DICE Q&A: Battlefield 4 and the Power of a New Generation

“Battlefield 4” is the genre-defining action blockbuster made from moments that blur the line between game and glory – moments found only in “Battlefield.”  Plus, get the “Battlefield 4 Second Assault Expansion Pack first on Xbox.  Check out the Xbox Wire exclusive interview below with Patrick Bach, Executive Producer on “Battlefield 4” from award-winning developer DICE and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renowned developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox.

What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware? 

Developing for a new hardware generation is always exciting and inspiring for us at game makers and players. At DICE, we have prepared ourselves well for this transition with the evolution of our next generation engine, Frostbite 3. If I had to pick one thing though it’s providing gamers with a deeper experience and connection to our games. With “Battlefield 4,” we’re able to do this in a couple ways. In single player, we’re going to deliver the most dramatic story we’ve ever created with real life character performances by actors like Michael K Williams from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, who bring out the emotion and believability of the action. 

In multiplayer, we’re delivering the epic 64-player battles that consoles players have been asking for. On Xbox One, the game will also be running at 60 fps without sacrificing the features that makes “Battlefield” great – all-out vehicle warfare, destruction, huge maps, and team play.

How will a new generation of hardware impact/change/revolutionize the future of your title/gaming?

I think time will tell as we’re just getting our hands and creative thinking around what these new platforms can do. In “Battlefield 4,” we’re pushing in every way that we can. Through SmartGlass, Xbox players will be able to view the overhead map during multiplayer matches and take advantage of the second screen. Also, with Kinect, we’re looking into features that enhance the controls including peeking and leaning and tracking head movement as well as incorporating voice commands. 

How will new-generation hardware be used to improve the multi-player experience in “Battlefield 4?”

It’s the shear fact that “Battlefield 4” will support 64-players and 60 fps for the first time on Xbox One. This is a big deal for us because it’s something we’ve always wanted to deliver but we couldn’t do it without taking away from the core “Battlefield” experience.

What’s required from a development perspective to produce a stunning 64-player online deathmatch with vehicles at 60-fps?

It all starts with the technology, and with Frostbite 3 we have one of the best engines in the industry. Once you have the tech, you need experience and a team in place. Many of the leads on the core “Battlefield” development team have been working together for years now, some since the beginning with “Battlefield 1942.” Now that we have the tech, the team and the hardware in place, we can create spectacular, 64-player matches at 60fps on the Xbox One. 

The return of “Commander Mode” is exciting for many “Battlefield” fans who utilized the feature in “Battlefield 2.” How will the experience change/affect the players experience on next-gen consoles?

Yes Commander Mode was a fan favorite that many wanted to see return and we’re excited to bring it back with “Battlefield 4.” We redesigned Commander Mode with a focus on intelligent warfare and enhancing the Commander vs. Commander experience. This means players on the ground will reap the rewards from their Commander doing the right things such as outsmarting their opponent using UAV’s, countering EMP strikes, etc.

And in true “Battlefield” fashion, cooperation pays off by providing the Commander more options and rewards to give his troops on the ground. We’re also including second screen support, so not only will Commander Mode be playable on Xbox One and Xbox 360, but for the first time players will have the ability to play as a Commander on their tablets via an internet connection. This gives our players the opportunity to play Battlefield 4 even when they are not in front of their Xbox One and Xbox 360. 

In addition to completely destroying buildings with the Levolution system, what are other ways in which players can alter the maps they play on?

Levolution is a design concept we came up with in the studio that speaks to the way players can alter the gameplay experience. It’s their actions, both big and small, that drive the action.  We’ve created these dynamic environments that react to your every move. Some things are massive like reducing a skyscraper to rubble or flooding an entire level in real-time. Also, in the Paracel Storm map we showcased at Gamescom, players can destroy the anchor to a warship docked off-shore causing it to crash on land and giving their team access to the anti-air cannons onboard. In addition, there are other actions that are smaller but hugely impact the game like shooting fire extinguishers to distract enemies or cutting the power of a building to blind opponents. It’s through our advanced Frostbite 3 engine that we’re able to deliver these game-changing new features to the game.