DICE: Most sandbox games are “boring” and “hard to get into”

Monday, 4th April 2011 20:51 GMT By John Callaham

Don’t expect DICE’s Battlefield 3 to be in a sandbox-style at all. Speaking to Edge, DICE executive producer producer Patrick Bach has said campaign-building is all about the straight and narrow.

“I don’t see that as the only way of building games, because then we wouldn’t build campaigns at all,” said Bach, speaking of sandbox dev.

Battlefield 3′s single-player campaign will more closely resemble the more linear type of gameplay made popular by Call of Duty.

Bach added that, while there are good games that have a sandbox theme, “In most cases sandbox games are hardcore, boring, hard to get into and they are not very popular.”

It will be interesting to see how Battlefield 3′s more linear campaign will stack up to whatever Activision has in store for the next, and as-yet unannounced, Call of Duty game.

Both shooters are due out sometime this fall. Meanwhile, a 12 minute trailer for Battlefield 3 will be released on April 17.



  1. YoungZer0

    All i understand is “We’re incapable of delivering a sandbox game, they are boring anyway, and i don’t really understand them at all. Like that one Spider-Man Game … How do you shoot webs?”

    Seriously DICE, shut the fuck up. Are you so insecure of your own game that you have to insult everyone else? You know who also did this? Crytek.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Hunam

    Single player is going to suck then.

    Considering they basically invented mass scale open world warfare, why do they fail so utterly at making a BF single player experience?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    @2: I really liked the Singleplayer of BC2. ._.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Hunam

    BC2 has the worst single player ever.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. xino

    yea…like trash boring GTA 4!

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    If you’re bored then you’re boring. That’s exactly the case with sandbox games. If you have no imagination to put in them, then you’re free to screw yourself over.

    Heard of Minecraft? No? I guess someone of such high AAA pedigree wouldn’t know of a lowly indie like that.

    Really, YoungZer0 said it all. Apparently DICEs strategy going into BF3 will be to be as arrogant as humanly possible, with no consideration for the beating they’ll take if there’s even the slightest bit wrong with their game.

    Which doesn’t bode well, considering their latest efforts in BC2, BC2: V and MoH.

    It’s just extremely stupid, especially when you’re trying to make yourself stand out against the symbol of all that’s wrong with gaming in some peoples eyes, with the CoD series. Apparently they don’t just want to beat CoD and Activision, they want to be them.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Hunam

    Red Faction Guerrilla is the best sandbox game. Just Cause 2 is a close second.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Lounds

    @7 I hated RFG, it killed the RF series completly, fucking THQ.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. DSB

    Yup, did not like RFG myself. But then I also played it on the PC, which was probably my mistake. Didn’t cost more than 2 euro though.

    Just Cause 2, Minecraft, Saints Row 2, ArmA 2. Some even say that GTA IV has gotten fun thanks to mods on the PC, although I can’t be arsed to check when the others are fun straight out of the box.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Lounds

    @9 I was hooked on the steam videos that kept getting uploaded and pre-orded it only to be shocked at how crap it was, the game is designed for consoles, it was a really bad port to pc.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. LOLshock94

    bad company one was the best sandbox game

    #11 4 years ago
  12. YoungZer0

    @8: Guess you missed Red Faction 2.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Erthazus

    @7, i’m sorry, but RFG sucks huge ass and as Lounds said it killed red Faction series COMPLETELY.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. pukem0n

    all he is saying is, they gonna make a cod like campaign.
    that wasnt a sandbox game at all if i remember correctly…

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Gekidami

    They dont really need to say it, off the footage they’ve already released, its obvious the campaign is going to be very linear and scripted.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Old MacDonald

    Have they begun hiring idiots at Dice? Must have happened after the EA takeover.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. DSB

    @10 Worth keeping in mind that a lot of people who got it on console loved it. So it is probably just a game that wasn’t meant to be on PC.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Yoshi

    I’ve really loved DICE ever since BF2 but they are making it very hard to defend them with all this bullshit talk of theirs :/

    #18 4 years ago
  19. The1stMJC

    I like when developers make games and don’t talk. Seems now devs only speak to trash on something or websites only report when devs trash.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Hunam

    RFG is all sorts of wonky on PC, it was a terrible, woeful port. If you don’t like the game because you bought it on the PC I have no defence which to level, it was bad. Super bad possibly.

