Ballistic shields are misnamed, really. They are, thankfully, not convex weapons that policemen fire in D&D-style cones of pain during riots. They’re really anti-ballistic - mobile walls designed to hug bullets to death.
Still, I imagine they’ll come in very handy in Battlefield 4 - a game my own research over the past week has led me to conclude is about lying prone in the grass with your hands over your head, intoning: “OhGodOhGodOhGod” until a skyscraper topples onto you.
With the help of the Dragon’s Teeth expansion, I’ll be able to creep about behind a slice of movable cover instead.
DICE senior animator Ryan Duffin mentioned the two-handed, bullet-proof shield during a talk at this week’s GDC.
The Battlefield developers' secondary studio in Los Angeles had planned to introduce a shield players could use in conjunction with a sidearm - but eventually, player animation memory constraints on the Xbox 360 and PS3 meant the team conceded defeat.
“We didn’t have enough memory,” said Duffin. “It added about a megabyte, but a megabyte on a 2006 console is a lot, so it didn’t work out.”
That’s frustrating to hear, given that most of our PCs have enough memory to animate the dead. But Duffin reckons the two-handed shield we are getting is actually a better fit for Battlefield 4’s team play.
“There was a lot of resistance at first. But the more we assessed it, the more we realized it was a better feature,” he explained. “It turns out that stopping bullets in a first-person shooter is a ton of fun. We’re confident that it will create a new dynamic for the game.”
The shield is really all we know about Dragon’s Teeth, which will be an urban warfare affair built primarily by DICE’s LA contingent. Do you think you’ll be buying into the more imminent Naval Strike DLC, replete with 2142-referencing Carrier Assault mode?