Island Hopping: Battlefield 4 Multiplayer Footage

By Craig Pearson on August 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

It is probably the prettiest game of manshoots you'll ever see.
Watching this video of Battlefield 4′s multiplayer, as an EA producer views a huge battle for control of an island chain, reminded me of how I used to play Battlefield 2: I’d stay after work at PC Gamer, along with Tom Francis and the quietly brilliant Steve Williams. We’d load up a 64-man map on the LAN and mess about for a couple of hours. We’d be recording all this, then we’d watch it back, laughing at the demo. We were so cool. There’s an element of this in this narrated live recording of DICE’s ‘Paracel Storm’ map: the camera zooms around, taking stock of the mayhem as it happens, flowing like an unfettered war photographer. I’m not really bothered about the game, but I might just buy it for the spectator view.

I’d use it to watch how people react to the dynamic map elements. That ship crashing in a multiplayer game will be quite the thing to see, and there seems to be plenty of smaller moments to take stock of too. Giant ships crash, windmills crumble, but I’m most excited about those escaping from a sinking ship in a jetski. When the weather starts whipping up a storm, it’d be great fun to follow one and see how they deal with the swells and blustery conditions. Those weather effects are lovely.

Oh, thanks to silly release schedule, Battlefield 4 is released in October and November. No oceans, please. The 29th and the first.

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83 Comments »

  1. morgofborg says:

    I can’t be the only one who finds the sports-style commentary utterly bizzare.

    • Trithne says:

      I think it’s quite appropriate, since Battlefield is basically a ridiculous compression of warfare concepts into a sport that bears superficial resemblance to the source.

      I find Jets in BF games absurd.

      • Nick says:

        one might even call it.. a game.

        • gamma says:

          But not all games serve the purpose of a straitjacket for your entertaining mind do they?

          I would say it is totaly ludicrous, but i would be playing tricks on myself.

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      Solgarmr says:

      I find it is, I know the guy is flying a damn jet, I don’t need anyone to tell me that in such a ridiculous manner

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      I wouldn’t mind sports commentary if they were commentating an actual match and actually had a clue what they were talking about. But it isn’t and they don’t. It’s journalists and random dudes trying out the game on a showroom floor, they’re just dicking around. Those commentators were completely in the blue at E3 too and they haven’t improved since.

  2. philbot says:

    I played the private alpha earlier this year, and from the gameplay I have seen they have implemented requested features in every aspect of the game, from the big to the small. While the game didn’t feel very different from BF3 in the alpha, it will be the smaller changes (And piles more gear) that will make it way more fun.

    I am however a bit disappointed in how heavily they are pushing DLCs (premium) already, Although, it will be giving access to all the future DLC. It almost feels like an F2P game that you have to pay money to get into in the first place..

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      Clavus says:

      It comes with the territory. The whole lifespan of a game like Battlefield is planned up front nowadays, which is a direct result of it costing millions to develop. They can’t (or don’t want to) take risks.

      That said, the Premium format served pretty well with BF3. They’re not overpricing the content (when compared to expansion packs for older titles in the BF series). And there has always been a wide range of servers to play on, whether you had specific expansion packs or not.

      I hope that in the future they’re willing to give out the maps for free though. Maybe it’d be worth releasing one map for free with each DLC to lure in the people that are on the fence about buying it.

    • Lev Astov says:

      I see they didn’t implement the small feature of STOPPING WITH THE VEHICLE WEAPON RELOADING. Belt fed cannons like the 30mm on that boat and APCs don’t “reload” every six rounds. If you want to limit firing rates, just have it overheat like in BF2. Having it arbitrarily quit firing after a time is just infuriating.

      • Pengwertle says:

        Erm, they DO overheat. They did that in BF3 as well. If you took two second breaks in between sprays, it would never stop.

  3. Iscannon says:

    The 1st of October and 29th of November? These oceans are getting bigger!

  4. Branthog says:

    Oh, golly! I can’t wait to spend $220+ USD on this so myself and my brother can play and enjoy the fragmented playerbase and eroded community! I’m so looking forward to Premium and Battlelog and ten different kinds of servers! Oh gosh oh golly, finally!

    On second thought, I’m skipping out this time around. Screw you, EA.

