The stories that came out of that sounded like fractured studio leadership which is absolutely killer. If the team doesn’t have confidence in leadership or executives don’t have confidence in leadership you’re boned. If you get it from both sides it’s killer.
EA was trying to spin up new studios and shift the culture of a crumbling existing one and given the burden of a $150m+ budget and their most valuable license it makes a lot of sense to pull the plug rather than ship something noncompetitive at twice the intended budget and years late.
DICE is EA’s crown jewel studio and while they always seem to ship a few months premature they were thought to be a safe bet.
Respawn’s track record so far is on-time and high-quality at relatively low-budget so I think they made a confident pitch right before Titanfall 2 launched. I did some interviews for this game a year ago and it sounded like it was just exiting preproduction so my read is that they weren’t too early.