Wars come and go, but the war on crime has outlasted all of them. With that in mind, EA and Visceral Games have officially announced that Battlefield Hardline, the next title in the Battlefield franchise, will feature an army of cops against an army of criminals and challenge players to either keep the peace or make a quick (and illegal) buck.
"Keeping the peace" will presumably be a long-term goal rather than a short-term one for SWAT players, since a new leaked trailer for Battlefield Hardline shows a distinct lack of peace both in the story campaign and multiplayer modes. Even the cops themselves aren't averse to the odd bit of crime, as single player protagonist Nick Mendoza is "surrounded by a rogues gallery of crooked cops and colorful criminals."
The trailer for Battlefield Hardline is getting pulled down by EA in a lot of places, but now that it's made its way online (and been partially broken down into gif form), getting a look at it isn't too hard. The game is codenamed "Omaha" in the trailer but frequent references are made to the wider Battlefield franchise by the narrator. The trailer also contains plenty of information on what to expect from both the multiplayer and story modes.
The criminal missions seem to have been largely inspired by the popularity of recent games like Payday 2 and Grand Theft Auto V, which challenge players to set up and then execute a major robbery. These kind of crimes won't be limited to single locations like banks, however; the Hotwire game mode requires players to take on the roles of either cops or car thieves and engage in car chases across huge open environments.
There are also more traditional multiplayer modes like Bloodmoney, which seems to be Battlefield Hardline's Capture the Flag mode, with the flag swapped for a big old pile of cash. Cops and thieves must fight to secure the cash and then return it to their own safehouse. Other multiplayer modes include Rescue, in which the cops must rescue a group of hostages, and Heist, in which players are divided up into teams of bank robbers and police officers: the former must organize a theft, while the latter have to block their escape at all costs.
The story campaign, meanwhile, is inspired by TV crime shows and told in an episodic style, featuring actors from shows like Justified and House of Cards. One of the characters in the story mode appears to be played by Adam J. Harrington, who played Roy Earle in L.A. Noire and is currently voicing Bigby Wolf in Telltale Games' The Wolf Among Us.
The idea of turning a showdown between cops and robbers into the eponymous battlefield is certainly an interesting one, and a potentially cool way of shaking up the series, but it also raises a lot of questions. For starters, are SWAT teams really authorized to destroy entire buildings and lay waste to a city just in order to catch a few thieves? What are the civilians doing while all this is going on? How many bank robbers have the ability to just call in a fighter jet whenever they feel like it? Do these two sides really have equal resources? How often do showdowns between cops and criminals actually escalate to this kind of all-out warfare?
Perhaps Visceral will figure out a way to answer all these questions, or perhaps players will simply have to turn off their brains a little while playing Battlefield Hardline. Either way, we definitely look forward to seeing more of this title at E3.
Battlefield Hardline releases this year for current and last-gen platforms.