Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was selected as the 2010 Shooter of the Year by PC Gamer UK. So why, four years later and despite insistence that it's "still out there," is there still no Bad Company 3? DICE chief Karl-Magnus Troedsson says he knows people want a sequel, the problem is that the studio can't quite figure out exactly what people loved about the series.
It's not that Troedsson and company think the Bad Company games were substandard by any measure; if anything, it's the opposite. "Some people say they found the multiplayer controls faster and more direct," he told Eurogamer. "Some people liked the single-player and the characters and the humor. People love different things about it. It's starting to almost get to that place where, if we were to make a sequel to Bad Company, what would than even imply?"
"It's scary to go back and try to remake an old fan favorite when actually no-one can really put their finger on what it is people love. Bringing back the characters and creating a great single-player out of that, sure, I can understand that," he said. "But some people say this: the Bad Company 2 multiplayer is the best you've ever done. Okay, why is that? It's hard for people to articulate what that is, which is actually hard for us. It would be hard to remake something like that."
Here's a thought: Start with interesting, not-too-serious characters, throw them into an interesting, slightly over-the-top and occasionally goofy story, and wrap it all up with plenty of guns, explosions and small-scale, class-based online combat. It might just work.
Mar 3, 2014
Announcement - Valve
The gold-obsessed scamps of Battlefield: Bad Company will return, DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson has revealed. Of course, he revealed this at an event for Battlefield 4, which, as you might imagine, means that we won't be seeing the third entry in the series for a while. Especially with DICE's commitments away from modern military men shooting each other, with Mirror's Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront.
"My feeling is that I would love to do it," Gustavsson said. "For me, when we started the company with 1942, it was really a work of passion. And then we worked our way through the era of different wars, and I loved them all, like my little babies. When it came to Bad Company, it was creative freedom; don't take yourself too seriously.
"So I love it. I want to see it again. Whether it can happen now with the newly announced Mirrors Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront... but we'll see," he said. "Trust me, the Bad Company isn't forgotten, they are just on a very long vacation. So they are out there, they're coming back."
For singleplayer Battlefield fans, this is probably good news, with Bad Company 2 offering heaps more personality than the largely superfluous and, at times, actively rubbish Battlefield 3 campaign. Beyond that, the online portion also felt different. Not sillier, per se, but less dedicated to the Gritty™ Massive™ Warfare™ of the latter entries in Battlefield's main wing. Bad Company 2's Rush maps have been responsible for some of my favourite bits of co-ordinated multiplayer action and, however Battlefield 4 turns out, it would be nice to see them return to that eventually.
Fans of the Battlefield spin-off Bad Company began to despair after no news of Bad Company 3 surfaced at E3. But DICE executive producer Patrick Bach wants you to know that Bad Company isn’t dead, it’s just sleeping.
Speaking to IGN at E3, Bach said that DICE doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to work on Bad Company 3 right now. “We can always find talented people around the world,” he said, “The Bad Company series is by no means killed or anything, it’s still out there.”
It’s not hard to believe that DICE is operating at full capacity right now. The Stockholm-based developer is currently putting the finishing touches on Battlefield 4 and just announced Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge 2 at E3. DICE’s new American studio, DICE LA, was recently established to bring on American talent and help carry some of the load.
According to Bach, parts of the Bad Company series, like destructible environments and squad commands, have been absorbed into Battlefield 4’s multiplayer. “We merged the Battlefield main game with Bad Company and we’ll continue to do it. I won’t say we’ll never build another Bad Company game again, but right now we’re focusing on Battlefield 4.”
Battlefield 4 will be released worldwide in late October (without mod support, we learned yesterday at E3) and early November this year. For the latest from E3, check out our complete coverage.
It's been over three years since Battlefield: Bad Company 2 surfaced as a joyously action-filled addition to the multiplayer scene, but things have quieted down of late. In the midst of the ever-growing Battlefield 4 hype, might things still be quietly operating down for the Bad Company franchise? Unfortunately not, says DICE.
The news was spotted by Eurogamer, who stumbled upon a telltale tweet in response to a BC2 fan asking if it would receive a sequel. "We love the Bad Company series, but don't have it in active development," said the representative manning the Twitter account. "Battlefield 4 is our main focus for the year."
It's sad news for those of us who loved BC's unending multiplayer thrills. While Battlefield 4 is specified as the focus for the next year, there's no word on what will happen in 2014. After all, with the current way that sequels to successful shooty hits are slingshotted out of studios, it's unusual for a franchise as prominent as Bad Company to take such a hiatus, let alone return after it. Would you play a Bad Company 3, or are you instead holding out for Battlefield 4's explosive late-year release?
Mar 22, 2013
Article by John Strike
Next week we'll catch our first proper glimpse of Battlefield 4, and if the picture on the press invite is anything to go by, DICE's latest in the supersized shooter series will stick with the near-modern-day setting. Also: it will have rain. Though I'm delighted by the presence of these delicately rendered drips, with over 700 Battlefield hours under my belt, and a clan to lead, I have a few more items on my wishlist.