    • Chalky says:

      So hands up if you glanced at this post and immediately thought it was spam. Spambots have ruined my ability to read replies with random dollar amounts in them.

      More on topic – the footage looks pretty but it really does look rather similar to BF3. Maybe someone with more knowledge on the franchise can fill me in on why this is a step forward rather than sideways?

      • Derezzedjack says:

        Overall from what I’ve seen it looks a lot more like the game Battlefield 3 should have been, at least in my opinion.
        While DICE did an okay job with Battlefield 3, it’s still full with unbalanced gameplay, bad map design, tons of glitches and bugs. The best part about it is, though, that the game will stay this way with the console-like patching they did since the release.

        Since the current consoles get a back seat this time (just like the PC version did with Battlefield 3), everything should get a lot better. Commander mode is back, larger and more detailed maps and overall hopefully a better game.
        But after being lied to by DICE and EA and after falling for the hype with 3 (which is my fault, I know) it’ll be while before I think about getting Battlefield 4, even if it looks like the real sequel to Battlefield 2.

      • Meldreth says:

        From what I’ve heard and seen, there won’t be any huge changes, and the game will play mostly the same way, but instead of these huge changes the game is going to get a lot of small changes which overall should make the game more enjoyable.
        That includes more weapons, more customization options ( as in more attachments for your guns, and for instance the ability to have two different sights on a gun, a more reliable hit-detection, hopefully less glitches, a more PC-friendly UI, the ability to at least defend yourself with a pistol while swimming, different types of grenades, classes getting new gadgets ( Like Snipers getting C4 ), and probably quite a lot of other stuff. ( Like counter-stabbing, yeah ! Except they should just have got rid of the take-downs, but hey. ) Oh and one of the most welcome additions is the overhaul of suppression, which shouldn’t make gunfights random anymore.

        So yeah, nothing actually stands out on its own, but most people claim that the addition of these features do make the game different enough from BF3, and so ” This is totally not BF 3.5 “. Well to me, this is exactly the defnition of a BF 3.5, cause a lot of this stuff could probably just have been patched in, or at least brought in through one of the DLCs. I find it quite hypocritical to both claim that BF 4 has nothing to do with BF 3, and that there are no major differences. I’m fine with getting an overall better BF 3 in the form of a new game, I’m sure it will play very nicely, but as others have pointed out, it will probably only end up being what BF 3 should have been, and potentially could have been if DICE had worked more on patches. ( And about that, apparently one of the devs claimed that with the new engine, patching will be made much easier. Great, so it wasn’t their fault after all ! )

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        darkChozo says:

        As a general thing, I don’t really see where accusations of Franchise (X-.5) are really coming from. Video games tend to benefit a lot from iteration; just look at any of the franchises with a good-but-flawed first entry that received a vastly improved sequel in the same formula (Assassin’s Creed and Saint’s Row are good examples). We’ve even seen this in the Battlefield series itself; Bad Company 2 was very much an iterative sequel, but was still a significant improvement over Bad Company in a number of ways.

        I’m not terribly sold on BF4 yet, but BF3 actually seems like a pretty good candidate for an iterative sequel; in a lot of ways, it felt like an undercooked game design-wise. If BF4 is BF3 with tightened mechanics, some new well-designed features, and better maps (please let them be better maps), that would actually make for a pretty good sequel.

        I mean, sure, if a game is literally the same thing but with new maps, then that’s a problem, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

      • defunkt says:

        Bot or not, it’s still spam.

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      PoulWrist says:

      How do you make it up to 220$? I think I spent like 90 on BF3 with premium.

  5. Orija says:

    There’s something really dirty, muddier than the usual crotch grabbing, about EA touting the numerous sets of DLC planned for the game before the game has entered beta.
    I ended up getting BF3(+Karkand) because I fell for the hype, only to find out the game had been marketed using outright lies. I wouldn’t be surprised if the mid-time change in level architecture ended up being a cosmetic thing restricted to a couple of maps or that they still haven’t fixed the myriad bugs present in BF3.

    • grundus says:

      Haven’t you noticed? We’re at a stage now where DLC is a good thing. I have no idea how it got to this stage but I don’t like it. Most of what I see about BF4 isn’t about how fun it’s going to be and how they’ve made it a better game than BF3, it’s just ‘preorder now and get DLC!’ without much about WHY I should buy it in the first place.

