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Battlefield 4: Don’t alienate fans by “adding crazy features, crazy changes,” says DICE

Saturday, 19th October 2013 22:29 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Battlefield 4 lands on PC and current-gen consoles week after next, and what better time than now for VG247′s Sam Clay to have a chat with executive producer Patrick Bach regarding the game’s development. Video inside.

While the game has many new features coming with it Battlefield 4 is still at its heart, a military shooter but one in which you can rise in the ranks; decide for yourself how to approach encounters; delve into 64 player matches, and watch as Levolution changes the entire area around you.

It all sounds a rather bit ambitious, but it’s meant to: while DICE likes to shake things up, it also strives to remain true to the core values it set out with from the first Battlefield developed.

“Since I started at DICE I feel we have the same core values, and of course that is both a good thing and a bad thing,” said Bach. We still believe in what we are doing; we still believe that our way of thinking is the right way of thinking when you want to create great, great games.”

With the game shipping just a week before its biggest competitor, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Bach also feels that unlike the head-to-head race between Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 last time out – there is no need to “be a winner” as both are, to the point, two very different games.

“It’s all about tastes or what you prefer. That being said, there are similarities, and yes you want your game to be the number one shooter of course,” he said. “But we also feel everyone’s taste is different when it comes to what they feel is number one. Like movies, dining, etc. There’s not one thing that is the ultimate best.

“So for us, it’s about creating the best Battlefield game that we can ever create. Staying true to our core values; staying true to what we feel is best for the franchise. With Battlefield 3, we set quite a high bar and we know it’s hard to beat that especially since BF3 was in development for such a long time.

“There were things we wanted to introduce to the game and to the franchise without disturbing the core of the game – you don’t want people to feel alienated by crazy features and crazy changes.”

Bach said the majority of the changes in BF4 over BF3 are all under the hood, minus the few tweaks and supplemental changes to make gameplay flow better and more balanced. The main focus this time around has been to make the game more fun to play, deeper, more engaging and more intuitive.

“The biggest changes cannot be seen in trailers or screenshots, but when you pick up the controller – especially with the newer generation consoles. Thanks when you see the changes with BF4,” said Bach.

Bach also said the popularity of BF3 is still strong, and people still playing it everyday, it may not seem that two years have passed since a new addition to the franchise was released. However, Bach says the team felt the need to update the game with BF4, make it better, and take a big step forward in technology and gameplay.

Hopefully, all the hard work will pay off come October 29 when Battlefield 4 becomes available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. It will also be made available on PS4 November 12 in North America and in Europe on November 29.

The Xbox One version will be release in North America on November 19 and in Europe on November 21.

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16 Comments

  1. AmiralPatate

    “Staying true to our core values”

    Serious contender for the joke of the year.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. Lounds

    @1 I don’t know if you played on console or PC beta, but I loved BF4 Beta on PC. Now when I play BF3 it feels dated some how.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. Diingo

    I keep trying to give Battlefield games on consoles a chance… but every time I play I can’t help but realize how empty it feels with only 24 players. It’s just not enough.

    Dice tried to balance it out by making the maps slightly smaller… but they’re barely smaller by comparison to the PC maps. It ends up me running around trying to find someone to only be shot because they’re hiding behind some corner ruble.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. AmiralPatate

    @2
    I played on PC alright. From my experience with the so-called beta, BF4 is a piece of garbage. I used to like DICE and Battlefield, now it’s just a piece of garbage. So I guess they did a pretty good job at not alienating fans.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Legendaryboss

    Emptiness was something obvious in the beta, that said this went from watch list to heavily price dropped purchase, hopefully for christmas.

    If not i can wait.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Dendroball

    @4 I guess you mean that you as a so called ex-fan being disappointed by the Beta (not even the final product in its entirety) is somewhat representative of the opinion of the whole fanbase regarding BF4. I sincerely hope Dice will contact you for the next game and design it all around your personal preferences, this way I’m sure they will have that perfect game on their hands and gain you back as a fan again at the same time.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. AmiralPatate

    @6
    I could argue the opposite of not alienating fans is alienating at least one, and therefore they did a pretty good job at not alienating fans.
    Then again, to judge the “final product in its entirety”, you’d have to pay for Premium and wait a year and a half until they release their final patch and DLC. Because BF3 at release was neither final nor complete, I doubt BF4 will be any different.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. Shokaku

    The ending of this interview is wierd. He is NOT satisfied that BF3 is still popular… wth? If you are making a GOOD or GREAT game it will be played more then 2 years by the gamers… if ur making crappy game u will be forgotten after 4 months.

    After 2 years since BF3 launched ur launching BF4 – number 4 should mean that the game is different and ‘next’ BF… but truth its not. Its still BF3 era with very cool tweaks and fixes (imo). DICE should name BF4 as BF3.5 or make it looks like Bad Company and named in Bad Company, and then the game would be looking much better in gamers eyes then its now with this silly number ’4′.

    Anyway, I do not want to be misunderstood. I played BF4 beta on PC and its great, its still BF3 but those tweaks/fixes/weapons balances feel like different game after 5-10h of playing, I like it much more then BF3 and I’m looking forward to it.

    #8 12 months ago
  9. DSB

    Tech does nothing without design. A game is meant to be played, not watched. They took a weird turn around the Bad Company era, just completely stopped innovating on anything but tech.

    BF3 is good enough, but it just doesn’t have the hook. BF4 brings commander mode back, and that’s lovely, but why take it out? Why not go in the opposite direction and make cooperation even more of a neccessity for players?

