DICE LA, the studio that’s making a mystery mode for Battlefield 2042, is now called Ripple Effect Studios. Along with collaborating with DICE on Battlefield, Ripple Effect is hiring for its own unannounced project.
The new name makes a lot of sense, not in the way it’s officially meant (“even the smallest idea can change the world”), but because Ripple Effect as a studio has had a wave-like character, shapeshifting, dividing, and once temporarily disappearing under the surface before reappearing.
Its history goes all the way back to 1995, when DreamWorks Interactive was formed. Among other games, DreamWorks Interactive produced the first Medal of Honor, which EA published before later buying the studio and renaming it EA Los Angeles. As EA Los Angeles, the developer made Clive Barker’s Undying, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, some Command & Conquer games (EA closed Westwood in 2003 and consolidated what was left of it into EA LA), and more Medal of Honor games and expansions. In 2010, EA LA was renamed Danger Close Games and dedicated solely to rebooting the Medal of Honor series. That didn’t go as well as hoped, and Danger Close was shuttered after releasing Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
You could end the DreamWorks Interactive/EA Los Angeles/Danger Close history there, but it wouldn’t quite tell the full story. Its lineage continued when some of the senior managers from Danger Close formed DICE LA in 2013. Christian Grass, one of the development directors on the Medal of Honor reboots, was one of those who made the jump. He became general manager of DICE LA, and will continue to lead the studio now that it’s called Ripple Effect. Also in a lead role is Respawn Entertainment co-founder Vince Zampella, who started overseeing DICE LA in January 2020.
That’s its own interesting ripple: Zampella helped lead development of 2002’s Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, which was published by EA but not developed by EA Los Angeles. After that, he co-founded Infinity Ward and started the Call of Duty series, and then in 2010 fell out with Activision and co-founded Respawn, which was bought by EA in 2017 and recently put out a Medal of Honor VR game. Full circle! (Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond was not very good, sadly.)
The name change and unannounced game project were both expected developments, as Zampella said they were happening in 2020. It does represent a major pivot for the studio, though. When DICE LA was founded, the studio manager at the time told IGN that it was “an extra floor in Stockholm conveniently located in Los Angeles”—a part of DICE, not its own thing. Now, Grass says that the studio has developed its “own way of doing things” and plans to grow while it establishes its own identity.
We don’t know anything about the unannounced game Ripple Effect is working on, but we have heard a little about its secret Battlefield 2042 mode. EA describes it as a “love letter” to fans of the Battlefield series, and it’s going to be revealed at EA Play Live on July 22. According to one rumor, it’s a sandbox mode featuring maps, weapons, and vehicles from throughout Battlefield history.
Grass and Zampella will both appear on an EA livestream called The Future of FPS this Thursday, July 8, during which EA says they’ll “drop hints” about Ripple Effect’s Battlefield 2042 mode. That’ll air at 10 am Pacific on EA’s Twitch channel.
On its website, Ripple Effect is currently hiring artists, designers, and engineers.