      But having done my own research, I do like the look of it, even though I grew to dislike BF3. I think I just have a tolerance threshold for competitive multiplayer FPSes that is quite low, I can play one a lot for a while but I get to a point where I say fuck it and go on to something else. So, with that in mind, I don’t know if I’ll actually buy BF4.

  6. damnitDave says:

    no thanks to:origin, battlelog and over $100 for a fucking COD clone more or less, then theres what the community has become. big fucking whoop they finally added commander, EA/Dice as usual a day late and a dollar short

    • Runty McTall says:

      I’m hearing “maybe”.

    • Pengwertle says:

      Is it a bad thing you lost all the credibility of your opinion with me when you called Battlefield a copy of Call of Duty? I mean, it was already downhill with you ripping up parts of the game which aren’t problematic at all without giving a reason, but still.

      Wait, never mind. You used several swears in your comment, therefore you are cool and you are also right and I am probably a retard for disagreeing with you.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    OK, so that boat beaching itself was impressive, especially if it’s done by the players (less so if it’s a scripted event).

    • takfar says:

      Based on looks and the video commentary, it certainly looks scripted, as in, players take down the big windmill to release the ship, but once it’s free it moves by itself, always toward the same place.

    • Derezzedjack says:

      As far as I know the weather changes randomly during the map and if you then destroy a windmill out on the border of the map, the cruiser that crashed on its base then drifts away, onto the island. So no, much rather scripted then really done by players.
      It’s just like with the skyscraper, a player or several players destroy something or trigger something through a certain action and then the “levolution” happens.

      Edit: Well, got ninja’d…

      • takfar says:

        Zing! XD

        To be fair, you did add the weather part. It does seem to be random.

  8. bit.bat says:

    I wonder if there is still a healthy number of people still playing Battlefield 3 without any DLC. It would be interesting to see the percentage of people that opt in to all the added on stuff.

    Personally I usually lose interest after the first major DLC is out because I feel that I am playing half a game and am never committed enough to buy the extras.

    • Derezzedjack says:

      There are plenty of servers that don’t run any DLC maps. Premium servers are also a pretty rare sight. Or they’re constantly full, then they wouldn’t appear in my server browser, although I doubt that.

    • Cytrom says:

      99% of BF3′s playerbase plays metro 64 24/7. Its pathetic.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if those servers even had some chineese gold farmer bots in there too.

    • DougyM says:

      Ive seen a bunch of players trying to shit on BF3 recently by saying the base game is dead but its easily refuted by any BF3 player going to Battlelog and searching for servers with at least 80% capacity.

      In Europe alone there where over 50 servers running BF3 with no DLC on conquest large only… at 5pm on a thursday.

      Factor in all the other modes like team death match, squad death match, Rush etc. and the smaller servers that run 48 or 32 man capacities and there are over 200 servers to choose from without a single bit of DLC.

      • Cytrom says:

        And all of them are metro 24/7. I tried to play BF3 a few times in the past months and there were extremely few populated servers with a sane map rotation. The rest of the community is fragmented across the dlcs… just as EA planned. This is how they made room for BF4. ANd this is how BF4 will end this time next year.

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          darkChozo says:

          I’d imagine EA’s plan was to force people into buying DLC to avoid being hit by fragmentation, not to force people into buying BF4. The people who aren’t buying Premium for $30 now (or whatever) to avoid fragmentation are pretty unlikely to drop $60 to reach the same ends.

          • DanMan says:

            Agreed, and the Humble Bundle should bring some new players as well.

        • derbefrier says:

          yup this is what happens when you make your competitive FPS a grind for XP. As much as BF4 looks like fun I know it will be the same as BF3 in that whatever map is easiest to spam explosives and get easy kills on to level up faster, will be the most played map. People might just be more concerned with stats and unlocking weapons than playing an actual tactical game these days. I cant say for sure but this mentality of stats being more important than anything else has killed competitive play in modern first person shooters. I don’t know how many times I have heard ” I don’t care if my team wins as long as I get a positive K\D ratio” or after I request someone to run a distraction, or to attack a base you get the reply “hell no that would fuck up my k\d ratio” even though it could very well win the match.

          • Jerkzilla says:

            I never saw the gameplay justification for an unlock system in an FPS you pay up front for. It’d be pretty depressing to think they did it purely to cash in on “shortcuts”.