    But when it works, you get in robots and walk through buildings. Showing them who the fuck is boss.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. YoungZer0

    @20: You can do that on PC too. It just wasn’t a very good game. I really disliked the art-direction and storyline.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Naaame

    Wow why do DICE keep talking trash about other genres/developers…

    #22 4 years ago
  23. OrbitMonkey

    I don’t care that the sp won’t be sand box, just deliver a well crafted military story, that isn’t trying to be. A James bond film & I’ll be happy. I mean the mp is going to be pretty much sandbox right?
    I am wondering what games this guy is trash talking about though? Guess he won’t be getting Skyrim huh?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Pokeh

    DICE are starting to wear away at my patience.

    Sandbox games that are good – and heck, better than anything DICE have ever put out: Borderlands, Saints Row, Crackdown, GTA (before IV), Oblivion, Fallout, Read Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed, Prototype, Infamous.

    Did I miss any?

    #24 4 years ago
  25. freedoms_stain

    @24, did you mistake the word “most” for “all”?

    #25 4 years ago
  26. DSB

    @25 Still isn’t nearly true though. The guy is defending making a corridor shooter. Not that he needs to, because obviously it’s not about form, it’s about substance, but he seemingly wants to take that stab anyway. It does seem kinda insecure and unneccesary.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. HighWindXIX

    So when he says “sand-box,” is he referring specifically to open world games ala GTA or Infamous or is go so far as to say that BF3 will be a straight line? Let’s take Crysis for instance. The campaign is fairly straight forward but there’s still plenty of approaches to every encounter. Unlike say CoD or MoH. If he’s saying its like CoD, then no thank you! If its more along the lines of Crysis, then sign me up!!

    #27 4 years ago
  28. sakebomb

    Minecraft is the only true sandbox games mentioned. All the other games
    “borderlands, gta, assassins creed” are open world games.
    Sandbox games can be boring If the player is not into
    Complete freedom. Open world games give you direction, objectives.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. UuBuU

    Yep, sandbox games are so boring, unpopular and hard to get into it’s no wonder Rockstar went out of business. Oh wait.

    Regarding the confusion between “open-world” and “sandbox” I think people have a tendency to over-analyse these terms far too much and to try and separate them into different entities.

    Loosely defined, I would say open-world allows you to go where you want (within reason) and sandbox allows you to do what you want (within reason). Both are pretty much synonymous in games like GTA.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. Christopher Jack

    I agree with him, let’s only stick with the most overrated & flooded genre, the first person shooters.

    Let the ‘hardcore, boring, hard to get into’ games like GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Far Cry, Mercenaries, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Saints Row, inFamous, Prototype, Borderlands, Assassins Creed, Crackdown, Fable & heck, even Pokemon & every other single nonlinear game die.

    Seriously though, non linear gameplay in a sandbox environment will always be home to my favourite games, we just need more RPGs doing this.

    Sandbox & free roam are exactly the same thing, If you want to nitpick you can make up your own definition but who gives a flying fuck? They’re both labeled under Open World.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. Gadzooks!

    Quite dissapointed to hear this from DICE. I thought they were going to beat COD by delivering something different, not a clone.

    I loved the open approach to levels in BF:BC1. Not truly openworld but close enough, and it still managed a superb story.

    I’ve not got round to BF:BC2 yet, but I hear the campaign is a pale shadow of BC1.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. DrDamn

    Yep DICE actually have some pedigree in what he is talking about – BFBC1 has a great sandbox-like structure to the levels and it’s all done very well. I think the key quote in the whole lot of that is this …

    “they are not very popular”

    That’s really the crux. With BFBC1 they did take this approach, the game was great but didn’t sell as well as they might have wanted. Fast forward to BFBC2 – they simply look at the most popular game in the genre (CoD) and try and emulate that for the SP campaign. Then the stupid buying public lap it up and sales double. It’s all your fault you bastards!

    #32 4 years ago
  33. thefaulkness

    I disagree but only to a certain extent
    I love sandbox structures as the idea that you can explore everything and you feel like you are playing in a living game environment but I dont like endless trudging back and forth to get to missions (which is the only thing I didnt like about Just cause 2 because the island is so big)
    I like linear structures in games because I feel uncomfortable with the huge amount of free choice that games give and I feel like I am not getting a full experience and im missing out on things.
    but open world games ”are not very popular?”

    #33 4 years ago

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