Reporting from San Francisco, California, Digital Illusions CE took the stage in front of hundreds of gaming outlets at the AMC Metreon to showcase Battlefield 4, the fourth numbered sequel in the Battlefield series, following up 2011’s highly acclaimed Battlefield 3.
Powered by the brand new, meticulously crafted Frostbite 3 engine, we witnessed a nearly 20-minute long demonstration of Battlefield 4’s single player campaign running on the PC titled, “Fishing in Baku.”
You thought Frostbite 2 was pretty? Presenters Patrick Söderlund, creative director, and Patrick Bach, executive producer, explained that with the power of Frostbite 3, ‘nothing is holding us back.’ This time out, there are ‘no excuses.’ Bach detailed the three key pillars that make up DICE’s design philosophy: quality, innovation and passion. But, on a sub-level, DICE also wants Battlefield 4 to feel human, dramatic and believable.
As demonstrated in the single player campaign demo, players will come across a number of dramatic and gripping moments will that suck you right in with a heightened level of realism. Bach says Battlefield 4 is about the people inside this war, and Frostbite 3 does just that: make you believe you are surrounded by real people. He mentioned that this philosophy also extends to the multiplayer, though he didn’t elaborate how exactly this might pan out. Presumably, fellow soldiers will act and look so realistic, you’ll think they’re actually your buddies.
Battlefield 4 looked stunning on the theater screen while showing off some unbelievably huge environments. Many readers will be happy to know that Battlefield 4 ditches the blue tinted visuals for a much more vibrant palette of colors.
After regrouping with his pals, “Wrecker” and “Tombstone squad” are on the run, fighting for their lives as they attempt to extract top priority intel. The first bit of action has you fending off baddies from an old apartment building, using standard weaponry, switching between zoomed optical sights and side-mounted iron sights.
Contrastingly, the fight eventually opens up to a vast and open urban environment in early development. Tall, half-built skyscrapers tower-over in the distance as the men push up to their objective. Here, Battlefield 4’s ‘teamplay’ and multiplayer-esque mechanics reveal themselves in true form. Lead character Wrecker directs teammates in-game, uses vehicles to his advantage in this more sandbox-style environment, destroys buildings using grenade launchers to flush out the enemy, and calls in the help of a friendly chopper to tag enemies on the battlefield and provide fire support.
Attempting to reach extraction atop an unstable building still under construction, things go awry thanks to an unexpected aerial enemy presence. The floor begins to crumble beneath your feet and you’re sent tumbling to the ground beneath. If DICE proved one thing in this short but nail-biting sequence, it’s that they know destruction. It was truly painful to watch as Wrecker was tossed around helplessly and battered by large pieces of falling rubble.
Battlefield 3’s first demo wowed audiences by toppling a building right in front of your eyes. Now, imaging being in that building as it crashes to the ground.
The last two portions of the demo showcased Battlefield 4’s more dramatic moments as you attempt to rescue a trapped squad mate and eventually your entire squad from a drowning car. The display of realistic facial expressions and impressive voice work really helped to immerse oneself in the moment.
Concluding with a slightly deeper look into the dialogue and story, the demo then revealed that Battlefield 4 will be centered around three factions: U.S., Russia, and China. Though it wasn’t clarified, we can most likely expect the same for multiplayer.
Giving the 17-minute playthrough a second and third look, I began to notice that each of the soldiers in Tombstone squad have very unique and distinct personalities from one another – from a straight-faced leader and a seemingly inexperienced rookie, to a more comedic and light-hearted figure. It makes me wonder how much of the Battlefield: Bad Company series’ charm and flare DICE used as inspiration for Battlefield 4’s campaign and if we’ll see the same level of banter and dialogue in this story.
Character development wasn’t something directly mentioned in DICE’s presentation, but it has become more evident the more I look into it.
Throughout the demo, Battlefield 4’s social features were also demonstrated as pop-up notifications appeared, showing a proud DICE general manager Karl-Magnus Troedsson rubbing his achievements and “records” in your face.
We’d love to bring you more multiplayer information, but as it stands, DICE just isn’t ready to reveal what has you most excited.
The Quick Facts
- Powered by Frostbite 3
- Vibrant colors
- Large environments
- ‘Nothing holding us back’
- ‘No excuses’
- ‘What you see is what you play’
- ‘Battlefield 4 is about the people in this war.’
- Pillars of design: quality, innovations and passion
- Pillars of gameplay: human, dramatic, believable
- Experience gritty, dramatic moments
- ‘Unmatched teamplay experience’
- Command your squad in-game
- Multiplayer elements introduced into the single player experience
- Social persistence
- Factions: Russia, China, U.S.
- Releases Fall 2013
What’s your take on DICE’s more ‘dramatic’ approach to Battlefield 4? Let us know in the comments and be sure to keep your sights on MP1st for everything Battlefield 4!
Battlefield 4 releases this fall.