Visceral’s Steve Papoutsis announced from an E3 stage on Monday that the Battlefield Hardline beta would be open effective immediately. He said that doing so was new and exciting, and it felt like it - at least until we remembered that Hardline is out in October, and really ought to be getting on with its beta if it’s to have any chance of expunging its bugs before then.
But earlier access to Battlefield is something DICE are considering very seriously after Battlefield 4’s launch cock up late last year.
DICE head Karl Magnus Troedsson told Game Informer that the developers were looking to find ways to bring the community in early to help stabilise wobbly future Battlefields.
“We have nothing to announce, but we are having discussions when it comes to [early access],” he said.
“It comes not from a business perspective, but more from a perspective of if it would help us have a stable launch of the game.”
A PR perspective, then - though you imagine the time DICE have spent since last October fixing bugs rather than developing DLC has cost them dearly too.
“We probably wouldn't open the floodgates for everyone,” elaborated Troedsson. “But we might do it for geographical territories or people who bought the last game.”
I do wonder whether treating betas as a purchase bonus is what got DICE into this mess in the first place. Battlefield 4’s beta build was rumoured to be weeks-old at the time to ensure stability for those who’d pre-ordered - and consequently not much cop for bug-fixing. Who should Troedsson and co look to as a model, do you think?