Battlefield Heroes: It’s Like This

By Alec Meer on February 5th, 2008 at 1:12 pm.

Info-armies from across the globe have been pincer-movementing the internet this past week to paint a clearer picture of what EA/DICE’s upcoming free-to-play, casual team shooter will be like.

Over on the official site, a developer blog’s just kicked off, dwelling more on the thinking behind the game and how it came to pass than hard facts for now. It carries an intruging sense of openness, with senior producer Ben Cousins even posting scans of his notes from the initial brainstorming. He also lists three key raison d’etres for BFH:

1. We wanted to return to the crazy unrealistic feel of Battlefield 1942 and Codename Eagle, games which we had both been fans of.
2. We wanted to make sure that players could ‘get to the fun’ easier this time – faster, cheaper and easier.
3. We were committed to ensuring that the gameplay would still feel like a legitimate part of the Battlefield franchise, with the core elements and feel preserved.

Meaty info on the finished game is all over Planet Battlefield, whose members are frenziedly reguritating everything they can glean from the various magazines to carry exclusive previews.

Classes are confirmed as Soldier (an all-rounder assault’n'medic class), Commando (stealth’n'sniping) and Gunner (a more varied take on The Heavy), and each will tote some crazy special abilities, such as chucking 15 grenades in one go, as well as general shootiness.

Notably, it sounds a much quicker, easier game – near instant spawns (including for vehicles), significantly boosted health and punier weapons. Though insta-critics say the grinning spectre of Team Fortress 2 looms over it all, apparently a cartoonish Battlefield game has been talked about since BF1942.

Then there’s the micropayment stuff – cosmetic items, from eyepatches to boots, and also new emotes (gestures and taunts are to be a big part of BFH). Would you pay $5 to be able to wiggle your bum at the enemy?

More details on PlanetBattlefield, anyway. If it all sounds like the bastard offspring of Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft then, well, perhaps it’s supposed to.

Oh, and some screencaps of it from a German TV show can be found here.

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34 Comments »

  1. Yengwa says:

    Looks like TF2.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    4. We wanted to copy TF2.

  3. AbyssUK says:

    CODENAME EAGLE!! Came out a million and seven years before TF2…

  4. Pike says:

    Apart from the cartoonish art style, how on earth can BF: Heroes be seen as a TF2 copy, considering that DICE pretty much created the FPS genre that this game looks to continue?

  5. Narvi says:

    Considering the original concept of TF2 was amazingly similar to Battlefield…

  6. Ben Hazell says:

    Did Battlefield exist when the Mil-Sim style TF2 shots first emerged?
    Wait; I really don’t think it matters. Ideas emerge, they get copied – progress.
    Horray for the diversification of art styles, saving us from tumbling into the uncanny valley.

  7. Pike says:

    Battlefield 1942 didn’t exist until 2002, three years after the realistic version of TF2 was announced. Codename Eagle, the grandfather of the BF series was released roughly shortly after the “realistic” version of TF2 was announced.

  8. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Eewwwwwwww, microtransactions. Also, 15 grenades at once? It’s the anti-TF2: instead of getting rid of grenadespam, they amplified it.

  9. Rich Powers says:

    Is that Advanced Wars console shooter also like TF2 because it has cartoony graphics? This myopic focus on “OMG CARTOON = TF2” on every gaming site is annoying. Since when has TF2 had vehicles anyway?

    I’m actually looking forward to this game. Battlefield’s been in a nose dive since BF1942 (which I still play regularly), so I welcome DICE returning to the crazy gameplay of old. At least Heroes wont take itself too seriously like BF2 and 2142.

  10. David Myers says:

    Wow… it looks… exactly like Team Fortress 2.

    Oh EA… will you EVER make an original game?

  11. Alec Meer says:

    People from both sides of the debate are, I feel, getting too hung up on the ‘like TF2 because of its art style?’ discussion. Whether it was by an accident of timing or design, that’s pretty incidental.

    A far more intruiging discussion point is whether BFH could/should have been inspired by TF2′s accessibility to a non-hardcore audience. It’s nominally a casual game – but by that does it mean Bejewelled or TF2? The latter is, after all, about the most approachable multiplayer FPS around, but is it approachable enough for what EA are aiming at?

  12. Pike says:

    Don’t really know if a more casual BF is a smart move. I consider BF 2 to be a very casual friendly game, and a clear step forward from BF 1942, so I might be the wrong person to make that call.

    The business model is very interesting though.

  13. Muscrat says:

    Codename Eagle FTW
    That had epic multiplayer.

    And I agree with Rich Powers, just because it has a cartoony look doesent mean its a direct ripoff of TF2, we have only seen one image of artwork of the game.

  14. StolenName says:

    It kind of shits me when people immediately begin ragging on something because it looks like TF2.

    Who cares? If it’s a great game it shouldn’t matter, and their points are valid, Battlefield has never been a realistic sim or anything, it’s like they’re making the fun parts .. funner .. er .. rer.

    Alec – you got an interesting point. The graphics are a strange way of making the game less “hardcore” and attractive to more casual gamers. If I’m correct, it would also allow children to play in an environment that’s less, well, bloody. Actually, do we know what rating they’re aiming for?

  15. Fumarole says:

    Microtransactions? Consider me to be staying the hell away from this abomination.

    @ Pike: DICE created this genre? If by genre you mean military shoot ‘em up with vehicles then obviously you’ve never heard of a little game called Operation Flashpoint.

  16. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Who cares? If it’s a great game it shouldn’t matter, and their points are valid, Battlefield has never been a realistic sim or anything, it’s like they’re making the fun parts .. funner .. er .. rer.

    A bit like TF2 then, eh? [insert winking emoticon here]

    Is that Advanced Wars console shooter also like TF2 because it has cartoony graphics?

