When Battlefield 4 was announced, some worried aloud that it didn’t look nearly different enough from its predecessor released just two years before.
But EA head Andrew Wilson reckons the game’s problems – and boy, Battlefield 4 has had problems – stem from exactly the opposite issue: Battlefield 4 was too big an idea to fit its own development cycle.
“Think about what Battlefield 4 was,” Wilson told Eurogamer. “64 player multiplayer, giant maps, 1080p, Levolution that was changing the gameplay design in an emergent way.
“There is a chance there are things you are going to miss through the development cycle. And you end up in a situation we had with Battlefield 4.”
Wilson said that the game’s release state was “unacceptable” to both him and DICE – and pointed out that EA had “worked tirelessly” to meet the promises they’d originally made for the game in the months since its launch.
But he said the publisher could “never guarantee” similar issues wouldn’t arise in new games in the future.
“It would be disingenuous for me to sit here and say, ‘We will never have an issue again’,” he explained. “Because that would mean we were never going to push the boundaries again. And I don’t want to be that company.
“I want to be a company that pushes to lead and innovate and be creative. But you can start to do things that give you a better handle and a better view about what the potential challenges might be.”
The overarching plan is to make sure EA developers get the meat of their games polished off quicker – allowing more time for internal testing and lengthy public betas.
“You can lengthen development cycles,” said Wilson. “You can change the development process whereby you have more stable build requirements throughout the entire set of development. You can start betas earlier so you get it out in the wild earlier with more people banging away at it.
“We have changed development processes, we’ve changed development timelines and we’ve changed testing processes and beta processes, all with a view to not have the issues again.”
Titanfall enjoyed a relatively smooth launch – but the potential police roadblock ofBattlefield Hardline looms ominously on the horizon. It’s Visceral’s first time with a large-scale multiplayer game, so let’s hope they have a red phone linked directly to Sweden.
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