Compare Us To TF2 Say Battlefield Heroes Devs

By John Walker on May 14th, 2008 at 9:59 pm.

IT LOOKS A BIT LIKE TF2! IT LOOKS A BIT LIKE TF2!

If you ever want to make an MMO developer mad, and why wouldn’t you, keep mentioning World of Warcraft when you’re talking to them. It’s the big unmentionable, the competition they know they’d have no audience without, but want to pretend doesn’t exist. Even the fine folks at EA Mythic, they behind the genuinely comparable Warhammer Online, tend to refer to Blizzard’s beast as, “Certain Other Games”.

So it’s with some surprise that Shacknews discover DICE’s Aleksander Grondol is completely fine with people mentioning Team Fortress 2 around their forthcoming Battlefield Heroes…

“If they want to keep comparing it to TF2, I think that’s perfectly okay. It’s an honor to be compared to a great game like Team Fortress 2, and I think the art style in TF2 is awesome. We’re obviously not trying to take anything from TF2 in terms of gameplay. I think once you actually start playing it and see the difference for yourself, then it becomes quite apparent that it’s not TF2.”

Wait, no, it's WoW! No, hang on, it's Horace Goes Skiing!

He’s not a foolish man. There’s no question that their bold, cartoon art styles are similar. And indeed both are online multiplayer, although ultimately very different games. Shying away from the comparison would feed into the notion that they were mimicking Valve’s shooter – something EA and DICE are obviously keen to avoid. Saying, “Hell yeah, compare us to that awesome game,” seems the smart move. In doing so they’re stating, “We’re confident that our game will not only withstand the comparison, but stand up in its own right.”

I’d like to see some MMO developers follow suit, and say, sure, WoW’s great. And indeed Mythic have gone halfway, recently acknowledging how much easier WoW makes their lives. One wonders if others aren’t doing so out of the fear of that comparison.

Battlefield Heroes is expected to go into open beta at the end of the summer. You can read much more about it in Shacknews’ interview with Grondol.

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31 Comments »

  1. Paul Montesanti says:

    Every screenshot for this game is like a composed photo of some nine-year-old’s crazy GI Joe dress-up dolls lined up in a row.

    And I’m totally okay with that.

  2. born2expire says:

    ehhh i’ll take a wait and see on this, i’ve never been a fan of the battlefield series and i haven’t played TF2 since the beta.

  3. brog says:

    The new screens are looking a lot less TF2-ish as well. They seem to have found their own direction for the art and I like it. Hooray for non-photorealism!

  4. derFeef says:

    I watched the videos on GT and in the first 5 seconds its clear that its not TF2. TF2 is more illustrative art, where Heroes is more childish and silly. And I think I dont have to mention the gameplay. Very different.

  5. restricted3 says:

    What I’d love to know is if they’ll release some kind of server to be able to play in LAN

    (I’m guessing no)

  6. Zonderic says:

    The surface-level connection of being ‘cartoony’ is like free advertising. Anyone who thought TF2 even looked appealing, can try this out for free regardless of gameplay differences.

    This looks fun though, and I’m looking forward to trying this out.

  7. Butler` says:

    I can’t see why they would be scared of comparisons to TF2, because beyond a similar visual style, there’s very few direct comparisons to make.

    They’ve also got very little to worry about with regards to competition from TF2, with it’s free2play model and emphasis on accessibility – and all the marketing clout of EA behind it. The same can’t be said for WAR vs WoW.

  8. hoohoo says:

    i actually think it looks better than tf2. all that silhouette nonsense in tf2 is so overated its not even funny. i’d much rather have character customization, and creating my own class via loadout, than the already stale our way or the highway tf2. it doesnt matter what the character looks like, it matters that you can easily see what they are shooting at you. this battlefield heroes art style also the the ability to better fit into different enviroments, not the 1 drab dreary desert level every match in tf2

  9. Andrew Simpson says:

    I’m sure the TF2 art style would fit into different environments, and I heard somewhere (probably the Steam forums, a post of an email from Robin Walker) that they were working on some. Part of the reason everything is deserty at the moment is to reuse textures, so that they can keep new map download sizes reasonable.