    The Advance Wars games are turn-based strategies, I’ll have you know!

  17. Pike says:

    OP: Flash, the hardcore, and excellent, game released in 2001, two years after Codename Eagle?

  18. AbyssUK says:

    @Fumarole,
    actually the first multiplayer FPS with proper vechicals was Terminator:SkyNET which also kicked ass on LAN… ran in dos in the then awesome 640×480 resolution.. man I loved that game and its still the only multiplayer game were you can ram people with Hunter Killers.
    Edit oh thats not what you said… but hey anyway SkyNET ruled

  19. Muscrat says:

    @AbyssUK
    Wow im surprised I never heard of T:S, I always thought Tribes pioneered it, followed by Battlezone, Codename Eagle, Battlezone 2, Tribes 2, OFp, Renegade and BF1942.
    Interesting

  20. PleasingFungus says:

    @Man_Raised_By_Puffins: Yeah, I try to forget Battalion Wars too.

  21. Rich Powers says:

    Yes, I was referring to Battalion Wars (based on the Advanced Wars universe in some way); clearly I’m not an expert when it comes to Nintendo games :)

    @Fumarole: Ya, I’m not a fan of microtransactions (aka nickel and diming) but so far EA/DICE insist they’re only for cosmetic enhancements to your character. That’s well and good, but how long can EA resist the temptation of charging $ for new weapons, vehicles, or abilities that give paying customers a greater advantage?

  22. Garth says:

    “Apart from the cartoonish art style, how on earth can BF: Heroes be seen as a TF2 copy, considering that DICE pretty much created the FPS genre that this game looks to continue?”
    Reading this actually made me pissed off, like just from pretty happy to angry.

    So DICE created QTF when exactly?

  23. Nick says:

    Hmm, lots of grenades. The best part of multiplayer FPS games!

    *ignores game from now on*

  24. Mike says:

    Why… would you move /away/ from the seriousness and realism? Wasn’t that the best part of Battlefield 2? Wasn’t 2142 rubbish because it had less of it in?

  25. Smeghammer says:

    Ye. Whatever…

    EA are sellouts. Can’t believe you can sit there and say TF2 didn’t influence this game. Of course it did. EA are the biggest bunch of money grabbing bastards i know, and now they’ve got another franchise to rip off.

    May well be a good game, but it certainly isn’t original, and we’ll still be playing TF2 after everyones forgotten about Codename Ripoff or whatever it’s called.

    Also i’m fairly sure the first kind of wargame to feature vehicles and FPS probably came out on the spectrum. I dunno what it’s called, but i’m sure there were loads of em.

    It all goes round.

  26. Crispy says:

    Those ‘German mag screen grabs’ came from here: http://www.pcgames.de/aid,629100/Interview/Ego-Shooter/Exklusives_Video-Interview_mit_den_Battlefield_Heroes-Entwicklern/

    I’m surprised you (RPS) didn’t link the developer interview, since it gives a far better (if subjective) overview of the intended gameplay.

    It will also explain what all this ‘one player can throw 15 grenades at a time shennanigans is all about (basically that one guy can scoop up grenade-spam from the floor and hurl it back at the enemy in one fell swoop – so actually kind of an anti-grenade spam feature, doncha think?).

  27. Fumarole says:

    edit – whee!

  28. Crispy says:

    (double-post, I know, but I got lost on Wikipedia! :P)

    I think a lot of people are jumping the gun on this. I know I did when I saw it (mostly because someone made the decision to lead with a screenshot of the almost identical-looking TF2 Soldier-alike). If you look closer you’ll see that the character art style looks more like expressionism, verging on the abstract (for want of a better description), with the hard, sculptural lines of the jaws and nose bridges setting it apart from TF2 (to me it has hints of Subirach’s Passion Facade on the Sagrada Familia).

    Also, there are some positives planned for this game. Since they announced it, we’ve heard very little from Valve on their Steam matchmaking service (unless Steam Friends is it, in which case: -___________________________- ). BFH, on the other hand, has announced a matchmaking service that will allow players to find servers of the same skill rating, meaning beginners won’t get berated by gnarly veterans and “pr0s” won’t get n00bs dragging their team down.

    Whatever you say about EA (and believe me, I have a fair amount of vitriol reserved for them) at least you can depend on this matchmaking service to be included in the first release of the game, not tagged on under the guise of ‘free extra content’ 6 months later when you’ve lost interest. I also get the distinct impression that DICE will be able to put a lot more heart and soul into this than yet another realism shooter. If it remains free and the ads aren’t intrusive or downright gaudy, and if the game plays well enough to keep my attention, and if the micropayments don’t skew the playing field, then I may well end up giving this a blast, despite my initial reservations, because I’m prepared to be proved wrong.

  29. nimble says:

    I think Pike may be thinking of this (and CE) as being a different genre than CTF w/Vehicles. I know I’d descibe CE’s genre as something like the fun-physics (cartoony, even) FPS. I don’t know if CE is the first game of that sort, but it’s certainly a pioneer, and the first to reach a sort of completeness which allowed you the freedom of actually doing whatever harebrained scheme you could think up to kill an enemy with tanks, planes, or zeppelins.

    If games are measured by how much arm waving goes on after a LAN match, as everyone retells what just happened, Codename Eagle is certainly king.

  30. Scotti says:

    What is wrong with influence? Hell, I’m glad they are “ripping off” TF2. And even though I don’t like EA, Would there be so much hate if EA weren’t publishing it?

  31. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    For more “OMGZ EA ripping off TF2″ outrage, I give you Facebreaker.

  32. Daniel says:

    What does it matter! BF: Heroes is fun, just like TF2!