With no mainline Battlefield title set for 2015, it falls to the police-based Battlefield Hardline and the much-anticipated Star Wars Battlefront to make sure that fans don't forget about the series in the meantime — and, since Battlefront isn't set to hit shelves until the fall, Hardline is EA's big FPS hope for the majority of the year.
To that end, it's clear that everything possible is being done to make sure that Hardline makes up for the poor experience that many fans had with Battlefield 4. To that end, EA and Visceral Games are launching a broad community feedback program called 'Game Changers', which they hope will help steer development in the right direction.
Selected participants of the 'Game Changers' program have been invited to spend time looking in on the progress being made on Hardline, testing the game out at various stages over the course of its development. Speaking to GameSpot, senior producer Scott Probst declared that the studio had received 'very, very clear feedback' on the good and the bad of the game.
It's a move that seems very sensible in the current climate of the industry. Notable members of any game's fanbase — particularly YouTubers — can have an enormous impact on the general consensus of thought that surrounds a particular title. These are players who know the game like the back of their hand, and have a platform that ensures that their opinions can reach a broad audience.
Taking on those opinions while a game is still in development seems far preferable to having to withstand them once the finished product is in the hands of its audience. We've seen major damage control to fan backlash regarding incidents like the botched launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Ubisoft's frustrating end to 2014, and the outcome is rarely pretty.
Reports last year suggested that the Battlefield brand might be 'tarnished', and for a series that was recently thought of as the only real competitor to Call of Duty, that's far from good news. Sledgehammer Games took stock of what was good and bad about Call of Duty, and critical response to last year's Advanced Warfare would suggest that their strategy paid off.
It seems that EA and Visceral Games are approaching Battlefield Hardline with a similar tact, and hopefully that will mean that the finished product will be of similarly high quality. With an open beta set to begin today, we'll soon have a clearer picture of what to expect from one of the first big releases of 2015.
Battlefield Hardline is set to release on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC on March 17, 2015.