  10. kenok says:

    Based on the two screengrabs above. First impressions… Are they dancing to the tune of YMCA?! The art direction aint working for me.

  11. Lunaran says:

    i actually think it looks better than tf2. all that silhouette nonsense in tf2 is so overated its not even funny. i’d much rather have character customization, and creating my own class via loadout, than the already stale our way or the highway tf2. it doesnt matter what the character looks like, it matters that you can easily see what they are shooting at you.

    The first read of a character or object is silhouette. This has been an iron law in animation, illustration, and design for a very, very long time. Just because you didn’t notice it working doesn’t mean it isn’t very, very good art direction. The beauty of Valve’s methods is that they communicate as much as they can in natural ways, without extra gizmos and fluff and interface bandaids, so that very complicated things can become accessible without being dumbed down.

    I look at BFH screens and I have no clue who’s on what team or what their generic gray cylinders are going fire at me, but I’m sure they’ll solve all that with huge spinning icons.

  12. yutt says:

    This remind anyone else of the deluge of cel-shaded games after Zelda Windwaker?

    One popular game gets stylized art and then dozens of lesser games try vainly to ape it for the free publicity.

  13. hoohoo says:

    @Lunara
    yeah, i know what silhouette is, and its purpose. and while i respect and admire its artistic value, it doesnt change the fact that it does little to effect gameplay. i mean really, how does knowing your enemies class really effect what you are going to do? i mean the huge spinning icon that is the medic beam in tf2, does it really matter if its attached to a fat character or a slim one? and while you are following the huge glowing icons to get around a map, does it really matter if you see 3 medium silhouettes, 1 big one, and 2 small? is it going to change your tactics that much when your only going to have a 1:1 kdr at best anyway?
    tf2 is a great game, it could have been and hopefully in the future will be even better. bfh, which is based off a game ripped right from the the original tf2 design doc, is instead of static silhouette design, using customization to have a hell of alot more fun with the class based gameplay. if you cant tell who’s on what team you must be looking at screens of only 1. both sides have a very unique look and style that is not confusing at all.
    http://www.battlefield-heroes.com/images/a-look/desktop/desktop-heroes.jpg

  14. Fuego says:

    @hoohoo
    Are you joking or do you just play Sniper all of the time? Knowing your enemy’s capabilities by virtue of their class and weapon makes a huge difference in tactics.

    Customization has its place in RPGs as a means of self-expression, but it becomes so much visual noise in FPS games.

  15. Saflo says:

    That sort of customization was never a goal with TF2, hoohoo, nor should it have been. The idea was to create nine distinct classes that were also distinct characters – the fleet-footed braggart, the crafty good ol’ boy, the urbane backstabber – and for a multiplayer-only shooting game, they’re incredibly well fleshed out. As Fuego just mentioned, letting a player mess around with the developers’ intelligently and probably painstakingly engineered character designs would not only not jibe with the art direction, but also create a mess out of what is supposed to be a user-friendly, intuitive game.

    And yes, to answer your question: the difference between seeing a medic turn the corner healing a gangly guy with a baseball bat and a behemoth with a gun the size of a car is going to effect your gameplay.

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    the middle guys a scout who’s done some push ups and the guy onthe rights a heavey on a diet

  17. LST4R says:

    “I think once you actually start playing it and see the difference for yourself, then it becomes quite apparent that it’s not [as good as?] TF2.”

    Aheheh, truer words were probably never spoken…
    From the gameplay I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look terribly exciting. But hey, at least it’s free, and that’s probably the best marketing ploy ever.

  18. Crispy says:

    It could be good, it could be bad. Without maps, TF2 is stale as hell, and their non-casual weapon unlocks do not fit in with their casual target audience (the team has commented that TF2 is designed for people who want to ‘jump in for a bit after work’).

