David Rutter, FIFA franchise lead and general manager at EA Sports Vancouver, has been appointed as group general manager for EA Studios Europe, EA confirmed today. In his new position based out of Sweden, Rutter is now responsible for managing the prospects of EA-owned studios based in Europe including Battlefield-developer DICE, Criterion Games, the studio behind Battlefront II, and Ghost Games of Need For Speed fame.
The appointment is significant as Rutter is the mastermind behind the rebirth of the flagging FIFA franchise in the late 2000s. He was instrumental in extracting the soccer title as Konami-developed Pro Evolution Soccer’s underwhelming competitor to the behemoth of the sporting genre we know today. More importantly for the accountants over at EA HQ, Rutter had his hand in rolling out the staggeringly lucrative Ultimate Team mode, which accounted for 21% of EA’s global net revenue last year alone.
Reading between the lines, EA’s decision to appoint Rutter may stem from a desire to rejuvenate the output from its European subsidiary studios. Far from the cozy heights of FIFA unwavering success year after year, these studios have rolled out a bevy of controversial titles.
DICE, in particular, has been the doghouse with its latest effort. Battlefield V has culminated in a complete disaster all but in name with successive delays, player outcry, and, more recently, a very public apology coming from general manager Oskar Gabrielson. Whether Battlefield V survives Rutter’s attempts to redress DICE’s waning fortunes is up in the air. But given its current state, it’s arguably already heading in that direction despite repeated promises of fixing the game.
Although unconfirmed, Battlefront II’s recent resurgence of sorts may correlate with Rutter’s involvement and could be a sign of his long term impact on EA output in the region.