Battlefield: Hardline is Justified, not The Wire

Friday, 20 June 2014 03:52 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Battlefield: Hardline developer Visceral Games will “just kind of avoid” exploring the darkest aspects of crime.


Battlefield: Hardline treads warily around some pretty controversial subject matter: the militarisation of police. In the current international political climate, it could provide some interesting commentary – but Visceral Games has chosen not to take that approach.

In fact, creative director Ian Milham told Kotaku that Hardline is angled more towards providing pure entertainment.

“We’re trying to make a TV cop drama more than we are a realistic simulation,” he said.

“I would say [our story] is more like the show Justified, something like that. Purely fictional and character based.”

That said, some of Hardline’s content will draw inspiration from real crimes – but Milham said Visceral isn’t “interested in anything too dark in the criminal story”, and will avoid putting players in situations where they won’t want to do what the game asks them to do.

With such a prime opportunity to engage with real world issues, it’s hard not to wonder why Visceral didn’t just take the plunge and do so. Milham said the team thought about it but didn’t feel it could do justice to the subject matter with the kind of game it’s making

“What you don’t want to do is either give no or kind of muddy context to issues of real weight or moralism about stuff. So to tell the truth we just kind of avoid it,” he said, describing Hardline as “a clumsy medium” to give such matters “the attention they deserve”.

But other games might do it, Milham added, saying that while Hardline is the Justified of crime dramas, another developer might one day make The Wire.

Battlefield: Hardline is due on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in October. Hit the link above for more lengthy discussion of Hardline’s position within the media and real world debates.