Battlefield: Hardline, Not your typical game of cops and robbers - Games Weekly

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Battlefield: Hardline, Not your typical game of cops and robbers

Several titles over the past twelve months have worked to revitalize the first-person shooter genre, but Battlefield: Hardline is about providing players with a fresh take on an already established franchise. Taking the focus away from the literal battlefield and shifting the spotlight to the figurative one that exists between law enforcement and criminals, Battlefield: Hardline is the biggest change the series has ever seen.

The team-centric online gameplay that has made the Battlefield franchise so popular remains, but with a greater emphasis on civilian vehicles and modes based on quick strikes. Steve Papoutsis, the game’s executive producer, believes Hardline is the fastest Battlefield yet. Though tanks are gone from Hardline, traversing the nine maps included  in the game won’t be a problem, as ziplines, grappling hooks, motorcycles, and sports cars will play major roles in this reinvented multiplayer experience.


Multiplayer in Battlefield: Hardline combines old and new modes to create an overall suite that is suited to the cops and robbers-themed game. In addition to series staples Conquest and Team Deathmatch, Hardline includes Heist, a mode tasking the criminal team to steal money from armored trucks throughout the map, Blood Money, where cops and criminals are dashing for the same pot of money, Hotwire, a unique take on capture the flag in the context of a sprawling high-speed chase, and Rescue, which thrusts cops and criminals into an intense hostage scenario.

Battlefield: Hardline also includes the newly announced Crosshair mode, an asymmetrical competitive mode with a focus on the eSports community. “There are two teams, and one of the teams has a VIP basically an informant and as the law enforcement team, you’re trying to protect that informant and escort him out of the map. As the criminal side, you’re trying to take him out because you don’t want him to squeal on you,” Papoutsis says. “It’s a permadeath-style, 5v5 game mode, and the informant also has information pertaining to special weapons caches on the map, so it encourages the law enforcement team to stay with him, so you can get to the pick-ups on the map and you can use them to your advantage to take out the other team and escort him to victory.”

Those wanting a more compelling campaign from the Battlefield franchise should have hope for what Hardline brings to the table. Players delve into the story of Nick Mendoza, a young detective who has been wronged and is looking for revenge outside of the law. The story takes players from Miami to Los Angeles with stops elsewhere, including the High Desert of California.

Taking cues from popular crime dramas on television, Battlefield: Hardline reveals its narrative using 10 TV show episodes rather than levels, but Visceral has also added larger changes to drive home the TV style.

“If you’re playing a game and you’ve got to take a break, you get to see a ‘Next Time On…’ So just like your favorite TV show, you might see a little teaser for the next episode. We do the same thing. If you don’t want the spoiler, you just hit ‘skip’ right away and you don’t have to watch that,” Papoutsis said. “When you return after maybe not playing it for a little bit, and you come back and you start up the game, you get treated to a ‘Previously On…’ and that kind of sets up what you’re doing.”

These presentation changes carry over into multiplayer, with loading screens emulating the style of a news ticker that explains the situation so both teams have context for the match about to take place.

Papoutsis is optimistic that the team can provide a stable online experience at launch by building off of the previous work done by the Battlefield 4 team. “If you look at Battlefield 4 today in the live environment, it’s very, very good,” he said. “We get the benefit of drafting off of all those improvements, but also, our team has worked very diligently to do stress tests, and we test the game every single day here.”

Originally scheduled for release in October 2014, Battlefield: Hardline was pushed to March 2015 to help the team create a better experience using feedback collected during the game’s beta test. “We got a ton of great feedback from the community, but we realized we [didn’t] have a lot of time to implement all of it since we were planning on coming out  at the end of October,” Papoutsis explained.  “…But as we continued to build the game, both in multiplayer and single-player, we continued to have new ideas and things that we wanted to change or improve, and this extra time gave us the opportunity to do those things.”

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