One of the most frustrating parts of Battlefield 3 is spawning and dying immediately in one of four equally infuriating ways. Firstly, you may spawn on a squad beacon that looks clear but has snipers watching it and deliberately not destroying it. Secondly you may spawn on a squad leader who’s about to step on a grenade. Thirdly you may spawn on a a flashing Conquest flag half-capped by an enemy that has every spawn place covered. Or you can find yourself at the mercy of a point-hungry medic under fire in some god forsaken corner of Operation Metro, being revived and instantly killed by a support soldier on overwatch. Regardless of how it happens, it feels like a frustrating waste of time.
DICE’s answer to this was to add a one-second ‘safety time’ in BF3 which allowed you to grasp your bearings and start firing. It's a great solution for the vulnerable spawnee, but it creates a knock-on imbalance for the spawnee's opponents, who aren't rewarded for their skill in quickly spotting an enemy. You can often empty a clip into a freshly spawned enemy, and then perish during the reload. By protecting newly-spawned players, DICE have penalised the abilities of their opponents. Admittedly, they've sweetened the pill: deaths from which you’re revived don't count towards the scoreboard, but this alleviates little of the annoyance.
There’s no easy fix here, but it's an issue DICE must address. While it could be resolved by a wholesale restructure of the spawn system, I feel like revives and squad-spawning are elements that set Battlefield apart from its rivals. It would be a shame to lose them entirely and revert back to static spawn points sheltered from the frontline. Planetside 2 allows you to decline revives from medics - that seems like a good solution to one part of the problem. Meanwhile, perhaps emphasising the risk of a certain spawn points would help alleviate the annoyance of being murdered instantly. Skull icons currently mark recent deaths on the minimap, but it could be made even more explicit: changing the colour of the spawn marker to a bright red if everyone who drops in there dies within moments. There are probably even more elegant solutions out there - let us know in the comments.
Smarter friendly fire indicators
A more specific problem is that of friendly fire or, rather, how the risk of friendly fire is flagged. Anyone who plays Battlefield 3 will have at some point been killed by an enemy who they've plainly seen but presumed is a friendly due to a blue/green tag above his head. What they're actually seeing is the ally marker of a team-mate some distance behind the hostile trooper. There’s no differentiation in the size or transparency of the tag to help you deduce this. I'd like to see friendly tags vanish if positioned directly behind an enemy.
More throwbacks to Battlefield 2
Whatever happened to the sweeping orchestral music at the start of games, or the support of a commander who could call in pin-point artillery? How could we forget what fun we had spotting a camping sniper for the commander as he dropped a jeep on his head in a brutal act of "cartillary". Whatever happened to those big 6-man squads and a class dynamic that never felt like it needed changing? Why did I seemingly sacrifice my netcode and framerate for destructible buildings? Why can I level up a character in a matter of hours?
Some of Battlefield 3 and BFBC2’s features have been fantastic and series has undoubtedly evolved in line with others, but I think much of the legacy of BF2 and perhaps even the identity of the Battlefield games has been lost along the way.
Deal with la... ...g
If I had a pound for every time I shouted, "He just shot me round a fucking corner!" I’d be able to pay transport costs for everyone on the server to come and sit in my lounge and play on LAN.
Of course, the UK's abysmal network infrastructure is rather out of DICE's hands, but the game's design can account for it up to a point. And, as BF3’s Close Quarters’ DLC maps illustrated, the netcode was never built for fast, twitchy encounters.
More scoring sounds and player barks
BFBC2 and BF3 are among the most sonically accomplished games ever made - witness the sudden subdued volume and tinnitus ring that follows a close detonation, or the way sounds echo off the walls of a confined space. These are key to the sense of embodiment that roots you right there in the action.
But they could expand their score-related sound indicators. Currently, there's only one sound used to represent everything from "YES! My mine blew up a tank" to "Bollocks I’m dead". You even hear the exact same soft ping if you clock up a teamkill. Surely a set of sounds could exist attributed to Battlefield 3’s huge number of bonuses.
I also quite miss the use of non-English languages from Battlefield 2 and BFBC2. As an English-speaking player there was an exciting vulnerability in not being able to interpret enemy barks - although, if you played the game long enough, you began to unconsciously assimilate the phrases. If I ever get stuck in China or Russia, I will be able to confidently ask for a lift from passing jeeps, although I suspect "Grenade!" and "Enemy tank spotted!" may be rather more hazardous to use in everyday conversation.
Bigger, more malleable environments
Visually stunning and relentlessly tested maps are crucial if Battlefield 4 wants to be what we need it to be. Aside from perhaps Operation Metro, BF3 has been a leader in flowing and multi-layered map design, with minimal choke-points and plenty of neat little hidey-holes.
Playing the Armoured Kill maps in particular I was struck with how good the game looks on a larger scale, and feel that even more could be done for Battlefield 4 to make those environments more interactive. Alborz Mountains for example has heaving great rock formations above Conquest flags which I'm just itching to destroy. If you can flatten a two-storey building why not bring rocks and rubble crashing down around your foes?
