What's your perception of what gamers want? Original? Not original? And did that feed into your plans?
PB: Yeah, absolutely. Consumers -- I'm a consumer, so I know what I want. I want the same, but different. It's the classic "same, same but different" mentality. It needs to be similar to what I had, but it needs to be unique at the same time. And the question is only, "what is the same?" and "what is unique?" How daring do you need to go?
Because if you only did consumer research, you would only get feedback saying, "I want it like it was, but better." Yeah, but if you do it like it was, and better, it would be the same, more or less. It's not a new game. So our job is to create a new vision for something, that the consumer can say, "Oh, I get it! But it actually feels quite different. It's brand new."
And especially in the shooter genre. If you create a military shooter that is in modern day, and you use this environment, they might feel very much the same. So what do you do to make it feel different? And we focus a lot on the physicality, the presence in the world, the animations, getting it to look and play in a more physical way than we've ever seen before. And again, to do that, we need to create technology to support that, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So you could see it as, "Oh, it's just a couple of steps forward," but to do that, you have to go back to the foundation of what you're building, and rebuild it from scratch. Because what we knew when we started the project was that you couldn't just add another building block on top of it, because it wouldn't feel new and fresh. So, to us, unique is being daring -- and just take down the whole house, build a better foundation, and build a higher building.
And that's why you wanted to work with a new engine?
PB: Absolutely. The vision for the game was bigger than we could have built with the old engine, and so we just have to accept our faith and start building a new engine from scratch.
And engine development preceded, but was concurrent with, game development?
PB: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. This is the first game that is released with the Frostbite 2 engine, which means that the engine is more or less done when the game is done. And that's never a good way of building games. Because if you look, again, from a more monetary perspective, you want the safe bet. But building an engine from scratch is not the safe bet. But then again, if you build a new engine and you get out on the market with a game that actually makes a difference, then you're years ahead.
From a production standpoint, did you reach a point where as you're building the engine, there are things that you couldn't work on, or you had to wait for? How did you manage that?
PB: Oh, yeah. Yes, absolutely. That's the biggest challenge with building a game at the same time as the engine. You have loads of memory issues, you have performance issues. The engine is not optimized yet. You can't optimize an engine that is not complete. You need to complete it, optimize it, build more stuff, and then optimize. So we had to, in some cases, fumble in the dark a bit. We didn't know if we could build it -- so let's build it anyway, and hope that our tech guys can get it together.
And again, you need to know your team, and I know our tech guys are super eager to create something that is truly magnificent. And just looking at the game running on a console that is five or six years old, I'm quite amazed to see that you can do these things with 24 players, vehicles, big open spaces, destruction. So if you compare this to, for instance, our last game, Battlefield Bad Company 2, this is way, way more "next-gen", so to speak, than what we did before.