These are trying times for just about any video game franchise aspiring to to a blend of single player and online gameplay. There was a time when a game like Battlefield Hardline - coming from Visceral Games, and leaving the typical setting of the series behind - would have been pressured to live up to the Battlefield name. But after the troubled launch of Battlefield 4, it's being pressured to restore it.
On one hand, that means promising to avoid the same mistakes of their predecessors; but it also means growing a brand new, unique branch onto the franchise as a whole. Visceral is looking to address the latter by crafting a single player experience that strays away from the linear missions of past Battlefield campaigns, but avoiding the bullet corridors of 'roller coaster' games like Call of Duty.
Stepping into the role of new detective Nick Mendoza, players will set out to take on the underworld of Miami, Florida. With partner Khai Minh Dao (seen in the trailer above), Mendoza will follow drug money from dealers to kingpins, and find that plenty of both exist on each side of the law. As the trailer shows, there will be plenty of visually-impressive gunfights to keep players from forgetting they're playing a Battlefield experience.
However, the developers have spoken in the past about the shift from military to police force being more than just a surface distinction. Police officers can't "just shoot everybody," for instance, meaning much of the engagement will apparently come as a result of choice and tactical decision-making. How that will be fleshed out in the campaign is something not yet revealed... but we would wager there will still be more shooting required than most police forces would hope for.
From the decision to adopt TV language and presentation, it's clear Visceral is looking to fuse the gameplay and polish of Battlefield gameplay with the grittier, more adult world of police drama. They aren't the only developer looking to blur the line between video games and more conventional entertainment, but attempting that feat with one of EA's biggest brands is a risk. Visceral has made their name by finding mainstream success, though, so EA has clearly been convinced it's an experiment worth conducting.
How high on your list of anticipated gamed is Hardline? Are you more interested in Visceral's scripted singleplayer story, or is it the chance to hope into online multiplayer and play the bad guy that has your attention? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Battlefield Hardline will release in March 2015 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
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