    I don’t agree with heavy character customisation because it dilutes the known quantities that are pivotal for multiplayer strategy (i.e. -like someone said- who is and isn’t on your team?), and BFH have explicitly stated that someone willing to put in money to the game will be able to purchase bonuses like double-experience, which for me can only lead to horrible, horrible griefing if they don’t get their matchmaking system bang on.

  19. Grandstone says:

    hoohoo, it doesn’t matter whether the Medic’s target’s silhouette is fat or slim, it only matters that his silhouette makes it clear which class he is. This way, you can instinctively act appropriately without having to stop and identify the classes in front of you. I don’t see this elegance of design in the Battlefield Heroes shots, but I’ll reserve judgment until the game comes out.

    Also, I hate to be pedantic, but a few people here have been using “effect” in place of “affect”.

  20. sigma83 says:

    Death by medic in BFH! Make it happen!

  21. Nimic says:

    “and while you are following the huge glowing icons to get around a map, does it really matter if you see 3 medium silhouettes, 1 big one, and 2 small? is it going to change your tactics that much when your only going to have a 1:1 kdr at best anyway?”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Are you suggesting it’s impossible to be GOOD at this game? I’ve almost always got at least a 2:1 ratio, and there are obviously better players than me out there.

    That is, if you’re saying what I think you’re saying. If you’re not, ignore me.

  22. Saflo says:

    Also, I hate to be pedantic, but a few people here have been using “effect” in place of “affect”.

    On my goddamn life, I swear I typed “affect”.

  23. Fumarole says:

    Methinks hoohoo hasn’t played TF2 very much. No, there aren’t many official maps, but they’re certainly not all “1 drab dreary desert level.”

  24. brog says:

    Fumarole: possibly he’s confusing it with counterstrike?

  25. sigma83 says:

    Brog: Buuuuuuurn.

  26. Saflo says:

    To be fair, Counterstrike has plenty of great maps; it’s just that the 1 drab dreary desert level is the only one anyone plays.

  27. Mo says:

    I never understood the obsession with de_dust. I was always more of a cs_assault guy myself.

  28. sigma83 says:

    I liked all maps equally, although I tended to lean towards those with cover like the inca-themed one which name I can’t remember and Dust2, although that tended to dissolve into blindfiring in the corridors.

    I also really liked the assassination mission with the crashed plane.

  29. Saflo says:

    I believe you’re thinking of de_aztec. And, unless it’s a different map I never encountered, the crashed plane one was de_survivor, which really, really, really needs a Source remake.

  30. Crispy says:

    To be blunt, hoohoo is talking out of his backside. Valve put so much thought into the player characters in TF2, from actually giving them all character (distinctive and dynamic voices that match their appearance, down to their own brand of humour), to making them immediately visually recognisable via totally unique character and weapon silhouettes, and by subtly highlighting the mid region of the body, thus drawing the eye towards where the most important information about an enemy/friendly in a multiplayer FPS is (their weapon and team colour). If you take a letterbox view of the midrift of any of the TF2 classes, you will notice they are all totally different, regardless of what weapon they are holding.

    In BFH the very existance of customisable skins does the exact opposite. It creates a much wider range of possible visualisations of friend or foe, which is counter productive to intuitiveness in a fast-paced mutiplayer game. I’m not at a stage where I can say TF2 is better then BFH or vice versa, but there is absolutely no freaking hope of you winning an argument that claims BFH’s art style is more accomplished or functional than TF2′s.

  31. BlaBla says:

    Jesus , crispy .. the game isnt even out yet , and its a parody after battlefield .. with some TF2 graphics .. why try to take sides … TF2 or BFH that sort of thing , i think people are threaten by BFH bcuz its free to play and competes with other games a bit simmilar like TF2 .. i would like to think Valve is equal to EA in their own kind of way. Good luck and best regards to beta testers and looking forward to official release.

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