Despite Hardline, EA Says Battlefield Not Being Annualized

By Nathan Grayson on June 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Upon hearing EA claim that Battlefield will not succumb to annual sequelitis like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and their ilk, I was immediately reminded of that time it snapped up the domains for Battlefields 13-20. I’m not saying it’s indicative of anything, just that I can’t help but think of it, given the context. But yes, despite the fact that we’re now on our second consecutive battleyear thanks to Battlefield Hardline, the series is apparently not an annual guarantee.

EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund explained to Polygon:

“The EA that I’m trying to help build isn’t an EA that needs to annualize everything.”

The actual genesis of Hardline, apparently, was simply an idea from Visceral, and even before that DICE had wanted to do a cops and robbers themed game. It just made sense, or so the story goes. The plan, then, was simple: put Visceral on a Battlefield pseudo-expansion to test their Battlefield chops. And thus, Hardline was born.

“[Hardline] doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that’s the way it’s going to be forever and ever. I understand that some people may look at it that way but that’s what happened.”

Which is all to say, it might be a little while before EA decides it needs to nab the domains for Battlefields 21 through XCIX-13B.

Now let’s hope the next “real” Battlefield only shows up when it’s good and ready, because BF4 was an inexcusable mess. And as for Hardline, well, I hope Visceral can make better use of what is essentially the same framework. Otherwise it’s gonna be a looooooooong battleyear.

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36 Comments »

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  1. Daemoneyes says:

    Now let’s hope the next “real” Battlefield only shows up when it’s good and ready, because BF4 was an inexcusable mess.

    WAS?
    it still IS.

  2. ran93r says:

    Skipping this DLC, from what I have watched it’s only the grappler that adds anything to the game.
    Imagine the next proper Battlefield will be a ways off, what with Battlefront being worked on.

  3. Blackrook says:

    Hardline seems much faster paced than BF4 more run and gun less tactical.
    I like both on occasion and Hardline is definitely fun. I just don’t think I want to part with
    a full game amount of money (£59.99 on origin, £35 on amazon) for what is basically a
    reskinned game. If it was £15-20 I would definitely consider it as a light brainless FPS alternative.

  4. Jabberslops says:

    It’s hard to care about any new Battlefield games with BF4 being a big mess of issues even worse than BF3 or BC2 were on release and post release. Plus from what I’ve read, patching games using the Frostbite engine wastes tons of bandwidth if DICE or any developer need to make changes and fixes to maps since they “bake” every object required into a map file (Dragon Age: Inquisition will have this problem) that can be anywhere from 2-8GB or even larger depending on whatever the developers want to include in a map.

    The Battlefield series would likely be even worse if it becomes annualized as much as Call of Duty. Especially now that DICE is starting to move the gun-play back in the awful direction of Battlefield 2 with giant cones of fire and being required to spray and pray half the guns just to get a single kill 5 meters in front of you. BF Hardline is taking that to almost the same extreme as BF2. Even when using single shot mode the guns are annoyingly inaccurate when not even moving. There is also the done to death debate about the shitty hit reg and bullet lag and all that network code nonsense DICE keep bullshitting about, I’m not gonna get into that argument though.

    Battlefield 3 was the last BF I bought, but as long as Bad Company 3 multiplayer plays almost exactly like BC2 and BF5 plays like BF3 I will probably buy them… on sale a year later, or maybe never if there is something better.

    • Tayh says:

      And here I was actually missing the BF2 gunplay, where you can’t just full-auto an lmg or assault rifle and be sure to get a kill.
      I kind of miss the slow-ish(to modern fps standards) and methodical firefights. It actually felt more natural to me.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      Can you elaborate on the “back to BF2″ comment, please? For me, BF2 is the best Battlefield game, followed by 1942, Vietnam and 2142. I thought 3 was a glorified CoD in all but name, so if 4 has moved back in the direction of 2 then I may not be so dismissive of it.

      • Jabberslops says:

        Well, in BF2 if you tried to fire your gun full auto for more than say 5 bullets you would end up shooting bullets in a cone shape at about 15-20 degrees of angle (no real idea of the angle just an example). It was like watching a blunderbuss shoot except it was 1 bullet per shot. You could be shooting at someone less than 8 feet away and still hit the ground with more than 50% of the bullets fired when aiming at their chest or head. Even firing in single shot burst from just about any gun would have this problem. This doesn’t mean BC2 or BF3 don’t have the same issues, they are just far less of an issue since the cone of fire isn’t nearly as bad.

