen platforms. However, as yet, only Xbox 2 versions of the titles in question are expected, with development on PlayStation 3 still up in the air, since Sony's console is not expected to launch until at least six months after Microsoft's.


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