Electronic Arts took to the AMC Metreon theater in San Francisco last week to unveil the very first next-gen game by Swedish developer DICE to the gaming press. As expected, the 17 minutes of Battlefield 4 gameplay footage presented offered impressive visuals and animations, fit for bridging the gap to the next generation of gaming hardware.
Built off of the improved Frostbite 2 engine – dubbed Frostbite 3 to indicate that it’s really next-gen ready – EA opted to only showcase a segment of Battlefield 4’s single-player campaign and reactions from attendees were mixed.
Battlefield 3 was criticized for its linear, forgettable campaign that felt disconnected to the main game longtime fans cared about most: the multiplayer. EA’s objective in introducing its successor was to use the single-player to highlight a stronger narrative with fleshed out characters, while also showcasing how some of the multiplayer features found their way into the campaign, from ordering squad mates to using vehicles in micro sandboxes.
Despite looking great, the actual gameplay felt like more of the same. Move forward on the path, shoot loads of people, press ‘F’ to do this or that – not coinciding with the “new era in interactive entertainment” EA’s top brass kept touting. With Battlefield 3 already offering a next-gen-Frostbite 2 powered experience, in a modern setting, Battlefield 4 needed to show something new and different. And it didn’t. Add the fact that instead of improving on BF3’s co-op, the option was dropped entirely, and Battlefield 4 is off to a curious start on the PR front.
So, while we await the unveil of what will keep players online and buying DLC, we can talk about when the game is coming out. We’ve known since the Medal of Honor: Warfighter pre-orders that the Battlefield 4 beta would be out by this fall, and knowing EA’s goals in getting out shooters annually to compete with Call of Duty, it’s been safe to assume since the get-go that their next flagship shooter would be out before the year’s out.
The PlayStation 4 is releasing this holiday season but we do not know when the next-gen Xbox is releasing. We do know that Battlefield 4 is coming to the PS3 and Xbox 360 however, and according to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 blog, it’s release date is set for October 29th. By comparison, Battlefield 3 released October 25th, 2011, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter on October 23, 2012, so the 29th is the best guess for BF4’s launch and it does fall on a Tuesday.
The blog entry has since been edited, but if BF4 is hoping to release across the Xbox platforms on the same date – and if Microsoft is aiming to release the “Xbox 720” before Sony releases the PS4, it’s not unlikely that the new Xbox could release on that same date and that Battlefield 4 is an Xbox 720 launch title.
While there’s nothing but speculation backing this theory, rumors that Electronic Arts has worked a partnership with Microsoft for timed exclusivity on upcoming releases when it comes to DLC and the like. If Microsoft were to host an event this month to unveil the next Xbox, the rumors pointed towards EA saving the unveils for Battlefield 4 and Respawn’s new game for that event. But it’s now April and there’s no word on such an event. It is being saved for E3?
Battlefield 4 releases this fall for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and (likely) the next-gen Xbox.
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