            And its kind of funny how in the video, the commentators said something along the lines of “So all the weapons and camos are unlocked this round? Yes and it is AWESOME”. Well…

        • nearly says:

          nope. I played vanilla only for quite a while because the premium maps took so long to download on my connection and not once joined a server that was exclusively metro or felt like I had to in order to join a server with lots of players or a good ping. with the influx of people from the humble bundle, I only see there being more vanilla players and servers.

          I also played vanilla exclusively on Xbox from launch, before I had a worthwhile PC and picked up Premium Edition this summer, and never had that issue there either.

  9. takfar says:

    While I’m a bit disappointed that they’re making BF3 obsolete so quickly, and a bit tired of their heavily-filtered (ie. Dull, gray, desaturated) graphics, this is looking interesting. BF has been the one multiplayer FPS I’ve dedicated myself to since BF2 (i’ve probably spent about 300 hours on BF2+BF3 which, imo, is a lot for someone who works full-time) so I’ll probably bite on this one.

    Also, the forceful DLC thing is undoubtedly annoying and harmful to the community, but, well… My work schedule doesn’t really allow me to take part in organized teamplay, anyway.

  10. SIDD says:

    For me this is going to be a “I’ll wait until the game plus premium goes on sale after 2 months so I won’t feel like I’ve be royally screwed”-game….like with BF3.

    Or just stick with ARMA3

  11. pupsikaso says:

    Battlefield has been getting worse and worse since the release of BF2.

    Thank goodness I found Arma.

  12. noodlecake says:

    I don’t know anything about the series. I generally don’t like war themed fps games with army goons with no personality but all the fancy physics and weather stuff does look rather nice. :) I won’t be buying it but I will definitely be watching for more gameplay vids so I can see stuff happen. I couldn’;t work out if the boat crash was a contrived event or whether someone had decided to randomly park a huge ship on an island for fun or whether it was AI controlled but random. It seems odd that it would get stuck on a wind turbine if it was a fixed event.

  13. razorramone says:

    I missed BF3 so maybe this is the norm, but the map seems weirdly small considering all the heavy vehicles. Looks more like a 32 player infantry/boat map.

  14. Eggy says:

    I had hoped that they would have fixed the absolutely terrible flight model of Battlefield 3 but no, jets can still turn on a dime, slow down to a near stop and afterburn away half a second later. Have fun flying helicopters in this game. :(

    • Cytrom says:

      The maps would be way too small for realistic jet physics and speeds.

      • SIDD says:

        “The maps would be way too small for realistic jet physics and speeds.”

        …in which case it would be perfectly reasonable to get rid of them rather than having the usual 2-4 stat-padders dominate the entire map and making sure everyone else is having a crap time.

  15. L3TUC3 says:

    And mod support is still a no?

  16. Felixader says:

    Levelution.

    For fucks sake, all the facepalms.

  17. sixrocket says:

    I have to pay another $60 dollars + whatever charges for DLC they intend to tear from my wallet, for the game that I should have had in the first place?

    EA, please.

  18. Atrocious says:

    “Did you see that? That plane just flew into the helicopter! Nice. That was awesome.”

    No, it’s fucking lame. Fix that BF3 bug already. The plane should explode too. It’s not that hard.

    • DanMan says:

      This. I thought the exact same thing. Makes me worried about the rest of the game that it’s going to have the same problems yet again.

  19. Bootstraps says:

    HUD: The Videogame

    • GameOverMan says:

      Or Shoot icons: The videogame. The background could be a static image, any photograph would do, and it’d be essentially the same game. You can ignore all the pretties and focus on destroying the various icons. They can create almost photorealistic rendering in real time and then they add all that clutter.

  20. elmo.dudd says:

    I enjoyed at 6:21 when the destroyed building healed itself, then applied a “destroyed” texture, then collapsed as if the boat hit it, while the boat simply pushed some sand around.

    Still can’t get past the jets flying 70-100mph yet managing to not just fall to the earth…

    • SIDD says:

      “when the destroyed building healed itself, then applied a “destroyed” texture, then collapsed as if the boat hit it, while the boat simply pushed some sand around.” …

      No Sir, not scripted at all .. not even a little bit ;)

    • DanMan says:

      Yeah, they’re obviously just cooking with water as well. Muddy water. From a toilet. In Uganda.

