SAN FRANCISCO, California -- A lot has changed in the shooter genre since Electronic Arts-owned DICE first unleashed Battlefield: Bad Company on gamers. Activision and Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has catapulted to the top of the shooter genre, generating over $1 billion along the way. Patrick Bach, senior producer on Battlefield: Bad Company 2, talks about the evolution of the military shooter and how fans have influenced the shape of this sequel in this exclusive interview.
Also check out our interview with Battlefield's Executive Producer Karl-Magnus Troedsson
How has the game engine tech advanced since the first game and how does that impact the game?
The Frostbite engine was build from the ground up for Battlefield Bad Company 1 and was focused on delivering a true next gen Battlefield experience on all the most powerful platforms. Since it was the first game on the technology, we found many areas of improvement that we wanted to focus on for the sequel. The increased focus on quality and new features also gave it a big push to deliver something that is unparalleled in how much can be done on these platforms today. Looking at the mix of infantry gameplay, vehicles, destruction, huge environments, immersive effects and probably the best sound experience in the business, I would argue that the technology lets us give the consumer something very, very unique.
What role did fan reaction to the first game have on this sequel?
We at DICE have always listened to our fans -- sometimes for direct changes and sometimes trying to incorporate their suggestions into bigger changes that might evolve the games further. The problem is trying to handle the contradicting feedback and giving everyone what they want, not only the loudest fans. Some changes we made based on fan feedback in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are changes in the weapon handling, adding more game modes, adding a PC version and much, much more.
What are you offering for veteran Bad Company gamers?
On top of these options, we have something we call a Hardcore setting. This will give the more hardcore audience a more deadly, fast-paced and stripped-down take on all game modes. It makes the guns more lethal, removes most of the HUD elements and also makes it possible to kill your teammates. This is maybe not for everyone, but will surely be appreciated by our toughest hardcore audience.
How has work on other DICE games influenced this title?
The unique Battlefield experience players have enjoyed in Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 have all been feeding into the development of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Also, the latest edition to the series, Battlefield 1943, which is available as a digital download both on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade, has had an influence. We are always striving to create the best possible Battlefield experience and this time is no exception.
What influence do you think popular shooters like Modern Warfare 2 will have on this genre?
All high-quality titles add to the genre. The bestselling ones are of course something most people will use as a measuring stick when talking about the genre. Our goals are actually quite different than the competition, since we are trying to not only create a great infantry experience but give freedom to the player to find other means to take out the enemy. Vehicles, tactical destruction and a multitude of weapons and gadgets will give players the freedom we are striving for.
What are the challenges of making a shooter today?
The challenge I would say is to get all of the elements right, not just a couple -- everything from visuals, sound, gunplay and storytelling needs to be to a very high quality. On top of this, you need things that make your game unique and also things that make the game last, like a great persistence system or a long tail of downloadable content. The consumer wants value for their money and we have to work hard to please them in all these areas.
How do you see the shooter genre evolving moving forward?
I think players will get used to better and better games. The entry point for shooters will be pushed further and the big titles will always be the ones of the highest quality. The days where you could get away with something just because it was unique and different are gone. Now you need the full package and the consumer will not settle for less.
Bookmark/Search this post with
About the Author
John Gaudiosi has been covering videogames for the past 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, CNET, Wired Magazine and CBS.com. He has focused on the convergence of entertainment and videogames for outlets like Video Business, Home Media Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Gamerlive.TV and is also a freelance game columnist for Reuters and writes for outlets like Forbes.com, NVISION, Official PlayStation Magazine, EGM Now, Geek Monthly, PrimaGames.com, and Yahoo! Games. John also serves as the video game expert for NBC in Washington D.C. and has produced videogame documentaries for The History Channel and Starz Entertainment. John was named one of the Top 50 Game Journalists in the world by Next-Gen.biz in 2007. He is the co-author of Scholastic Books' How to Get into Videogames, Prima Publishing's Madden: Twenty Years of Videogame Football and Electronic Arts: The Official History.