Battlefield 4 gameplay: war never looked so lovely

Wednesday, 27th March 2013 06:00 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Battlefield 4 is big. So big, in fact, that EA had to rent out the Metreon Theater in San Francisco to show it on a massive movie screen. What Steph Nunneley saw played out like a short film.

Bullets. Sweat. Toppling buildings. Blood. An amputation. Death. This, sir, is Battlefield 4.

Frostbite 3 is gorgeous. Faces are more realistic, the lighting is more natural. Destruction is more devastating. Water is more fluid. Dust particles look better running in the engine than in real-life. DICE looks to be shooting for photo-realism this time out – that was certainly the impression I got from watching BF4 being played on the big screen in San Francisco tonight.

But it was still Battlefield at its core. Other than the impressive graphics, rendering and “shiny” -nothing truly new was shown tonight. That’s how EA wanted it. Multiplayer wasn’t shown, with DICE focusing on single-player.

We were shown the gameplay demo you see above, played on PC with an Xbox 360 controller. It didn’t look scripted, as we caught a glitch or two in there – but it was obviously a well practiced demo. You can’t rightly die on a movie screen in a theater packed with journalists.

Still, it was an interesting presentation, as was the one I saw of Battlefield 3 in 2011.

According to EA Games vice-president Patrick Soderlund, Battlefield 4 signals a new era in interactive entertainment.

“We helped define multiplayer for the FPS genre, and today, we are still passionate about what defining gaming really is,” he said after the presentation was over.

“With a new class of technology at our fingertips, it is never a better time to be a game developer. We build Frostbite 3 to be state of the art – a world class engine that is more powerful than anything we have every created for. It is apiece of technology that really challenges us to use new ideas, iterated and create new ways to entertain people.

“The power of Frostbite leaves us with no excuses. There is really nothing holding us back any more. As you all know, the best games out there are not about polygons or shaders – it is the emotional connections we make with players.

“Technology has helped us become better storytellers. With BF4 we are creating experiences which are dramatic, believable. The stress of the moment, the feel of imminent danger. The connection you have to the characters. It is all real, and very human.”

Executive producer for Battlefield 4, Patrick Bach, said you’ll play what you see. The story is not about the tech, but the concept of human interaction – something more human, dramatic and believable that combines elements from the multiplayer. Tonight was just a slice of what is coming with the single-player.

Yes, the game is about war – but it is also about the people inside it and the drama arising from the player’s experiences. For the first time in the series, it will also contain elements of social persistence to increase re-play value – again, with dramatic moments and making you “feel” as though you are in a warzone.

“We are asking you, as a player to participate in these dramatic movements,” said Bach. “Movies always create believable scenes. We too want you to feel you are really there.

“BF4 is a seminal moment for the series. We will be bringing more of the dynamic moments from the multiplayer into the single-player. It is a directed gaming experience, but it much more open – just like our multiplayer.

“We also increased the depth by being able to direct your squad mates, use vehicles and destruction, and huge environments that give you more tactical choice. We will have a lot more to tell you and show you as the year goes on.”

So, there it is. Battlefield 4. Prettier. More explosions. Destructible environments. Shooting. Driving. Trying to survive a barrage of bullets to the chest. Drama. And a security man in the wrong place at the right time.

I really do hope we get a mini-game involving his fate.

Battlefield 4 is out this fall on Origin, PC, PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360. You can pre-order here for current-gen offerings.

Stephany attended the BF4 cocktail party after the viewing for approximately 15 minutes. There were plenty of delicious looking finger food and libations on offer, but she did not partake.



  1. A Zombie Riot

    Looks Great! Battlefield 3 was very pretty, and this is someone who played it on the Xbox 360.

    I can’t wait to see how this looks in comparison on the next-gen consoles. I mean, Battlefield 3 alone was gorgeous on consoles…. consoles that are nearly 8 years old (the 360, anyways). I might consider getting this as I still enjoy playing a match or two from time to time on Battlefield 3.

    Also, why didn’t you partake in the delicious looking finger-food, Stephany?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. mathare92

    The Bad Company vibe is quite obvious. And it is very, very welcome.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    That really is seriously good-looking.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Ajsman

    How about making a working net code for a change so the hitbox works like it should?

    Or removing that ridiculous random spread from MP just to lower the skill cap. Does everyone really have to be good in everything?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ActionGameKing

    The character interaction is a step up from BF3 I’d say.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. fearmonkey

    gorgeous game..Excited to see what the other games using the engine will look like.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Dragon246

    Do you expect this to be better looking than BF3 on consoles? I know what you have probably seen the PC version, just asking for opinion :)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Ali

    Loved the article Pat, but it is the same old crap of being put into an American soldier’s boots and following orders without questioning them, endless of bombings, AlQaeda/Russians and pretty much what you have been seeing in CoD.

    That’s said, the campaign structure seems more solid than any other BF out there. Oh … and we get to go to China. That’s pretty much the farthest we go there.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. ActionGameKing

    @8 True. Escaping linear story-telling in FPS’s is a problem that will be around for a while I believe. The closest I’ve seen to true,emergent gameplay is the DayZ Mod, you should check that out.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dave Cook

    Looks lovely but ‘literally’ goes further down the corridor route. I still want a return to the open fun of Bad Company 2. This already appears the be Battlefield 3 with better visuals. That’s not innovation. At all.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m sure it’s a riot to play but if next-gen is just about better imagery and nothing more then it can just do one.

    Case and point: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 – a poor game wrapped in rather pretty CryEngine 3 visuals. Doesn’t matter how it looks it’s still weak from a gameplay perspective

    Still, no one can deny this looks visually stunning.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GwynbleiddiuM

    This has Omar (Michael K. Williams) auto win in my book. Visuals are lovely, we have to say if gameplay and story can live up to it. :D

    thanks Steph.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. roadkill


    #12 2 years ago
  13. Edo

    Sure,it looks good,but was there any doubt?It’s a damn shame they are not making anything else besides military shooters,cause I would really like to see Mirror’s Edge 2…but then again knowing EA maybe it’s for the best if it doesn’t happen.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. loki

    EA can make beautiful commercials. The situation is exactly as BF3. Beautiful video and cries of joy mindless gamers (like Stephany) and quite boring COD-like SP. Visuals place looks very good. But face animation really bad, overall quality of the textures not very good.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. harr0w

    Looks pretty nice. Lighting, textures upped since 3. There’s only really one way they can go as far as story is concerned and thats up. No massive leap but looks pretty good. And I won’t have to upgrade to play the damn thing which is always a plus. And the console posse will be wetting themselves because there will get something comparable so win win I guess. Would of preferred to see multiplayer improvements instead butvyu can’t have everything.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DrDamn

    Bad Company 2 was already going down the try and be CoD corridor set piece route. Bad Company 1 on the other hand, that SP campaign was open and fantastic. You could just approach each area how you wanted.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. blackdreamhunk

    Battlefield 4: Official 17 Minutes “Fishing in Baku” Gameplay Reveal

    #17 2 years ago

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