    Falling buildings and crashing destroyers are gonna be cool the first 5-7 times you see it, but if the fundamentals of the gameplay don’t feel great, it’s just smoke and mirrors.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. TheWulf

    That’s the siren song of the mainstream — to be as homogeneous as possible and to stay true to the verisimilitude expected by public perceptions. If you challenge that, you’ll meet a torrent of hatred borne of the inability to handle change of any form beyond mild variation. That’s why the mainstream is a constant flow of very subtle iteration with large amounts imitation of what already exists.

    Saints Row IV has been changing itself with every sequel and bringing large amounts of novelty by keeping the series fresh. What Volition also managed to prove is that most people don’t want that — they want exactly the same game over and over again, with mild iteration. And this is why DLC is so effective, because it provides more of the same. Always, always more of the same.

    Of course, Volition has managed to court different audiences with each game by making it different. Which is interesting. So I don’t agree with DICE on that, I just think that you’ll gain as many fans as you lose. I’m not sure there’ll be a net gain or loss, is the thing. So for many developers it’s probably just not worth the effort, as it’s not a work of passion, it’s just a job.

    I think it’s the willingness to change and try dangerous things that actually show the difference between something being a work of passion, and then just being a job. My favourite games have always been works of passion, rather than just the schlock entertainment that the mainstream seems to be drowning in, these days.

    Thankfully, the indie scene reminds me of the ’80s and ’90s mainstream, which was drowning in creativity, imagination, passion, and a drive to create rather than something just being a job in order to get money.

    When I look at certain Kickstarters, I do get that wonderful vibe that people are making to make again. It’s been common lately and that’s made me happy. The Obduction Kickstarter being a return to what Cyan Worlds did so well. They talk about publishers, and how publishers will only publish what exists in the mainstream — because it’s similar, because it’s familiar, because it’s safe — and being completely unwilling to even try something like what Cyan makes.

    Sometimes, it makes me sad to think that we don’t live in the same kind of world any more where Myst could be popular. But then I remind myself… that’s just capitalism and consumerism, that’s the nature of those things. It’s all about greed, it’s all about making the most amount of money for the least amount of effort. It’s about marketing, trickery, conditioning, and things like that. It’s clever, yes, but to me it’s not desirable.

    And I don’t think that the early days were about consumerism and capitalism because it was all so small. The nature of things appear to exist as diametric opposites. When you get too big, you become homogeneous, you become all. When you are small, you are one, and you have identity.

    Of course Battlefield can’t change. It has no identity. It can only iterate.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. KineticCalvaria

    @10, eating thesaurus’ can’t be good for you, ya know.

    #11 12 months ago
  12. Lounds

    #AmiralPatate

    What didn’t you like?, it ran silky smooth on my PC and the map was awesome.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. AmiralPatate

    @12
    To make it brief:
    - It wasn’t stable. It crashed every 30 minutes. There are a ton of bugs, including the return of the insurmountable feet-height fence. I know it’s a “beta”, it still doesn’t fill me with confidence for the “final” game.
    - Graphics weren’t impressive and physics seemed just absent (except for the one scripted event). It looks just like BF3. Which shouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t their many selling point.
    - Said scripted event didn’t feel dynamic, as the building was destroyed with clockwork precision in the first minutes of every game. After that, it’s just a stupid pile of rubble.
    - The U100 has no recoil. Just like the AK12. On the other end, the suppression effect ups bullet dispersion to 11. It becomes hilarious when you and your target are both suppressed.
    - A gazillion meaningless things to unlock, as many unlock tree to go through. Why make it simple when you can make it ludicrously complicated.
    - The UI is heavy . Changing a scope on a rifle shouldn’t take more than two clicks. At least you don’t have to scroll through a list, BF3-style.

    On the upside,

    So, here you have it.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. hitnrun

    It’s hard not to be sad about this, but really, this isn’t such a bad thing.

    The Annual Athleticized War FPS is its own genre now. If you don’t like it, it’s not for you. We don’t write bitter laments over the popularity Madden, do we? (Actually, come to think of it, people did for a good long while.)

    #14 12 months ago
  15. DSB

    @14 “If you don’t like it, it’s not for you”? Deep. But what if I like the genre, and don’t like the game?

    Don’t even get me started on Madden. Back in the 90′s it was fun to play a football game because you knew the technology wasn’t there to make it anything like the real thing.

    It is today, but EA doesn’t really give a fuck. They make Madden games with the same sensibility as they make NBA games or FIFA games. Even though it’s nothing like those sports.

    To make a truly good football game, one that feels like the real thing, I really think you’d have to make it a pause-action RPG.

    Allowing people to stop the action is the only way you’re going to effectively give anyone control over all the millisecond decisions that happen during a football play.

    I actually think that would be amazing. The effectiveness of the blocking could be a roll based on a stat, the likelihood of catches and interceptions would be down to rolls on a stat. You could get critical tackles. Peyton Manning would be Gandalf.

    Barring that you’d need some truly spectacular AI, and I think it’s obvious that the industry as a whole doesn’t give a fuck about that. Probably because it’s expensive and hard to do, but that’s essentially why Madden is a pretty shitty football game.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. JRAtk94

    This is what I like about Bach – he’s a sensible guy. Unlike EA’s advertising madmen, he understands that Battlefield can’t simply topple Call of Duty.

    Good lad.

    #16 12 months ago

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