We’ve been here before, in this exact spot. DICE’s Battlefield 4 campaign would have us “feel smart”, we were told before release - let us choose our own approach.
And it did, sorta. But it was clear it still owed a debt to CoD and to Medal of Honor - games Battlefield played nothing like in multiplayer - and Visceral seem to want to put a stop to that in Hardline.
They’ve used that game’s cops and robbers hook to ensure we’re no longer following orders. Instead, they say, we can expect to be making tactical choices - some of which don’t involve shooting every man in the room. Gasp.
“When we were thinking about how to do this game, I think anybody who knows us at Visceral knows that single player is near and dear to our heart,” creative director Ian Milham told RPS at E3. “We’ve done a pretty okay job of it before, and we have some pretty cool ideas for this one.”
Silly modesty in perspective: Bad Company aside, DICE have never really managed to prove their single player chops. By contrast, Visceral were the architects of Dead Space - so we should really be expecting something ambitious from Hardline’s tale of fugitives and the filth.
Milham was explicit in distancing his team from DICE’s inconsistent efforts in the past.
“On the single player side the stuff that’s important to us is maybe not do as much of a single-path linear rollercoaster that’s been done before,” he said. “We want more tactical choice, more player choice. Things to do besides just shoot everybody. That’s not really a cop thing as much.”
That’s thankfully true. Perhaps we can expect SWAT-style non-lethal cuffings? 4-hour uneventual patrols through the streets of Miami? On reflection, the former is more likely. What do you reckon?