Ready for one of the most thrilling Battlefield experiences in the series’ long history? It’s a game of cops versus criminals in Battlefield Hardline – and you can get a taste of the action next week. From February 3-8, developer Visceral Games and publisher Electronic Arts will hold an open multiplayer beta on Xbox One, which features three different modes that unfold across a trio of maps.
Hotwire mode tasks the criminal team with stealing marked cars, while the cops attempt to pursue and repossess them, leading to some awesome high-speed chases.
The new Heist mode – as you might guess – involves the criminals attempting to break into a bank vault and evade the cops. And, of course, you can get in on Battlefield’s classic Conquest mode, an epic 64-player struggle for supremacy. The open beta will also include a sneak peek at Hardline’s Hacker game mode, along with a slew of vehicles, weapons, gadgets, and other gear.
To celebrate this occasion, we recently caught up with Visceral Games’ general manager and executive producer Steve Papoutsis to discuss how Hardline is retaining Battlefield’s beloved multiplayer experience, while also bringing its own signature style – including that exhilarating sense of speed – to the competitive online space.
Xbox Wire: What DNA is Visceral Games taking from previous Battlefield games? Were there any specific series pillars that you wanted to remain true to?
Steve Papoutsis: The cornerstone of Battlefield is the multiplayer. You need to have team play, you need to have strategy, you need to have all-out war, and you need to have cool classes that work well together. With our game, we are delivering all of that, plus we are making it faster than any Battlefield yet. And when I say it’s fast, I mean game modes like Hotwire – where you’re actually zipping around a map, hanging out a window, shooting guys, trading paint, doing jumps, crashing, and seeing damage on vehicles. It really just takes the whole idea of Battlefield multiplayer to the next level.
Xbox Wire: Is this increased speed being delivered primarily by the vehicles you drive?
Steve Papoutsis: It is the cars – but it’s actually even the speed at which the player moves. If you pull out your pistol, you actually get a speed boost; you actually move faster through the world. We’ve also got gadgets like rappelling hooks and zip lines that allow you to get to locations faster and create cool opportunities for team-centered players. It allows them to set up lines and traverse all the way across a map with one jump on a zip line. So it’s really fast, its really fun, and we’re hoping its gonna bring a lot of new players in.
Xbox Wire: Vehicles have always been an integral aspect of the Battlefield online dynamic. Does Hardline expand on the vehicle-based play?
Steve Papoutsis: Yes, it is really important that we have a good mix of vehicles to maintain the rock, paper, scissors mix that you expect. So we’ve got police helicopters, we’ve got fan boats, we’ve got a variety of different armored vehicles, muscle cars, sports cars, motorcycles… we’ve got the whole mix.
Xbox Wire: When players aren’t making their own “Smokey and the Bandit” moments in Hotwire, what other modes can they break – or uphold – the law in?
Steve Papoutsis: We actually have five all-new game modes we’re bringing to the mix, in addition to Conquest and Team Deathmatch. There’s a total of seven game modes. And we’ve got four different factions that you can play – two on the cops’ side, and two on the criminals’ side.
Xbox Wire: Levolution was a big selling point for Battlefield 4. Can we expect this feature to play an important role in Hardline‘s multiplayer matches?
Steve Papoutsis: The game is developed on the Frostbite Engine, and every map features Levolution. It’s not just eye candy Levolution in this game, though – it’s all about creating strategic advantages for your team. We’ve got big Levolution moments, like the crane moment that we had in our E3 beta. But then we also have cool mid-level Levolution moments, like we have in our grow house map in multiplayer; as a team, you can coordinate and say, “Alright guys, let’s all grab gas masks, because we’re going to light the grow house room on fire.” This creates a bunch of hot smoke in the air, and then suppresses people that don’t have gas masks on. That’s the kind of mid-level Levolution that we thought players would really enjoy… stuff that’s much more strategic and could be used to their advantage, or potentially to the disadvantage of the opposing team.
Battlefield Hardline’s Xbox One multiplayer open beta begins on February 3, ahead of its March 17 retail release. Get ready to lock and load!