Consider Alborz' steep inclines, laden with snow. It would have been fantastic if you could cause avalanches. What better way to ambush a convoy of attackers in a ravine than by blocking the road with snow? Imagine breaking up those sheets of ice in the lower valleys with tank fire, sending crossing troops into the sea on impromptu icebergs.
Vast, open environments and destructibility were the defining features of previous Battlefield games. In the singleplayer at least - DICE abandoned that in favour of aping Call of Duty's cinematic linearity. This was definitely a mistake. This is what the "next-gen" should be all about: wowing audiences with dynamic, interactive worlds, not funneling them through a slightly prettier duckshoot.
Consistency among patches
The running joke of game patches needing patches of their own has never seemed as true as in BF3. From its catastrophic server problems at launch to the frustrating wait between updates (thanks to them being tethered to patch approval processes on consoles), Battlefield 3’s patch history has been turbulent, but DICE’s support for the game has been strong.
However, as a player, there’s one aspect of this patching process that has been slightly frustrating: the radical changes to the strengths and weaknesses of the game’s arsenal. Game balance is obviously an ongoing process, but it seems that something's gone wrong in your QA or beta-testing process if, after launch, you end up shifting weapons and vehicles into completely different brackets of strength and agility. As a gamer the consistency of your instruments is important, and a more thorough closed beta or external game testing by trusted members of its community would make DICE’s Battlefield 4 a game to remember.
That's my wishlist - what's yours? Let us know what you want to see from Battlefield 4 in the comments and add me on BL @ Stryk_uk if you like hardcore mode and teamwork!
Tricksy modders have wrestled control of Battlefield: Bad Company 2's architecture from DICE's iron fist. Using... magic, probably, the community at Emulator Nexus have reverse engineered EA's servers, allowing support for custom matches that support modifications.
In layman's terms? Super powered helicopter rocket attacks are go.
Accessing modified servers simply requires downloading a tiny .dll file for your BC2 directory. Hosting one is vastly more complicated. Instructions are available here, for those who understand this sort of thing.
While Bad Company 2 is a bit long in the tooth, it seems Emulator Nexus' co-founder NoFaTe is also working on Battlefield 3 server emulation. It's still in the early stage, with no public release mentioned, but could potentially lead to user-hosted modified servers in that game too.
Nov 21, 2012
EA Games VP Patrick Soderlund has been talking to OXM about the various projects underway at DICE right now, and it sounds like there's more going on beyond Battlefield 3 DLC and Battlefield 4. "The DICE guys are roughly 300 people in the Stockholm studio," said Soderlund. "Not all of them are working on Battlefield things, and that's intentional, because we don't want to become a Battlefield factory."
"The minute we start saying 'you're going to make a Battlefield game for the rest of your life', they're going to go some place else," he added. "So for them to make great Battlefield games there need to be other things for them to do as well. That's why we have people who move around quite a bit.
Update: Regarding those other projects, "Mirror's Edge 2 is in production at DICE," says former Battlefield producer Ben Cousins in a tweet spotted by PCGamesN, a fact that is supposedly "general knowledge in the Stockholm dev scene."
But what could those non-Battlefield things? My hopeful heart cries "Mirror's Edge 2!" but that's something it does every few minutes whatever the news (the update above gives me even more hope). The Frostbite engine is being used all over EA now, it's also possible that DICE's engineers are also working with the likes of Bioware and the Need for Speed team to help them get the most out of the new tech.
Battlefield 4 is due late next year/early 2014. If it's playing by BF3's model that'll be followed by a year of DLC leading up to Battlefield 5 or a new Bad Company, but it's impossible to know just yet. A year is a long time in FPS land.
Deadline are reporting that Fox are going to develop an "action comedy" TV series based on Battlefield: Bad Company. Writing duties will fall to John Eisendrath, one of the pens behind Alias and, among other things, Beverly Hills 90210. Also in the mix are Sony TV and Adam Sandler's production company, Happy Madison.
DICE’s Patrick Bach and EA’s Patrick O’Brien will also be sticking their oars in, but, to hear Deadline describe it, the plot will depart from the games', with the four loveable rogues choosing to escape military life and head into the private sector, only to be betrayed and hunted by their nefarious commanding officer.
It's sort of an odd IP to pick up given that a) they seem to want to make The A-Team instead, b) most people play Battlefield for the multiplayer and b) the enjoyably silly but perfunctory singleplayer plots were a rather brazen amalgam of film and TV influences in the first place: everything from Three Kings and Aliens to Larry the Cable Guy.
As to whether this heralds the return of the troublesome foursome to gaming, DICE have been evasive. The question was put to Lars Gustavsson during a recent live chat to celebrate Battlefield's anniversary.
"Last we heard from the misfits in Bad Company was a postcard in June from Bahamas where Haggard and the group had opened up a beach bar," he said, before adding, "will keep you posted... ;)"