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      PoulWrist says:

      I guess this being a videogame, an arcade shooter, is too much to fathom for some people :|

      • SIDD says:

        Poul, no need to be snarky…
        When a publisher is so busy circle jerking themselves off in excitement over their amazingly new, dynamic, destructive environment where player action can alter the battlefield in unique ways – then it’s pretty lame if all they have is scripted sequence changing the map slightly once “player A triggers event B” … because then I don’t really see much in BF4 that wasn’t already in BF3.

        What I expected was completely random destruction, e.g. in the clip above the boat could end up ANYWHERE and cause random changes to the map, because that is what EA made it sound like ….so excuse me for hoping that for once they would deliver what they promised rather than just polishing off the same game they threw at us a year or two ago in the hope of pillaging another £60+ from us…and my apologies for being slightly disappointed seeing what looks suspiciously like a completely scripted event, to the point where it doesn’t even take into account that the building the ship is supposed to destroy has already been destroyed (yes, yes, I know…the Alpha-excuse).

        But I am glad that you, Poul, are happy with being force-fed the same game over and over again without questioning the PR machine of EA/Activision/Ubisoft/whomever – but please don’t question our ability to “fathom this is only an arcade shooter” just because we don’t swallow the hype without asking any questions.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        I’m cool with arcade shooters, so long as it is evenly applied. Even application is more important than the particular style to me honestly. I don’t want to bunnyhop in Arma, nor do I want to forage for food and rest to help my now bandaged wound in Quake 3.

        But unless the game heavily revolves around bubbles of time travel and multiple causalities, I don’t really see the reason for a building repairing itself to be destroyed in the next second by a boat. The only real reason here is that the game, even in multiplayer, and even in its much touted destruction, is scripted. It is a facade of grandeur, and the only thing the Alpha state impacts is they haven’t put up all the layers of screen grit, smoke, and bloom that masked these failings in previous releases.

        This isn’t seeing the leading lady before she learned her lines completely and had to ad lib some, it is more like stumbling in before makeup only to find it is a fellow resembling George R. R. Martin in spanks who doubles as the janitor.

  21. SuicideKing says:

    What really destroyed BF3 for me was the lack of a single server in a country of 1.2 billion people, and 200-300+ pings everywhere outside.

    Since i expect the same for BF4, this is definitely a miss for me.

    I have Arma 3 to play, anyway.

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      PoulWrist says:

      Blame your country of 1.2 billion people for not having a single company step up and offer serverhosting.

  22. aircool says:

    I wonder if spawn camping is still in?

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    PoulWrist says:

    People are dumb. BF4 looks to be totally awesome. I dunno wtf people expect these days.

  24. Lev Astov says:

    As a naval architect, I feel I am in my right to say that ship thing was incredibly stupid. It’s disappointing, too, since DICE have done a very admirable job of getting ships right in the past.
    There’s no reason for it to have raced forward at half speed after breaking free like that.
    The CIWS gun is in completely the wrong place for no apparent reason (it should have been behind the deck gun.)
    That was a US Navy ship while Chinese and Russians were doing the battling, though I guess we could chalk that up to the unknown story.
    The damage also looked pretty poor on it.

  25. kobadow says:

    *Looks at video*

    Same old gameplay, incrementally different graphics. Running and gunning like it’s 1994.

    *Goes back to Project Reality*

  26. tehsorrow says:

    I’m not sure whether I want to play this or Titanfall. I played a load of BF3 so I know I’m going to like what BF4 is offering but on the other hand Titanfall is offering a more different experience and since I haven’t really played a CoD game since MW2 it’d be good to have that sort of experience again.

    I don’t have enough room in my life for two MP shooters though

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  28. Rossi says:

    It looks quite good. Obvious improvement on BF3. I might get it, but whenever I play BF3 I always feel lost. The people in my squad don’t play together so I just generally don’t bother with team play. I’ll go off on my own and do my own thing, I don’t care if we win or lose.

    • DanMan says:

      That’s the biggest problem with “teamwork”. People always expect the others to follow them. They never consider being the supportive guy themselves.

  29. LordMidas says:

    Battlefield Bad Company 2 is the greatest online shooter ever made. Fact.

    And yes, this looks epic too.