Battlefield 4's shiny reveal earlier this week in a gameplay trailer that provided a 17-minute window into the visuals of a fully armed and operational Frostbite 3 engine, but DICE is discouraging players and press from focusing too much on BF4's eye candy. In an interview with Eurogamer , Executive Producer Patrick Bach states a raw display of Frostbite tech isn't enough to attract gamers anymore, with more importance lying with how the studio intends to use the engine to advance the gameplay experience.
"We've come to a point where it's not important to talk about Frostbite that much," Bach says. "Frostbite is a tool. We've passed the point where we'll impress people by talking about the technological wonders. What'll impress people is the experience we'll get from the output from when you use the engine."
It's a thought likely applicable to other notable engines—Valve's Source, for one, touted strong technological accolades during its reveal but quickly became known as a simple vehicle for all kinds of playstyles, experiments, and genres.
Frostbite 3's graphical prowess is definitely cutting-edge—BioWare's slotting it into its next Mass Effect and Dragon Age , even—but Bach believes the concept of a next-gen Battlefield "needs to be more than just more polygons."
"To us, it's like, how do we evolve the gameplay?" he explains. "How do we evolve the narrative? How do we evolve the things around the technology? How do we make it more Battlefield? So, moving elements from multiplayer into single-player is one way of evolving it. How do you get people to care about the characters, is also lifting the bar, rather than just doing the stereotypical stupid shooter, where you don't care about the missions or why you're doing what you're doing, and why do these guys around you even exist?”
Though we've only been granted a glimpse of Battlefield 4, the initial gameplay trailer didn't do much to unsettle us from the thought that BF4's campaign will be just what Bach is bringing up: a stereotypical, cliche-ridden military campaign. Hopefully DICE has some surprises up their sleeve.
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Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?