Battlefield 4′s reveal trailer ignored what is arguably its primary attraction – the multiplayer – for a 17-minute chunk of bombastic campaign footage. But DICE reckon you can infer more about the game’s online mode from it than you might think. In an interview with Edge, DICE executive producer Patrick Bach said, “If you look at this demo, you can extrapolate a lot of features that you can then translate into either the singleplayer or the multiplayer.” Does that include Total Eclipse of the Heart?
“For us it’s important to grow up a bit and create a great story, a character you care about, where you feel involved in their actions and that’s based on the core idea of the whole game, that we want to move elements of multiplayer into singleplayer. If you’re playing multiplayer, you actually care about the guys in your squad, those are often your friends, they have their personalities, you help them, they help you, and they have their own mindset. Now we need to create a singleplayer that mimics that feeling.”
Wait, do people care about the folks in their multiplayer squad? I tend to play the game as a sociopathic medic, in which the people on my team are nothing but travelling respawns and point-giving bags of defibrillated meat. Is this not normal?
My own major malfunction aside, it’ll be interesting to see what DICE have planned in this regard. Their previous attempts at singleplayer squad bonding – mostly through the Bad Company arm – were filled with scripting, cutscenes and jokey banter. Having a connection emerge naturally through your interactions as a player sounds intriguing, but also something that can completely fall apart as soon as the AI does something weird or glitchy.
“Our goal is to create the perfect Battlefield movie,” Bach continued, “where you do all the things you do in multiplayer at some point, where you have choice, where you have these characters that you care about, that evolves over time. We actually have features that are pulled directly from multiplayer instead of having two separate paths.”
But singleplayer elements – particularly those seen in the demo – may need to rebalanced for online. Asked directly about the “Mirror’s Edge-style running” and thick dust clouds in the video, Bach said, “most of those things will be part of multiplayer,” but admitted that, “if it destroys the multiplayer experience, we will of course tone it down.”
“Dust clouds taking over the whole map could be really cool, but it could also be too much. For us, without spoiling anything, you can see the possibilities we have with the technology and the creativity on the team. We could potentially do all of that. We have this saying ‘fun first’ – even if it looks great, if it’s not fun to play then it’s just a pretty picture. For some people that’s important and cool, but to us it’s just one of the elements of the great experience.”