Battlefield 4 would've been great, if only those bugs hadn't gotten in the way. The game, as initially released, was fundamentally broken. Over time, DICE cleared up practically all of the game's most pressing issues, but the damage was done: Battlefield 4 didn't suffer in the marketplace, but the brand was irrevocably tarnished.
That's why Visceral Games is taking extra care to make sure that Battlefield Hardline doesn't suffer from Battlefield 4's mistakes. Early in development, Visceral started soliciting select fans' opinions, incorporating this feedback into the game's ongoing production process. A multiplayer beta earlier this winter featured over six million players, and was extended when Visceral realized they needed more information to make Battlefield Hardline the best adrenaline-pumping, cops-versus-robber shooter possible.
Or, at least, Visceral says they're listening. Maybe this is all talk; after all, it wouldn't be the first time that developers quickly deployed some PR spin to help sell a controversial product. But both Visceral and Electronic Arts have a lot riding on Battlefield Hardline, and they want gamers to know that they're taking players' feedback seriously. Case in point: on the eve of Battlefield Hardline's release, Visceral has released a list of changes that they've made to the game since the beta ended last February.
Visceral is quick to note that "none of these are wide-sweeping or drastic changes – all of them are tuning changes," and that gamers can "expect the same fun experience you had in the Beta, but even better balanced." True to their word, most of Visceral's adjustments are focused on the game's weaponry: damage and recoil reductions for the RO933 carbine, a shorter one-hit-kill range and higher fire rate and recoil settings for the 870 Magnum, and so on. Additionally, a few weapons (the G36C, M416, M/45, and UMP) were swapped between cops and criminals.
Elements of Battlefield Hardline's metagame were also adjusted as a result of the beta. Rank progression has been slowed by 50% and goodie-containing Battlepacks cost more in-game cash (presumably, their real-world price will stay the same). It also takes more kills to receive the weapon license and gold camo items.
Not everyone is going to be happy with these changes, and Visceral even admits that "some of the changes [made during beta] were highly controversial." Still, the studio remains adamant that they've got gamers' best interests at heart. Battlefield Hardline has already proved itself with regard to fan service; if Visceral can keep the game balanced and stable, particularly on release day, Battlefield might return to its lofty position as one of the best multiplayer shooters on the market. We'll find out soon enough.
Battlefield Hardline will launch on March 17, 2015 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC.
Source: Visceral Games