        Still though, the guns in BC2 and BF3 are nowhere near as “laser accurate” as in Call of Duty and to be more more specific I really mean everything after COD4 and W@W starting with MW2. Infact I would go as far as saying that BC2 plays more like COD4 (a good thing in my opinion) when you compare how the guns fire, but feel like they have more weight to them. BF3 is more a “floaty” feeling.

        Also, something people tend to forget about BF2 was how horribly buggy it was and how often DICE would release a patch fixing a few things and breaking more than it fixed. It took literally 5 patches to fix the hit box on the Abrams so that it would stop taking damage every time it hit a small rock or pothole or anything really.

        BF1942 and Vietnam were both a jerky mess when it came to shooting and hitting anything. Infantry combat was the worst part about those games because of the rubber banding feel you got even when everyone had 50 or less ping. Do you remember what it was like to walk on a moving boat?

  5. Premium User Badge

    Goodtwist says:

    Game developers often hit the nail what’s going on in the society. Take the cancelled Rainbow Six: Patriots. From what I could see Ubi Soft was to exploit the idea of people taking up a stance on the current exploitation and oppression of its own people in the “West” and specifically in the USA.

    Now, EA seems to have been influenced by the growing militarisation of the (civil) police. In my view the police resembles more and more to front line soldiers than to an institution that supposedly “protects and serves”.

    • Muzman says:

      I am surprised people are getting antsy about a thirty year old trend right now.
      It’s only really in the zeitgeist in the US since some people finally saw it do its thing during the Boston Bombers hunt. Unless you were a paranoid anti-government crank already, then it’s been your bread and butter since forever.

      Even if people are kind of late to the party or over doing it one direction or t’other, it is an interesting topic.

      • Premium User Badge

        Goodtwist says:

        I’m not entirely sure I understood you right – my take on the hinted trend is that on the one hand the topic is important enaugh that it warrants perpetual thematisation.
        On the other hand those trends were and are being dealt with in certain “elite” circles, like the academia, for decades (well maybe not the militarisation of civil police since I believe this is a rather recent trend). Now I think those topics trickle down to the more common media – in this case computer games.

        • Muzman says:

          People have been fretting about the militarization of civilian forces for a long time and it’s been happening for a long time. Since the sixties at least and the advent of urban terrorism, SWAT and other paramilitary groups around the world it’s been an issue of varying severity and concern.

          Most people don’t really notice it unless something serious happens and they get to see it in action on a large scale. The Waco seige caused such consternation (and was basically the birth of the current US conspiracy movement) and now the Boston lockdown during the hunt for the terrorists seems to have really scared some people too. The hunt for that rogue cop in Los Angeles recently was a big show of force as well.

          But it’s not new, is my point; either as an academic nor civic concern. Games dealing with it might be interesting (well hopefully. Considering how well most games seek to portray the murky morality of anti-terrorism and war in general and end up making basically exploitative war and torture porn instead I don’t have high hopes)

          • Premium User Badge

            bills6693 says:

            They should do a UK edition. In it, the ‘robbers’ start out with knives and a few have pistols. Meanwhile the police have stab vests and batons.

            The ‘robbers’ can get away with it for a little while but if they start to show their weapons, the police will call for armed police backup. Then the robbers only have 10 more minutes of plundering the bank or whatever it is they do in this game, until armed police show up.

            Really, in the UK, I don’t see much if any trend of ‘militarization’ of the police forces. I don’t even think they carry guns in NI although I could be wrong about that. Only armed police units, which are not on usual patrol.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Bonus points if one of the robbers manages to jump a ticket barrier and get away.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    2002 Battlefield 1942
    2004 Battlefield Vietnam
    2005 Battlefield 2
    2005 Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
    2006 Battlefield 2142
    2008 Battlefield: Bad Company
    2009 Battlefield Heroes
    2009 Battlefield 1943
    2010 Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    2010 Battlefield Online
    2010 Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam
    2011 Battlefield Play4Free
    2011 Battlefield 3
    2013 Battlefield 4
    2014 Battlefield: Hardline

    Well, it already kinda is in a sense.

    • Tyrric says:

      so we should be due for Battlefield 1944 soon, right?

      • Premium User Badge

        DarkLiberator says:

        I’m down for a destruction version of 1942 with battleships and carriers, but that’s never going to happen.

