It Seems So obvious now that the sequel to Battlefield 1942 would set itself in the here-and-now of contemporary military conflict Less obvious is how well the game would again lead the way, further honing the balance of man and machine with regard to war, and introducing a concept of character persistence that in BF2142 is about to reach a level more characteristic of your typical MMO.
In no small part, Lars Gustavsson deserves some credit He's been around since the early days of Codename: Eagle, produced Battlefield 1942 and was the lead designer during the making of Battlefield 2. He must have done something right because he's still in the job, now as the creative director for the Battlefield franchise...
"When we were done with Battlefield 1942, we looked at a number of options; whether we would remain with the WWII era. go Cold War or even try Vietnam - this was before we even started making Battlefield Vietnam. We could probably make games about WWII forever - people don't seem to tire of it. but as a developer you want to create something that you're interested in. which means trying to bring some novelty into it. So we always kept an eye on contemporary warfare. I guess what made us hesitate to begin with, was if we were to go there, we'd want to go all the way, with wire-guided missiles and all that - and we knew that to do all that would be a challenge. But in the end, after Battlefield Vietnam. we decided to go for it since it was something we all wanted to do."
"We'd talked to Trauma Studios while they were making the Desert Combat mod. As a designer, I love talking to the modding community in general. I tend to look at games from the root up - from a designer's perspective - while they look from the surface and try to dig in and see what we intended to do. Having those two different perspectives makes it very interesting to discuss the game, so lots of meaningful discussions went on and we felt that those guys could definitely contribute.
"They helped us a lot with prototyping. We wrote, designed and had lots of things we wanted to try out, so while our time was spent in Stockholm creating the new engine, we had these guys implementing our ideas into the old Battlefield 1942 code. They worked really hard, delivering a new build once or twice a week, which meant we had massive playtest sessions. It was a very good way of proving gameplay before we spent time implementing it into the new engine."
"We had thought about setting the game across many real-world places, but for LCr every day we were designing the game - where we picked a city or area that we felt could work well -we'd research it and then a bomb would go off there. With all that going on, we realised we shouldn't really be making a game out of it. So we made BF2 into the sandbox that Battlefield's always been about: you pick a location that's a decent approximation, you pick the hardware you've seen on Discovery Channel and you let people have some fun without having to step too heavily into the dreadful reality of it.
"There are still people around who experienced WWII, but in that war it was easier to distinguish between good and bad. Nowadays the whole world is a gravestone. For us, it's about having fun. We don't do 100% realistic real-world simulations - we have real-world recognition instead, with action."
"We went to shooting ranges, museums with old and new stuff; we also went to Duxford to look at the aeroplanes. I actually had three weeks holiday in England and went to see the Fairford Air Show with all the modern jets, which was amazing. I'd love to get to fly a modern jet fighter, by the way!
"In Sweden, we have mandatory military service, so most of the team have done some type of military service, which means we've had experience in tank and trucks and of laying in trenches. We also brought in helicopter pilots who gave us the basic knowledge of how those machines work. They even sat down with the game and helped us tweak them so that they resembled the real things as much as possible."
"Looking at 1942, we were pretty pleased with the LXr vehicle experience overall. The soldier experience wasn't as solid though - collision was poor - it felt like you were stuck in glue whenever you tried to turn round. Generally, there was an overall lack of precision. So for BF2, we put together a large internal team whose job was to focus on improving the soldier experience. This group involved network programmers, sound designers, animators and so on, and on a daily basis they concentrated on getting a much better feel for the on-foot combat. Personally, I definitely feel that we took a huge step forward - excuse the pun. Going back and playing 1942, the soldier experience strikes me as being quite crude."
"We actually prototyped a number of new game modes, but we never really felt they were good enough to kick out the good-old Conquest mode. We tried hard to get CTF in there, but in the end it came down to testing. As we were promising 64-player games, we had 150 people testing it, and to have them test a new game mode on top of finding bugs - in the end, it meant we were running out of time. But in BF1942 and Codename: Eagle, I really liked CTF - the addition of vehicles makes it so much more dynamic, which you don't find in other shooters. But in the end, sitting back and looking at the whole picture, we felt we had to focus on teamplay and all these other areas, rather than tossing in a couple of game modes just to be able to write it on the back of the box."
Persistence Of Vision:
"To begin with, we were quite hesitant about having persistent ranking and unlockable items. The ranking system I was fine with, but we didn't want to have someone who was good at the game and would rank-up quickly, and who would then end up unlocking an item that would make him even better. In a game where you aim for a good balance, it didn't seem a good way of keeping that balance. But the way we ended up doing it, by including unlockable weapons that were better in one aspect, but worse in another, I think that worked out well."
"We were off to a really bad start when the first patch created as many bugs as it solved. Our testing processes hadn't been worked out; the way we go from bug-fixing to verifying. You spend two-and-a-half years of your life working hard to make a good game, so to then have part of the game's reputation tainted with bugs was upsetting. That puts it high on the agenda of things to change. So the whole of last yeauwas spent getting the system working in the right direction and we're now at a stage to take BF2142 into an open beta, just to make sure that we deliver something good. It's been a long, tough road to walk down."
"What probably surprised me the most was the ranking aspect and how people hooked onto the concept When we released the game all the ranking servers were full, so we very quickly had to scramble more servers to get people playing. We're pleased with how it turned out and we've realised that Battlefield is as much a service as it is a game. Everyone talks about their stats, even my brother, who's a Battlefield fanatic. It gives another dimension to a game that used to hook people for a certain time, but now constantly rewards you for your efforts."
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode