Ultimately, Battlefield 4 will be remembered less for its gameplay and more for its well-publicized failures. Despite the game’s strong foundation, Battlefield 4 came out of the gate with a number of game-breaking bugs, and it quickly became the poster child for the influx of rushed, incomplete games forced onto shelves before they were ready. Three separate groups of investors sued Electronic Arts over Battlefield 4’s botched release, accusing the publisher of false advertising and manipulating stock prices. Eventually, EA and DICE fixed Battlefield 4’s biggest problems, but it’s too little, too late; Battlefield Hardline, the next game in the series, is already on its way.
However, no matter how unfavorably history might regard Battlefield 4’s performance, there’s one area in which DICE continually excels: Easter eggs. Previously, DICE scared gamers with dinosaur sounds and fed players to prehistoric sharks and now, with the holidays quickly approaching, DICE reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out a handful of seasonal cosmetic updates. According to YouTube personality Westie, for a limited time Battlefield 4 players can wear one of four Christmas-themed masks (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, a snowman, or an elf). In addition, some pine trees sport Christmas decorations, and the game’s snowmobile now looks like Santa’s sleigh – and jingles when it moves.
Along with these general updates, DICE also included some shout-outs to the Battlefield 4 community in the latest update. Most notably, gift-wrapped C4 sports tags addressed to “Neebs,” and the explosive has been renamed “Jeep Stuff” and “Possibly Stolen Jeep Stuff” in the menus. That’s a reference to Neebs Gaming’s Jeep Stuff music video, a hip-hop tribute to C4 set to Battlefield 4 gameplay footage. None of these Easter eggs change the way the game actually plays, but seasonally-appropriate cosmetic changes are fun ways to honor the community that has stuck with Battlefield 4 through all its ups and downs.
It’s not all good news, however; these updates are only available in Battlefield 4’s Community Test Environment. Anyone with a premium Battlefield 4 account (including Xbox One and PS4 users) can access the CTE, but the platform itself is PC-only; as Westie explains, updates to the console games cost DICE money, while changes to the CTE are free. For a short-term update like this, it’s simply not worth DICE’s time or money to roll out the changes to console versions.
Charming though they may be, the holiday updates don’t excuse Battlefield 4’s poor launch or long-term problems. DICE CEO Karl Magnus Troedsson all but admitted that the company needs to do better the next time around. Still, small tributes like these – as silly as they are – go a long way towards proving that, despite all appearances, DICE really does care about their community.