Zach Mumbach, Multiplayer Producer on Battlefield Hardline, recently dropped by the Don’t Revive Me Bro podcast to catch up with community members and talk about the current state of Visceral Games’ cops vs. criminals shooter.
Early on in the discussion, the topic of Hardline’s shrinking population on PC was brought to light, which Mumbach tackled honestly and with a few thoughtful remarks. He shared Visceral’s current game plan to bring Hardline on PC back to life, which begins with the recently announced Community Test Environment.
“Battlefield 4’s got some sweet hot new netcode. It feels really good. Awesome. We actually helped them with that. As soon as our CTE comes out, we’re going to roll that netcode in there and then we’re going to roll it to the main game,” he explained.
“This is a huge part in sort of getting the PC community back into the game. When the game came out, the first few days, we had good numbers on PC. Obviously, people are not playing heavily on PC right know. We know that. We’re not going to abandon PC. We want those PC players.”
Earlier this week, Electronic Arts reported their Q4 FY2015 earnings, leaving out PC sales numbers, but signifying very strong sales on current-generation consoles.
“The easy answer for us is to abandon that platform — ‘Oh, whatever. We’re selling tons on console. We’re great.’ But we’re not going to do that,” Mumbach assured. “The community is on that platform. We really like that platform. It’s an important platform for the company. We just have to figure out how we sort of build back up the interest. I think the first step is CTE.
“I think the first step is to get that netcode in CTE, get it working, and get it into the game. I think that right there is going to be a huge help. I think, at the very least, it will get some of these guys that were playing early on to come back and give us another shot. And then, from there, it’s just about how we react to the feedback in CTE, how we do our tuning based on the feedback in CTE. It’s just about sort of putting the game in the community’s hands and us listening to them about — ‘Look, it’s your game now. We made the game. It’s now the community’s game. What do you want out of this game to make you want to play it more? We’ll do it.'”
Mumbach went on to share his own personal insight as to why PC numbers may have dwindled since launch.
“We do a ton of market research and surveys and all this with the customer before we even make games,” he said. “We knew going into making this game that we were cutting off a certain percentage of Battlefield players that are like, ‘hey, look, nothing against you guys, but we’re into military — we play the military game.’ For whatever reason, that percentage is just higher on PC. The guys that are really into the war simulation and the military stuff, it’s just a higher percentage on PC.”
“But we did know that the expectation wasn’t to do BF4 numbers. The expectation was to do good numbers and we had good numbers on PC for a bit there, in the start, and they sort of tailed off.”
Mumbach wasn’t able to share exactly when Battlefield Hardline’s CTE will go live and to whom it will be open, but we know testing should commence some time this month with one of the new maps from Hardline’s upcoming ‘Criminal Activity’ DLC. The studio also plans to continue with netcode tweaks and weapon tuning, among many other things.
Are you a PC gamer? Did you leave Battlefield Hardline in the dust early on? What would it take to bring you back? We want to hear from you in the comments.
Be sure to check out the full discussion with Visceral Multiplayer Designer Zach Mumbach over on Don’t Revive Me Bro’s official Twitch.tv channel.