Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is just over a week away, but developer DICE is already talking about its next big installment in the Battlefield franchise, Battlefield 3. Fredrik Liliegren, CEO of DICE from 1988 to 2000 and Studio Manager of DICE Canada from 2001 to 2006, discussed the game with GamingUnion.net. He says it's going to "absolutely blow everyone away."
When asked how the Battlefield series has developed since he left DICE, Liliegren mentioned Battlefield Heroes, and how that was something that was talked about for a long time. He also admitted that the franchise's first console outing, Bad Company, was pretty weak, but he says Bad Company 2 is going to be "really good." Then he added, "What the PC version is going to be, Battlefield 3, I think it's going to absolutely blow everyone away, but I can't tell you what it is, but it will blow people away."
"Even after three years?" the interviewer asked.
"That's why it's going to blow people away, because it's not Modern Warfare 2 PC, it's not that experience," the former CEO responded.
During his DICE keynote, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick spoke about the way he's perceived within the gaming industry, phrasing it in a way that all of us can understand.
"I don't know how this happened, but all my life I was the rebel flying the Millennium Falcon or the X-Wing fighter," stated Kotick. "And suddenly I wake up and I'm on board the Death Star."
Kotick also addressed one of his more infamous quotes in which he said something along the lines of "taking the fun out of game development."
"Sometimes that commitment to excellence, well, you can come across as being like a dick, and when I say things like 'taking the fun out of making video games,' it was a line that has been often-quoted lately, but it was a line I used for investors," he explained. "It was mainly because I wanted to somehow come across in a humorous way that we were responsible, in the way we made our games in that it wasn't some wild west, lack of process exercise and that we really did give some thought to the capital being used to provide a return of investment to shareholders. So I say things like 'taking the fun out of video games' knowing full well that all we're actually trying to do is keep the fun in the process because, as most of you know, when you're getting into crunch time it becomes really difficult to meet those milestones or get things polished the way you would like, that isn't a lot of fun. That is not what I meant by it."
The Activision exec admits to being somewhat removed from the creative process in game development, saying, "Sometime what winds up happening when you are 50,000 feet above is you can get insulated from that creative passion." Kotick cites how he originally dismissed Blizzard's Warcraft and Will Wright's The Sims as examples of this.
"A lot of times when you get caught up in the financial details of the business, it makes you overlook what's really important, which is who's passionate, who's committed, who's inspired and where's the next idea going to come from," he concluded.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is less than a couple weeks out, and the fists have started flying. EA has come out and said outright that DICE, the developer of Bad Company 2, is in a league of its own when it comes to online multiplayer. According to the publisher, Infinity Ward and Treyarch can't compete with it.
"DICE is at the forefront of defining the multiplayer and online vehicle warfare space and has substantial pedigree in this area following many years of success," EA product manager Will Graham told MCV. "We genuinely believe there isn't a developer out there that competes with DICE in this space, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is going cement that.
"The use of vehicles in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sets it apart from the competition and no one else in the industry does this better.
"This is also something the core are very excited about: DICE's history of delivering a multiplayer experience utilizing vehicles is something that sets it apart from anything else in the market. It's also an element that fits with the increasing emphasis on multiplayer for gamers in general."
Although it sounded like Warren Spector's mysterious Epic Mickey would be a Wii exclusive, there's hope yet that the game will make a venture to the PS3 and Xbox 360. Speaking at DICE last night, Disney execs Steve Wadsworth and Graham Hopper said that with Xbox 360 and PS3 motion controllers right around the corner, Epic Mickey might be a possibility for those consoles.
"The key mechanic [in Epic Mickey] is an ink and paint mechanic," said Hopper, who added that it seemed "completely intuitive to people" to play the game on Wii.
"We have a very large audience base that has Wiis in their home," he added. "[However,] that's not to say that we won't go to other platforms. If we started it 6 months ago we would have potentially thought differently about it."
So, for now, count Epic Mickey as a Wii exclusive, but this is a glimmer of hope that it could make its way into the HD realm.
After finishing work on God of War, game designer David Jaffe left Sony to create his own studio, Eat Sleep Play, which would pursue smaller games. Calling All Cars was one such game, but the servers for it were recently shut off, which speaks volumes about the game's success (or lack thereof). At DICE this week, Jaffe had some harsh words for his game in a discussion hosted by G4's Adam Sessler and Pitfall creator David Crane.
Sessler asked Jaffe if he would label Calling All Cars as a casual or hardcore game, to which Jaffe joking responded, "Well, I call it a mistake."
Jaffe explained how the game was made in a way that didn't fit the PS3's initial market. "While the game was cartoony, our gameplay was more hardcore and modeled after some of the great Midway arcade games like NBA Jam," he said. "So we had a casual theme, a hardcore play mechanic, on a machine people just spent $599 for. If we were to make it again we would have skinned it entirely differently."
He continued to criticize himself, saying he "made mistakes all over the place." One such mistake, according to him, was the game's pricing. "All we had was Xbox Live Arcade as the innovator in the space, but there weren't that many games like this at the time. $10 bucks? Why not?" he explained.
"I mean, we didn't completely fail -- we made a little money. But we didn't make enough to do more just like this," admitted Jaffe before adding, "There's a smarter way to think about it. Let's think a little more about what the consumer wants."
DICE today announced that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is on pace to become the fastest downloaded demo in EA history. Bad Company 2 has over two million demo downloads across Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network (combined) in the first five days of availability. The recently launched PC beta has also met great success, with hundreds of thousands of players already signed up.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to hear that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is already in the hands of almost 2½ million gamers, and it hasn’t even shipped yet,” said Patrick Bach, Senior Producer on Battlefield: Bad Company 2. “This massive rush to experience the game early is proof positive that action gamers are looking for more. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 delivers on every front. This is intelligent, strategic warfare that our competitors simply cannot replicate.”
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will be in stores on March 2, 2010 in North America and March 5, 2010 in UK for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC. The Limited Edition can be pre-ordered now on all platforms at no extra cost, with participating retailers worldwide (while supplies last).
Unsurprisingly, DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will be getting DLC as confirmed by senior producer Patrick Bach. It looks like there will also be additional, free content available from day one, but the company has plans for both free and premium DLC.
"We see the game as the first step to a longer experience," Bach told Worthplaying. "We have an in-game store where you get free content or you can buy new content to the game, so it's a very integral part of the game that we will have a long post-launch campaign. I think people will be thrilled to see what's in that already. On day one, you will get some really cool stuff."
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 releases March 2.
As you know, the PC beta (and Xbox 360 demo) for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 released late last week. I have been thoroughly impressed by it. In my preview, I noted that the graphics were quite impressive, but according to DICE, Bad Company 2 will look even better when it releases March 2.
"The 'high' texture detail level isn't implemented in #BFBC PC beta," tweeted DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson. "Is in the final release so will be a bit sharper."
This means we can expect even more detailed textures in the full release. Andersson has also noted that the final build will be getting quite a bit of optimization, meaning the frame rate will be tightened up.
The open PC beta for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 kicked off yesterday, and, of course, being the avid FPS gamer I am, I delved into it. I have played a little bit of the first Bad Company, but not substantially, making me a bit of a noob to the franchise spinoff. I've had time to play quite a bit of Bad Company 2's beta, and I can safely say I am impressed. Read on for my full impressions of it.