It’s clearly a loooooong way off; but since we now know Battlefield 4 exists, we can start speculating on what it might include. Here’s our wishlist for Battlefield 4. We’d love to know what you’d like to see, so let us know in the comments.
A single player game that plays to Battlefield’s strengths, rather than aping Call of Duty
Here’s why I adore the Battlefield games: because they reward creative play beyond shooting the bad men in the head. But Battlefield 3’s single player mode was truly awful; a run and gun corridor shooter with brief vehicle sections that drained the fun from Battlefield’s technology and mechanics. I’d love to play a campaign that lets me enjoy the Battlefield feeling in a controlled environment. Rather than aping Call of Duty’s mediocre campaigns, the next Battlefield should park me at the summit of an equivalent of Damavand Peak with all the guns, tanks, and helicopters I can eat, and let me make my own way down.
Better competitive multiplayer support
It’s baffling how, as eSports and streams gradually take over the gaming world, Battlefield’s support for competitive gaming is so basic. It’s missing vital and important functions that could have a huge impact on the competitive community. Battlefield 3 still lacks any form of spectator mode and there’s no built-in method of recording your matches. To really capture the eSports community Battlefield 4 needs to include these rudimentary features.
Though, if they wanted to go beyond the call of duty (snigger), DICE should wholesale lift Halo 3’s post match recorder and give players the means to edit together footage of their matches with a free camera mode.
Yes, it may mean that clans will pump out compilation videos of themselves stabbing fools to a Skrillex soundtrack, but it could also allow for more leftfield creations like the Red vs Blue series (and it would help us start uploading match commentaries). We’re not asking for a Source Filmmaker here, just something to capture and edit the action of a match outside the scope of our own in-game perspective.
Whilst we’re on the subject of competitive play, DICE have made some headway recently with tailored match support but it really is only the beginning; they’ve allowed platoons to create matches for a one off duel but they’ve not allowed for larger tournaments. Competitive players are driven out of the game to subsections of the forums to organise their next bout instead of staying within the game. Battlefield 4 needs to bring all that activity back with an in-game area to sign up for competitions and where we spectate the ongoing matches.
Also, it shouldn’t need to be said but as it still hasn’t been added to Battlefield 3: VOIP. I want to talk to the people I’m playing with. If I can hear my teammates I’m more likely to think of them as that and actually work with them to win the game. So, DICE, make it happen (please).
Support for mods beyond custom servers
DICE encourage gamers to host their own servers, but the choices they give hosts aren’t exactly exciting. We can change minor things like match length, ticket numbers and game mode, but we can’t host our own game types, host custom levels, or add our own modifiers. So I’d like to see the freedom to change those fundamentals.
Though, if it were to add all that freedom, DICE also need to make it easier for us to sniff out the official vanilla servers for those times we don’t want to play a rush game where the admins have upped the ticket number by 300%. This is already causing a headache for the community.
But that’s all just server-side. What we’d donate organs to see is DICE opening up Frostbite 2 for the modding community.
With the right tools, modders could take Battlefield into entirely new directions; to the game’s benefit. Why not let the community make custom levels, custom weapon sets, new vehicles, new game modifiers. Why do we have to wait for Armoured Kill to create a tank domination mode? If we let gamers mod Battlefield, we could be playing Tank Domination on Caspian Border right now. If we let modders do the work, we could have played (and most probably rejected) EOD domination already.
There are two reasons you could give why this won’t happen: DICE would say that the Battlefield engine is too complicated for modders to work with. Bums to that.
The second: that mods will hurt the sale of DLC. TF2 seems to doing okay. As does Skyrim.
And, like Valve, DICE should do more than allow mods, they should actively encourage them with a Workshop-like depository. I mean, has an active modding community harmed a game, ever?
Smooth out the kinks in Premium
Premium was a really good idea that I almost wholly get behind but, before implementing it in Battlefield 4, that queue jump has to go. When you have been waiting to get into a server for 10 minutes only to then have four Premium players hop in ahead of you, well, it doesn’t make people play nice.
More maps that make us go “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”
Frostbite’s a glorious engine. It makes my innards go googly to see walls chip away in Zita Tower and it makes my cheeks flush when I see a helicopter explode overhead but, except for a few standout levels, it doesn’t feel like we’re seeing the best of what it can do. I want to see DICE put out more of their non-generics. For instance, Damavand Peak hinges around a 500m cliff jump. What other game has that? The levels in the Close Quarter DLC, whilst a fairly standard affair in setting, crumble around you in a way none of Battlefield’s competitors can offer. I play Battlefield because it gives me things other games can’t - each of its levels should do this. So DICE, in the next game, give me a volcano, or a slowly sinking oil tanker, or,even, a china shop. Make each level unique in some way.
Though, going back to the Close Quarters pack, whilst the destructible environments are good they’re still a ways off what seems to have been promised. Metro still boils down to two teams holding both ends of an escalator throwing grenades at each other in complete deadlock. I want to be able to skirt round the opposition and blast through a wall behind them. I want the defenders to never be comfortable in their position.
Redesigned unlock system
We all enjoy unlocks, they’ve been tailored to be enjoyable: someone will have sat in a room for a week working on the noise that’s made when you’re given a new bit of kit. So why is the whole system built on the laws of diminishing returns? Currently, you unlock a range of different attachments for each weapon by getting kills with that weapon - makes sense, it’s rewarding you for focussing on a particular gun - yet this means that by the time you’re level 15 you’ll have unlocked the reflex sight three or four times, unless you’ve stuck with just one gun. I can only get excited by unlocking an ACOG scope so many times, DICE.
Instead, I’d like to see unlocks become universal. You unlock a holographic sight and it becomes available to all your weapons. You’re still getting rewards but you aren’t being given the same things over and over again. This severely limits the number of unlocks available in the game but that can be filled out with cosmetic changes. We all love a bit of accessorising so why not fill the game with little aesthetic unlocks that are rewards for special kills, spectacular deaths, or just for being a good sport? I’m not talking hats (although...) but smiley face reticles, KISS face paint, or a baboon’s ass to teabag with.
Make those cosmetic drops randomised and suddenly you’ve got the collectors’ attention.
Bring back commanders
For the most part, Battlefield is a game about huge levels filled with players in all manner of death machines dealing out a fine brew of violence. However, at times it can all get a tad confusing. You’ll load into a giant map and have no clue where to go, who to help, where the enemy is, and so on. A commander role could solve many of these issues. Natural Selection and Nuclear Dawn have shown how a community can respond well to an overseer role. You could have a whole RTS meta-game going on: players in the game capturing control points to feed money to the commander who’s placing vehicles and equipment to support those on the ground. It would add a new dimension to the somewhat stale Domination format.
Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs! The tease has gone on long enough. I want a horde mode where your team defends against waves of the scaly beasts, I want to be able to snipe a raptor from a helicopter and feel like one of the badass mercs in The Lost world, and, of course, I want a capture the flag-style eggs-traction mode. Give these things to us DICE.