Mass Effect Andromeda, Need for Speed, and NBA Live Shuffle Into 2017

Mass Effect Andromeda, Need for Speed, and NBA Live Shuffle Into 2017

EA's 2016 schedule gets thinner as many of its biggest titles move to next year.

Electronic Arts today announced its financial earnings report for the fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended on March 31, 2016. Net revenue for the fiscal year was up to $4.4 billion, with more than half of that number (2.4 billion) coming from digital sales. Net income came to $1.1 billion, up year-over-year.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is EA's next major title.

"FY16 was a phenomenal year for Electronic Arts as we connected hundreds of millions of players to great new games, and helped them connect with each other through rich and dynamic live services," said EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson. "The year ahead is packed with excitement. Fans are thrilled with the intense action and epic scale of Battlefield 1, our EA Sports titles will take major leaps in innovation, and we'll bring new experiences from our most popular brands to more players on more devices."

The company also outlined its game releases for fiscal year 2017, which ends on March 31, 2017.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is up first in June, followed by FIFA 17, Madden NFL 17, NHL 17, Battlefield 1, and Titanfall 2. Eagle eyed viewers may notice some missing titles in that lineup, all of which announced their delays separately today. Bioware was the first, announcing that Mass Effect Andromeda was moving into early 2017.

"As we've been playing the game at the studio recently, it's showing us that we're taking the game in the right direction," wrote Bioware general manager Aaron Flynn. "But we also know we need the right amount of time to make sure we deliver everything the game can be and should be – that's our commitment from all of us to all of you. Because of that, Mass Effect: Andromeda will now ship in early 2017."

Then Ghost Games, the EA developer behind the Need for Speed franchise, revealed that it was skipping 2016 completely, mirroring the franchise's lack of release in 2014. This is somewhat surprising. This year's iteration of the franchise, simply titled Need for Speed, came and went with little fanfare. Sales seemed solid though, with NFS 2015 ending up at #7 on the NPD charts for its launch month, despite going up against major titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, and EA's own Star Wars Battlefront.

Need for Speed is seemingly moving from an annual release schedule.

"We are now building upon the foundations that have been laid with Need for Speed and delivering our next game in 2017," said the studio in a statement.

Finally, NBA Live is going back to the drawing board again. Ever since the release of NBA Live 10, EA Sports has been struggling to keep up with the NBA 2K series from 2K Sports. In 2010, the company released a demo for series retooling NBA Elite 11, which was met with poor reception due to the new control scheme and various glitches. That led to the cancellation of the title and the series skipping 2011 as well. The company tried to rally with NBA Live 13, but that title was eventually cancelled too.

EA hasn't been able to recover from the time off. The release of NBA Live 16 didn't even hit the Top 10 of the NPD charts for September and October. In contrast, its competition was #1 in September and #2 in October. EA holds the crown in a number of other sports, but basketball has eluded it for some time now. The next NBA Live has been pushed back to early 2017, while EA Sports focuses on the mobile version for this year.

"It's important that you know that we are committed to NBA LIVE in the console space. While we won't be shipping a product this Fall, we will be back on the courts with something new and exciting for you to experience in early 2017," wrote EA executive producer Sean O'Brien.

EA has already announced that it won't be on the E3 showfloor this year, instead focusing on a press conference and standalone event called EA Play. Given this rather set schedule for the fiscal year, the publisher may have simply decided it had little new to show at E3. Less early hints and more actual playable games lends itself to showcasing at other events with a fan-friendly bent, like PAX. EA Play is a step towards that, rather than the closed doors of E3.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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