‘Enhanced destruction’ would have been too low key for Battlefield. In their campaign to return to the mad destruction levels of Bad Company, DICE have come up with ‘Levolution’, which if you hadn’t noticed is a combination of 'level' and 'evolution'. Crazy buzzwords aside, the new destruction capabilities in Battlefield 4 are beyond exciting. Prepare to flood an entire city.
We’ve all seen the tower collapse in Siege of Shanghai about a thousand times since it was revealed at E3, but that’s just the start. In the Road to Battlefield 4 blog, DICE Lead Multiplayer Designer Thomas Andersson explained what to expect in the game’s destructible environments: “The design philosophy for the Levolution set-pieces is to not just be happy with the spectacle of it, but make it matter in terms of gameplay as well. There should be pros and cons with a skyscraper coming down so that you have to carefully weigh the consequences of your actions and how it will affect your team. We’ve also tried to make sure the drawbacks to such an event don’t always affect the same type of player (i.e. always affecting pilots, or infantry, etc.).
“The triggers for these big events can almost be treated like sub-objectives that some players will want to protect from attacks while others will want to divert some resources to make sure that it happens. Because we love destruction, that’s a very common trigger for the set-pieces – but, for example, you will also be fighting over starting and stopping a countdown to a warhead.”
The above trailer shows off the set-piece moment from the recently revealed Paracel Storm map, where destroying a wind turbine out at sea causes a destroyer ship to crash into the beach, splitting the line of sight and creating a new anti-air position on the ship’s deck. Another unnamed map featured in the trailer shows how destroying a levee will pour water into a cramped street-filled city map, turning those vehicle-packed walkways into canals.
Andersson stresses that Levolution isn’t all about big, explosive moments, but also about the little things. You’ll be able to shoot out power boxes to plunge areas into darkness, giving you the drop on enemies who don’t have night vision goggles on stand by.
There are also bollards in one map that can be raised and lowered to prevent vehicles driving into certain areas. “We’ve seen players act as gate keepers to let their own vehicles through but hindering enemy progress by raising the bollards again when opponent vehicles approach. In this case, it creates a dynamic zone of infantry combat where the combat means something concrete in gameplay terms – the victorious side will have power over which vehicles can enter the highly sought area of the map where armored support can mean the difference between holding the base and quickly losing it” said Andersson.
After the disappointingly minimal levels of destruction in Battlefield 3, it looks like DICE are really going to town on Battlefield 4. It might not be every-wall-must-go in the same way as Bad Company 2 was, but the massive changes caused by the set-pieces, combined with the changing weather and the more immediate possibilities like taking out the lights, makes Battlefield 4 sound the most dynamic game in the series yet.