        • myelbow says:

          Oh, this. Very much this, please!!

          I think I prefer the WWII setting because it feels less one shot or burst kill and a bit more about wearing down the other side. Modern weapons are too efficient relative to the earlier days of full auto guns.

          I know…opinions and all that.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yeah sadly the current trend is modern shooters so they won’t go back to WW2 for a while for sure. If you miss World War 2 games and don’t already play it though, pick up Red Orchestra 2/Rising Storm. It’s really cheap and in my opinion it’s gunplay outshines anything the Battlefield series has ever done. The balance of the range, accuracy but slow speed of the rifles, the close range run and gun dominance of the sub machine guns and the positioning and deployment needs of the machine guns, in my opinion gives much better infantry gameplay than everyone wielding essentially the same type of assault rifles apart from the snipers who are 5 miles away being dickheads.
          The only downside of Red Orchestra for some people is the lack of vehicular combat. It does a good job of keeping a sense of scale despite that though but it’s off-putting to some Battlefield players who are permanently in a tank.

  7. SanguineAngel says:

    This just in: EA exec says what he thinks people want hear. Intentions may vary

  8. Cytrom says:

    EA has claimed many things before, that completely turned around within months, or were followed by completely opposing declarations, staged as if they always meant it in that new way.

  9. RaoulDuke says:

    Great phrasing, eh?

    “[Hardline] doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that’s the way it’s going to be forever and ever. I understand that some people may look at it that way but that’s what happened.”

    Reads as:

    “[Hardline] MIGHT mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that’s the way it’s going to be FOREVER and EVER. I understand that some people may look at it that way AND that’s what happenING.”

    I’m joking of course, but…

    • HadToLogin says:

      Heh, I wrote nearly same comment lower :)

      Just with less joking…

  10. HadToLogin says:

    “[Hardline] doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield” because we aren’t sure if it won’t flop like Battlefield: Medal of Honor, so we’re playing it safe. You like it, we’ll spawn sequels one after another.

  11. Distec says:

    Does Hardline actually justify if its Cops/Robbers themes at all? Or are they just skins for your regular BF gameplay.

    • Phendron says:

      Both sides have perma-parachute BF4-style for quick base jumps/scaling down terrain. That should give you an answer.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Also the police and armed criminals both have access to infinite assault helicopters.

  12. db1331 says:

    I checked out the beta for probably 3 minutes. It was terrible. I quit and immediately uninstalled it. And this is coming from someone with over a thousand hours in BFBC2, BF3, and BF4 combined. It felt like a reskin of BF4 (because it is), but with floaty aim. It played like it was a mod a couple people threw together without any support from the developer.

    Probably the most telling thing of all though, was when I asked my friend if he tried it. He is friends with a guy who works for the company that manages the servers EA games use for multiplayer. This guy is always straight with him about every upcoming release, gets us all beta keys when the games are in closed betas, etc. He told my friend not to even bother downloading the Hardline beta, because it was absolute garbage. And so he didn’t. I wish I had gotten that same advice on time.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I’m sure you can get over those 3 “wasted” minutes that cost you absolutely fuck all.

  13. Lion Heart says:

    im sure i read that they were concidering annualising it at one point last year or the year before

  14. Shooop says:

    This is what people want obviously. BF4 was BF3 reskinned and sold for $60 and was a huge seller so why not do the same thing?

  15. HisDivineOrder says:

    They talk a lot. Then you play it and you realize… it’s not trying to be Battlefield 4.

    Somehow, it’s trying to be worse than Battlefield 4.

    Not really the right progression.

    In truth, it seems like they had this idea where they’d be like Payday, but couldn’t fully commit to the concept.

  16. Chuckleluck says:

    “The plan, then, was simple: put Visceral on a Battlefield pseudo-expansion to test their Battlefield chops.”

    RPS, a pseudo-expansion doesn’t cost $60.

  17. zerosociety says:

    Surprised to find I’ve been enjoying the Hardline Beta. Plays closer to (the glorious) Bad Company 2 than Battlefield 3 (or 4 I assume.) Netcode seems fine as well. Requires a lot more in the way of small unit tactics than the later BF games, seem too. Also a lot more focused and fast-paced. That’s what leads me to the Bad Company 2 comparisons.

  18. xenogrant says:

    Now who’s to say that they’re not planning of releasing at least two battlefield titles a year.