If all aspects of the Battlefield series were going perfectly according to plan, the developers of Battlefield Hardline would still have a difficult task ahead of them; not only is Visceral Games trying to put their own spin on the franchise as opposed to DICE, but doing so in a new environment and backdrop as well. But as those who have followed the Battlefield series lately know, things haven’t been going according to plan. And that means even more pressure than usual when Hardline hits release, now confirmed to be taking place on March 17, 2015.
Though confidence in the franchise name may be at its lowest point in years – with DICE stating they know just how much they’ve lost player trust – you can’t say that Visceral is playing it safe. Shifting the modern combat action to an urban setting, and substituting police and criminals for opposing soldiers has all the potential to to take what Battlefield players expect, and still offer a few surprises.
The release date for Hardline is also helping the game find as much success as possible, keeping it safely away from the Holiday window in which Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare takes its own gameplay and rollercoaster narrative to next-gen consoles. But it seems that the top priority for both EA and Visceral is simply launching a game that works: a promise the Hardline devs have made openly, along with detailing the multiplayer modes and maps available at launch.
But with all the attention on multiplayer content and online support, it’s worth pointing out that it’s Hardline‘s approach to a singleplayer story that seems a point of particular promise. And there may be just as many players leaping into the criminal underworld of Miami as the online matchmaking.
In a crime drama filled single player story, Miami is embroiled in a drug war and officer Nick Mendoza has just made detective. Alongside his partner, veteran detective Khai Minh Dao, he follows the drug supply chain from the streets to the source. In a series of increasingly off-the-books cases the two detectives come to realize that power and corruption can affect both sides of the law.
In multiplayer, the world is simple. You’re on one side of the law or the other — a baton or bat, stun gun or rifle, armored police truck or powerful muscle cars. But either way, teamwork is going to be essential if you’re going to want to pull off that perfect heist or big time bust in this new take on Battlefield multiplayer.
There’s no question that Visceral has a proven record when it comes to story-driven experiences, and while the campaign may not be the biggest selling factor for the Battlefield series, there’s no way of knowing just what the studio has in store. Does the heightened emphasis on the game’s multiplayer mean the singleplayer campaign will be given a lesser share of attention? Or will Visceral look to it as another chance to offer a new experience under the Battlefield banner?
Those questions and more will be answered when Hardline is released, and it can’t be overstated: delivering a fully-functioning multiplayer will most certainly be needed if Visceral, EA, and DICE hope to start winning back those fans who have begun to lose faith in the brand. That’s not a task any developer would volunteer for, so for everyone’s sake, we hope Hardline can get off on the right foot.
Battlefield Hardline will release March 17, 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: Battlefield Blog