Ex-Battlefield Director, Marcus Lehto, Disappointed By EA

In a game where fortunes can change rapidly, the recent departure of Marcus Lehto from Electronic Arts (EA) has... Stalingrad | 18. March 2024

In a game where fortunes can change rapidly, the recent departure of Marcus Lehto from Electronic Arts (EA) has sent shockwaves throughout the Battlefield community. Lehto is an experienced gamer in addition to co-creator of the Halo franchise and was commissioned to direct the narrative for the Battlefield series. But his sudden departure–and the consequent shutdown of his studio, Ridgeline Games– have many fans wondering whether the franchise’s storytelling will recover.

The Gut Punch of Layoffs and Studio Closures


Lehto’s departure from EA follows months of layoffs and studio closures across the gaming industry. EA was forced to cut 5% of its workforce in late February – cutting 670 worldwide. The move was driven by a “strategic shift towards sports games, owned IP, and massive online communities,” the company said.

Lehto’s resignation and the subsequent shuttering of Ridgeline Games a day later were undoubtedly collateral damage in this restructuring process. While some Ridgeline employees were absorbed into Ripple Effect (formerly DICE LA), the bulk of the team faced an uncertain future, potentially becoming part of the staggering 8,000 game industry employees laid off in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

Lehto’s Candid Reflections

After these events, Lehto expressed his disappointment and anger on social media. In a tweet on March 15th, he stated that he had “nothing positive to say about EA, my recent departure, and how so many, including my team, are suffering due to the industry sweeping layoffs.” These candid words from a veteran developer with over two decades of experience at companies like Bungie and V1 Interactive carry significant weight and underscore the tumultuous nature of the industry.

The Impact on Battlefield’s Narrative Ambitions

Battlefield 2042 Xbox Game Pass

The departure of Lehto from EA and the disbanding of Ridgeline Games have undoubtedly blown away the Battlefield franchise’s narrative ambitions. Lehto was hired to lead the effort to diversify the series ‘storytelling and character development, which had been gaining momentum in recent years.

With Lehto and the rest of his team absorbed into Ripple Effect, the attention seems to have shifted towards creating a stand-alone battle royale mode for the next Battlefield installment. Although this fits with EA’s stated approach of targeting “vast online communities,” it raises questions about the franchise’s story depth and single-player capabilities.

Road Ahead for Battlefield’s Narrative

Battlefield 2042 Xbox Series X

As Lehto returns to the gaming fold to consider his next move, the Battlefield faithful are left to wonder what his departure means for the franchise’s narrative vision. Will EA redouble its efforts on story and character development or will online multiplayer experiences take over a lot of what EA has been putting out there?

The gaming community has increasingly demanded rich and immersive stories recently, with God of War, The Last of Us, and Red Dead Redemption creating brand new requirements for interactive storytelling. Battlefield’s narrative ambitions – led by Lehto – were intended to take the franchise to those lofty heights – but his departure has left a cloud over those goals.

Moving Forward: Rebalancing Narratives and Online Experiences

As EA recovers from these events, the publisher will have to balance the needs of online multiplayer communities with maintaining the franchise’s narrative arc. Games such as Call of Duty: success: Modern Warfare and Battlefield 1 have shown single-player campaigns can thrive alongside vibrant online communities, offering a balanced and rewarding experience for players.

Gamers will be watching EA’s next move, eagerly anticipating any announcements or developments regarding the future of Battlefield’s storytelling. Whether the mantle is passed to a new visionary or the narrative ambitions are refocused, one thing is certain: Marcus Lehto’s departure will have lasting effects.

In an industry where only change can be trusted, the Battlefield franchise is at a crossroads. Is it going to pull off the kind of storytelling and character creation Lehto envisaged or will it more rely on online multiplayer experiences? We shall see, though one thing is sure: time will tell. the gaming world will be watching eagerly for the next chapter in this particular franchise’s history.