We were in Sweden last week to look at the latest title Battlefield title from DICE and EA, and we had the chance to catch up with producers Patrick Bach and Gordon Van Dyke. We started by asking them what the studio had learned from its previous Battlefield offerings…Gordon Van Dyke: What we learned with 1943 was that a lot of people had different opinions of what Battlefield was. What are those core elements that really attached people to it, and made it – for them – resonate Battlefield? It was about Battlefield moments; the action and the crazy stuff that can happen when you combine it in this open-world environment. You added vehicles, you have soldier combat, you have infantry combat, and then we threw in destruction. Those elements are really core together, and they just made Battlefield.How do you make sure what things shouldn’t be destroyed? We’ve really focused on that, and it’s just about – what makes it less fun? That’s a key thing to go back to. It’s like, okay, we could have everything get destroyed, but is that fun? How would a person feel? Would it take away from their fun? Maybe it’s cool the first couple of times that you see it, but then, after that, it starts to become more of a nuisance.
Patrick Bach: Our biggest goal with the campaign was actually to improve the quality of the campaign rather than try to add gimmicks or add features to it that could risk the quality of the campaign. Our goal was to make a solid, ten-hour, high-quality campaign, with everything that Battlefield has to offer, focusing on vehicles, destruction, variety, with visuals and also gameplay, making sure that you never have a boring minute.The hard part with building a single-player campaign for a Battlefield game is, of course, that the game’s roots are in multiplayer. The sandbox gameplay with vehicles, we add the destruction from Bad Company 1, and all of these ingredients create a different backdrop to single-player than any other shooter. What you want to do is you want to use that DNA that is Battlefield as a multiplayer game, and translate that into a dramatic storytelling element in a single-player game.
GVD: The design of the single-player is really… even though it feels like you could throw in co-op there, it didn’t work out that way. It is something that DICE is thinking about because, like you said, it almost screams it. It almost has a knife at our throat! [Laughs]When we do something, we try to be amazing at it, or really try to revolutionise it, or take it to the next level, and then that sometimes puts you in a position where you look for things that are too good and you talk yourself out of it. I can’t speak for those guys because I wasn’t working with the single-player team as closely as that – I was more with the multiplayer. I do know it’s something that has been talked about, but it’s not something that we were able to get into this version of the game. But I wouldn’t rule it out.
PB: The environments change visually and also changing the objectives you have – the single-player objectives change all the time. That, together, with the opening up and closing in f the environments all the time gives you variety over the ten-hours the campaign lasts for.The most reasonable country in the world to have an army to match the US army, which is kind of the balance you want in a Battlefield game – you want two equal armies to fight each other. You don’t want the offset in balance, where you have ten versus five. You want ten versus ten. They need to have the same equipment – equivalent equipment – and Russia is the country in the world that can do this, at the moment. You look at the TV and you see Russia’s negotiating with many South American countries on building bases there; there is something there that kind of attracted us in what could possibly turn into a new kind of Berlin Wall, but in South America.
GVD: Four game modes. Squad Rush, the one that was revealed today, and that’s infantry only as well, so completely focused. We have pretty awesome infantry combat! We have pretty good soldier-on-soldier combat, and we really wanted to have a game mode that kinda catered to that and showed Battlefield in a slightly different way, but still be attached to something that is very specific to Battlefield now, which is the new de-facto game mode alongside Conquest is Rush. Those two resonate Battlefield really well now, so we wanted to give them a Rush game mode that was smaller and objective based, and you really knew what you had to do because you’re either attacking or you’re defending in your group of four, and you want to just devastate that other team. [Laughs]