Nearly a week into Battlefield Hardline’s ongoing multiplayer beta on the PlayStation 4 and PC, fans of the series are beginning to get a good feel for what Visceral has to offer in their take on the popular and long-running military shooter franchise.
It’s clear that thoughts are mixed, however. While some appreciate the Beta’s focus on transportation vehicles, smaller maps, and more intimate game modes, there are those asking, ‘Where is the ‘true’ Battlefield experience – all-out warfare on land, sea, and air, with tanks, attack boats, and jets?’
Last year’s Battlefield 4 offered just that as its core pillars of gameplay. Meanwhile, Hardline’s beta is clearly only a small taste of the game’s complete offerings, but it leaves a lasting first impression regardless. So how will Visceral sell a seemingly smaller Battlefield this Fall that in many ways appears almost scaled down from titles like Battlefield 4?
I asked Visceral lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser this exact question during my trip to EA redwood earlier this month.
“Well, I think ‘small’ is an interesting way to describe it,” he said. “I would say that what we actually have is the full range of the Battlefield experience, as go to the giant maps all the way down to the small maps. So we still want to provide that same range of experiences that Battlefield has to offer. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s smaller, per se. It’s more – I don’t want to say ‘intimate,’ but it’s a little bit more personal on a cops and criminals level.”
According to Sasser, Hardline has it’s own unique character, one that you won’d find in any other Battlefield game, and that is what the studio appears to be banking on when it comes to attracting Battlefeld fans to the title.
“You know, when you’re fighting as soldiers vs. soldiers, it’s a little more anonymous. It’s a little more impersonal,” he explained. “When you get down to it, like Steve [Papoutsis] mentioned earlier, when the cops are calling at the criminals, ‘Drop your weapons,’ and the criminals are like, ‘You’ll never take me alive,’ you get this kind of interplay with a lot of kind of funny, clever moments with this kind of back-and-forth dialogue that I think makes that personality or that inter-personal conflict – brings it closer to home.
“So, I think that’s a really interesting – more interesting way to think about it, to say it’s smaller, because smaller immediately thinks, ‘Oh, it’s only 12-players max and it’s tiny maps.’ No, no, no. It’s none of that. It’s still a full range of the Battlefield experience but it’s a little bit more personal.”
Sasser expressed similar thoughts on Battlefield Hardline’s vehicle offering, saying that “one of the great things about Battlefield’s vehicles is that they have a wide range of vehicles, and we still support that same kind of range [in Hardline].”
“You’re going to have watercraft. You’re going to have landcraft. You’re going to have aircraft. We’re not going to talk about specifically which ones, but we’re going to cover the spectrum.”
If you haven’t yet, be sure to read and watch my Battlefield Hardline preview where I drill Sasser with more questions about Visceral’s spin-off title launching this October 21 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.