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This is Battlefield 4

battlefield 4.jpg

For those of you who are not immersed in Bioshock Infinite's floating city of Columbia, you may be interested to know that EA officially revealed Battlefield 4 at Metreon Theater in San Francisco. Below you'll find the first gameplay, yes gameplay, video reveal for the game. It's kinda awesome.

Like I said, awesome right? I'm no expert, but I reckon that DICE's Frostbite 3 is the equal, if not better than the CryEngine 3 and Unreal Engine 4. If what we are seeing in this video is for real, bonafide gameplay - and their's no reason to think it isn't - then I think we can agree that we have finally crossed the barrier between pre-rendered and in-engine animation. The game looks so incredible, I Iooked up a word to describe it and got this: pulchritudinous. This game is pulchritudinous.

DICE's Frostbite 3 is just resplendent with great features. It renders faces with amazing realism, lighting effects look very natural and the particle effects are just WOW! The demo you see was apparently played in real-time in the Metreon on giant movie screen, running on a current-gen PC (yes Battlefield 4 is apparently a current-gen game) using an Xbox controller.

What's interesting to me about the whole tone of the this reveal, though, is its emphasis on the single-player campaign, since the Battlefield franchise has typically always been multiplayer focused. Not to mention the last time Battlefield went singleplayer, the results were less than encouraging. Speaking shortly after the presentation Executive Producer for the game, Patrick Bach, insisted that their intention with this demo wasn't about the tech, but to show off the human interaction between the characters. DICE's intent is to incorporate the dynamic unscripted moments from multiplayer into the campaign.

“BF4 is a seminal moment for the series. We will be bringing more of the dynamic moments from the multiplayer into the single-player. It is a directed gaming experience, but it much more open – just like our multiplayer. We also increased the depth by being able to direct your squad mates, use vehicles and destruction, and huge environments that give you more tactical choice. We will have a lot more to tell you and show you as the year goes on.”

Speaking with Eurogamer, Bach elaborated that as impressive as Frostbite 3 is, it is just a tool and conceded that games in general needed to be about more than just polygons and particle effects.

“There have been struggles, of course, with the whole mindset change. When you talk next-gen, we’re not talking consoles, we’re not talking technology any more, because most new technology is based on an evolution of old technology. It’s more memory. It’s more powerful GPUs. It’s more powerful CPUs. But it’s still the same technology at its core, and you can do more with it. Next-gen needs to be more than just more polygons. To us, it’s like, how do we evolve the gameplay? How do we evolve the narrative? How do we evolve the things around the technology? How do we make it more Battlefield?

“So, moving elements from multiplayer into single-player is one way of evolving it. How do you get people to care about the characters, is also lifting the bar, rather than just doing the stereotypical stupid shooter, where you don’t care about the missions or why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why do these guys around you even exist?”

If that's DICE's approach to Battlefield 4, then the game could well turn out to be something special, beyond just being a pulchritudinous face.


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