One of the most impressive titles on display at E3 this year was the least kept secret: Battlefield 4. EA made it abundantly clear not long after BF3 released that a sequel to their fastest-selling game ever was in the works and confirmed it less than a year later by including beta access to players who pre-ordered Medal of Honor: Warfighter. After unveiling the first ever gameplay footage at GDC in the spring, a lengthy video that focused solely on the single-player campaign, criticisms and negative feedback paved the way for an all-out multiplayer showcase come time for E3.
And developer DICE delivered, with 64 players on stage playing live and a 64-player BF4 LAN on the show floor, including commanders on each end with plenty of extra screens for spectating teammates. It was as much a game as it was an event and EA’s strive for e-sports support with Battlefield 4 was evident. During the summer video games lull we’ve learned a few more tidbits about Battlefield 4 and have a few more questions that still need to be answered.
In an interview with Game Informer, DICE GM Karl Magnus Troedsson revealed that Battlefield 4 will have Kinect features and stresses that they’re being implemented with a purpose, instead of as a marketing gimmick:
“We have a pretty pragmatic view [on the new Kinect]. Instead of just trying to tick all the boxes of features you can do with new hardware, we look at what actually adds value [for] our players. When you look at the kind of games that we build — or Battlefield at least — it is a first-person shooter that is very much about skill. Input is really important. You need to have very precise control over what’s going on, and trying to do something like that with motion control input does not make sense — not if you want to keep the same kind of formula of the game as we [have] now. You’d need to build a different kind of shooter… But there are other places where it will make sense, and we are going to use it for other things in the game, but we haven’t announced exactly what.”
There better not be any voice commands for reloading or throwing grenades a la Halo Anniversary. What Kinect features make sense for the console version of Battlefield outside of the obvious voice/video communication?
Speaking with IGN, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau hinted that the successfully Battlefield Premium program for BF3 would be returning for BF4 but – like Troedsson holding back on the Kinect features – would not reveal details.
“There’s no other shooter on the market that does what Battlefield does. The mix of vehicles and infantry combat with fully destructible environments in very large levels, nobody matches that. Until they do, we have a unique position, and I think we have a great position. From Bad Company to Bad Company 2 to Battlefield 3, we’ve grown that business from 3 million units to 18 million plus. The quality has gotten better. The technology has gotten better. We’ve done new things with the experience. We don’t feel like we’ve reached a barrier that says, ‘oh, we’re out of ideas to innovate.’ I think the idea that in real time, you knock a skyscraper down right into the middle of the level, it completely changes the whole game. You can imagine. And be rest assured that we have more levels like that.”
Clearing up a few questions on Battlefield 4 multiplayer and differences in the game between current and next-gen platforms, DICE multiplayer producer Aleksander GrÃ¸ndal spoke with AusGamers confirmed that the PS3 and Xbox 360 will not feature 64-player multiplayer.
“Yes, we will keep the player numbers that we had the previous time around, which basically means 24 people on the PS3 and Xbox 360. But since we’ve added the commander mode, it will have two additional slots for commanders, so 26 total.”
This is one of the reasons the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were inferior to the PC and a strong example of why these consoles have been dated for sometime. Console gamers looking to upgrade to the PS4 or Xbox One this fall should hold out a few extra weeks for the next-gen version of Battlefield 4 that takes advantage of the power of the Frostbite 3 engine. Lastly, in the vein of teases and unanswered questions, Grondal teased that there will be smaller, infantry focused maps and that cloud support may have a role to play in the game, but wouldn’t go into details.
Battlefield 4 is slated for release on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 29, with PS4 and Xbox One release dates still to be determined.
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