EA's Battlefield games, generally speaking, aren't known for the strength of their single-player campaigns, and Battlefield Hardline looked set to stick to that tradition when it was first revealed as a multiplayer cops-and-robbers blast-fest. But EA seems determined to make single-player a relevant part of the experience, and the 12 minutes gameplay trailer released today suggests that it might actually be able to pull it off.
Can Battlefield Hardline's sudden delay to 2015 engooden a game whose beta wasn't terribly well received? Ignore the fact that I just murdered the English language there with the word 'engooden' and focus on these details about the game's story mode, which until now has been shrouded in mystery. Admittedly a mystery no one really cared too much about, like the premise of The Leftovers or what happened to Walt in Lost, but a mystery all the same. Hardline's single-player tells the story of two framed cops who bust out of prison to clear their names (by shooting lots of people, as is the custom). Actors from The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and, er, Nash Bridges are on-board to do the voices. Cheech Marin isn't one of them, disappointingly.
Back in June, the Battlefield Hardline debut trailer revealed that the game would launch on October 21. Today, however, DICE VP Karl Magnus Troedsson announced that the game has been pushed into 2015, so the studio will have enough time to properly implement the ideas and improvements that emerged from the June beta.
It's not often that "fewer explosions" tops a game studio's to-do list, especially when the game in question is something like Battlefield Hardline. But it's number one on the latest edition of the "Community's Most Wanted" list of changes Electronic Arts and Visceral is making to the game.
The Battlefield Hardline beta ended just a week ago, but Electronic Arts says a number of significant changes have already been made to the game based on feedback from the players. Ten of those changes are detailed in the new "Community's Most Wanted," a standing list of updates and improvements that will be maintained until the day the game is launched.
Battlefield Hardline only has one more week in beta, so to make sure players see everything it has to offer all firearms and gadgets have been unlocked. This means you won’t have to earn your right to access things like the Ballistic Shield, Breaching Charge or Decoy: you can now access them in your loadout menu on Battlelog no questions asked. Meanwhile, several fixes and improvements have been made to the audio and netcode.
Sorry, Battlefield: Hardline, it's nothing personal. Your cops and robbers CTF battles have the subtlety of a playground pile-on, but I've managed to extract a few moments of fun from the chaos. I like the violent, bass fart of your P-90, as I did in Battlefield 4, and Battlefield 3. And I like the way you use the Frostbite engine to fill the air with floaty bits of burning chaff even though I have no idea where it all comes from. The problem is the competition. There's just so much more laughter and joy to be had in a seven year old free game called Team Fortress 2.
There was a time when Electronic Arts was literally the worst company in America. That time was last year, actually, and even though it managed to avoid the three-peat in 2014, there's no question that EA has a long way to go to shed its less-than-sterling reputation. Fortunately for those concerned about such things, CEO Andrew Wilson has a plan.
It seems like only a week ago that the Battlefield Hardline beta was a closed affair, accessible to only the most fortunate and well-connected of the world's virtual warriors. And you know what? It was only a week ago, roughly, but that doesn't matter anymore, because those doors have now swung wide open. Want in? All you have to do is sign up.
Many assumed that with the announcement of Battlefield: Hardline, Electronic Arts had moved the series to an annual release schedule. This is incorrect, according to EA Studios executive VP Patrick Söderlund, who insists that the quick turnaround for Hardline is more a result of the publisher allowing its studios to work on the games they want to make. In actual fact, the cops and robbers concept has been kicking around for more than a decade.
The Battlefield games aren't averse to beta testing. Hardline's closed beta began this week, and previous games have given fans a chance to play a limited pre-release segment. The problem, traditionally, is that these betas are more akin to a demo, and that—as Battlefield 4's long-standing issues prove—rarely help the developers catch and squash bugs.
DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has now said that, for future Battlefield games, the developer would consider a move to an early access model.
Battlefield Hardline is an odd patchwork of action crime flicks and large-scale Battlefield 4 warfare. I've been playing the closed beta, and though speeding down a freeway in a cop car is a new experience, it feels a lot like BF4—except that seeing a uniformed police officer wielding an RPG is uncanny. A few days before the E3 reveal, I asked Visceral Games VP and GM Steve Papoutsis to explain why, for instance, the cops and criminals have military-grade weapons.
Alert: During EA's reveal of Visceral's crime-themed Battlefield Hardline, it also made the surprise announcement that the beta starts today. Right now.
Shortly before E3, both Evan and Tyler played Battlefield Hardline, Visceral's new law enforcement vs. criminals take on the traditionally war-themed Battlefield series. As Evan expresses in his preview, we're concerned that Hardline multiplayer (EA isn't showing single-player yet) feels too Battlefield-ey to really express the asymmetrical nature of heists. It's certainly fun in the way Battlefield 4 is fun: see it for yourself as Evan and Tyler discuss their thoughts over gameplay footage Tyler captured during his play session.
Looking for reasons to watch this year's EA conference? How about Mirror's Edge 2, Battlefield Hardline, The Sims 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, plus any new announcements they're secretly planning, and probably some sporty-sport-sports? There are plenty of Mirror's Edge fans here in the office, so imagine some "ooohs" and "aaahs" when DICE show more of ME's gleaming city, or "nyaaaarghs" if they've put a minigun in it. You never quite know, do you? But that's what makes it exciting. Head below to watch the show.
The Electronic Three is nigh. Next week, the entire gaming industry will descend on E3 2014, eager for big announcements at flashy press conferences and as many video games as can fit in LA's massive convention center. There will be new PC games and new PC hardware. That's all expected. But what about the unexpected? What E3 announcements will blow our minds? Is this the year Gabe Newell finally walks onto a stage and says "Half-Life 3 is done, and you can play it right now," and we all leave E3 early?
Probably not. As we psyche ourselves up for E3, the PC Gamer staff have made some wild and not-so-wild predictions about Oculus and Steam Machines and the biggest surprises we'll see at this year's show.
With under a week to go before its E3 announcement, and after a few leaks (including this trailer earlier today), EA has officially released the first trailer for Battlefield Hardline. Instead of Battlefield's usual war theme, Hardline is about "the battle between cops and criminals," and Dead Space developer Visceral Games is on the job. According to the trailer, it'll be out October 21st.
Visceral Games and Electronic Arts are not doing a very good job keeping Battlefield Hardline under wraps. Following the game's leak last week, which was followed an official announcement, which was then followed by an extensive (if old) internal demo of the game, new Battlefield Hardline footage has emerged showing how the forthcoming crime shooter will look in action. It looks like Battlefield, just with police bikes.
Electronic Arts is moving full steam ahead with the recently-revealed Battlefield Hardline, but that doesn't mean it's giving up on Battlefield 4. In fact, DICE VP Karl Magnus Troedsson took to the Battlefield Blog today to assure fans that the game still has lots of life left.