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Hit Squad: Building Battlefield 3 Organically
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Hit Squad: Building Battlefield 3 Organically

October 24, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 5 Next

It sounds like a fair degree of gut feeling and intuition went into a project of this scale and this importance, which is almost hard to believe in a certain sense.

PB: Yeah, I know! I know. And come to think of it, why would anyone put this amount of money into a project that is based on gut feeling? You would think that doing more market research, doing more photo ops and reports, and more mechanical testing, would be the way forward.

But I think EA is such a mature company -- they know if they try to control the developers, they will just break things. And we have a lot of confidence from EA that we know what's best for the franchise. So that makes me very, very happy.

But then again, that also puts the pressure back on us -- because if we did consumer testing that told us that this was good, I could always blame the consumer testing. Now I have nothing to blame. I can only blame myself. And we in the team feel like, "Now, when we have done what we wanted, who will now back us?" It's up to us to prove it.

This is the first time in the mainline Battlefield franchise where we've had a single player campaign.

PB: Yes.

That must have put a lot of pressure to say, "How do we make the campaign live up to the standards that we set for ourselves?"

PB: Yeah, it is. It is actually quite interesting. Because people tend to see the single player as like, "Oh, it's the other part of the game." We have been building Battlefield games for so long that we see single player as the icing on the cake. It's pretty decent icing, but it's still a complement to what we see as the core of the franchise, which is the multiplayer.

So our focus is to make sure that we have the strong multiplayer component, because that's where we're going to spend the most hours. Single player you will play through once, maybe two times tops, because that's what people usually do with single player campaigns, and then they move over to multiplayer.

So we understand that our focus needs to be on making sure that the multiplayer is great, but we also want to use the power of Battlefield, the variety when it comes to locations, and vehicles, and different types of gameplay, and create an interesting narrative around that as well. But we do see it as a very pretty icing on the cake.

A couple years ago I think that would have been a weird statement, but when you look at what's emerged with these games, and with your direct competitor, at how the multiplayer sustains that franchise -- basically between installments.

PB: Yeah, yeah. I definitely think that if you don't have a strong multiplayer component in the first person shooter game today, then you better have a really, really good single player. I can't really see many games doing that, to be honest. I can't think of one, actually. There needs to be some kind of longevity in the product, and that needs to be beyond a single player campaign. Even if you had a really long one, it's not even close to how many hours you spend in multiplayer.

Were the people working on this game the same people who were working on Bad Company, or is it a separate team?

PB: It's somewhat the same people, yes. But it's far from only those people. This is a huge team, and we've had a lot of people working on it, and we've had for a long, long time.

I get the sense that it would probably out-scope anything you've done in the studio.

PB: Absolutely. This is way bigger than anything we did before.

How was that, as a challenge? Managing that, keeping that working?

PB: The challenge is actually accepting the right framework for everyone. What's the scope, what's the emotion, where do we put the focus? Rather than creating a design document, and then handing that out, and saying "This is what you're going to spend the next couple of years doing."

We have so many creative people working at the studio -- they only work at DICE because they want to build the games. So we don't really have to tell them to build a game; we need to tell people what game to build.

Because they will build a game; that's not an issue for us. It's more the framing of what that game is, rather than building at all. We don't have to tell people to put in extra hours to finish something, because it's their dream project. This is what they wanted to build, so they will make sure that it's great -- because they put so much pride in it.

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