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After  Battlefield 4 , EA and DICE are changing how they make games
After Battlefield 4, EA and DICE are changing how they make games
June 20, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

June 20, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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    8 comments
More: Console/PC, Design, Production, Business/Marketing



"We have changed development processes, we've changed development timelines and we've changed testing processes and beta processes, all with a view to not have the issues again."
- Andrew Wilson, speaking to Eurogamer.

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson claims the company has changed the way it approaches game development in the wake of Battlefield 4's troubled launch.

In a far-ranging Eurogamer interview Wilson acknowledges that EA launched the game before it was ready to play, though he makes a point of positioning the game's issues as a result of the developer's attempt to "push the boundaries" of design and lays some of the blame at the feet of Microsoft and Sony.

"When you are building a game on an unfinished platform with unfinished software, there are some things that can't get done until the very last minute because the platform wasn't ready to get done," said Wilson, when asked about whether the problems with Battlefield 4 are symptomatic of a chronically frenetic approach to development. "What was happening with Battlefield 4, even as we were pushing all of this innovation, was a lot of it we couldn't test until really late in the phase. I believe it was unique."

Going forward, Wilson claims that the company will take pains to give its developers more time to work.

"You can lengthen development cycles," he said, when pressed by Eurogamer about how EA will change its approach to development. "You can give a much longer timeframe between final and launch to get a lot more testing on the game. You can change the development process whereby you have more stable build requirements throughout the entire set of development. You can start betas earlier so you get it out in the wild earlier with more people banging away at it."

This is in line with statements made by EA Studios executive vice president (and former DICE leader) Patrick Soderlund made during a conference call with shareholders back in January.

"We were convinced [Battlefield 4] was ready," said Soderlund, who went on to promise that the company was "taking multiple steps to incorporate what we've learned and integrate them into future products."

So is DICE, it seems.

"People in the studio have taken this very personally," DICE studio head Karl-Magnus Troedsson told Eurogamer. "It has led to some very tough discussions about what we're doing. We're looking forward, we're not looking backward any more, and saying, 'okay, what do we take out of this hardening experience and what does that mean for us moving forward?'"

The studio has already demonstrably changed the way it supports games after release, launching a public Battlefield 4 bug tracker and inviting players to test potential builds of the game via a special Community Test Environment client.

The full Eurogamer interview is worth reading, as it includes more commentary from both Wilson and Troedsson on the launch of Battlefield 4 and the future of the Battlefield franchise.


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Comments


Tom Todia
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I have had little issue with BF4 (luckily) and it is my favorite FPS of all time. Then again, my favorite before this was BF3 so I am biased. Just keep making games DICE, I promise to keep playing them and studying each one.

Daniel Miller
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It's unfortunately too little too late for me.
I've been a fan of BF since 2004 and have bought and played every game on nearly every platform, but this is my last.
They fucked up the core gameplay so bad to rush it out to compete with CoD, which didn't even sell that competitively.
So basically they rushed it out for nothing and alienated its whole audience.
I went back to 3 and had 100% more fun than the essentially broken experience that is BF4.
It isn't just bugs; the basic mechanics are completely ruined.
That's a damn shame considering what a wonderful holistic experience they created with Battlelog and Commander mode.
The new title, Hardline, is basically yawn inducing.
I stopped playing after 6 rounds.

EA should thank their lucky stars they also own the Titanfall franchise because that's my new Battlefield.
Not that one sale matters to them. :)
RIP Battlefield.

Kai Boernert
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i can fell you, I played till 3 and found from Battlefield 2045 the teamplay part got worse and worse and the base gameplay got broken for some cool fancy features.

Maria Jayne
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There was a time I respected owning up to mistakes. Now I'm very cynical and I just imagine the old saying....

"Better to ask for forgiveness than permission."

Ship it broken, pretend to feel bad and try harder next time.

Of course by "try harder" that means ship it as early access and sell it sooner.

Mike Higbee
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I call bullshit. EA is going to milk DICE for every penny just like every other dev they bought and killed.

Russell Sullivan
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"When you are building a game on an unfinished platform with unfinished software"

You mean the PS3 and XBox 360? Both were crashola.

Bob Johnson
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IT is all bs. They had a hard ship date.


Robert Casey
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"When you are building a game on an unfinished platform..." -- that was their first mistake. Should have done core development on PC, then ported. Chasing a moving target is always a bad idea.

"Wilson claims that the company will take pains to give its developers more time to work." -- gee, novel thought. Maybe instead of blindly relying on automated tests, you can have the software devs design out the bugs while they write code.

"You can give a much longer timeframe between final and launch to get a lot more testing on the game." -- you can also read the tea leaves and be flexible and smart about your launch date. Rigid timelines cost you more than a strategically late release.

"We were convinced [Battlefield 4] was ready," -- and that is the root of the problem. Too much of a culture of fear to reveal to the decision makers that the emperor has no clothes.

In their defense, though, they are at least admitting what happened and being transparent about positive change.


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