It seems a long way off until Battlefield 4’s beta phase, scheduled for Fall 2013, but we're already intrigued to find out whether Electronic Arts will take the series in a new direction, or play it totally safe and develop a game that would be more fitting for a 3.5 update.
We’re hoping that 2013 will usher in the evolution of the Battlefield series and deliver much more than an incremental update to its predecessor. We like Battlefield 3, but there were many mistakes made that need to be avoided next time around to prevent our boredom and frustration with the series.
Here's five ways how EA DICE can blow away those BF3 blues...
1. Sort the servers out and communicate better with fans
PS3 gamers have regularly suffered with stability issues with Battlefield 3 and there’s nothing more frustrating than finishing work on a Friday afternoon looking forward to letting off steam over the weekend only to spent most of your time battling to get online due to connection issues.
No one minds too much if maintenance has been scheduled to fix issues, but there’s been too many occasions where nobody knows why there are connection issues and EA has often failed to communicate quickly enough with the fans or put gamer’s minds at rest. With Battlefield 4 there’s bound to be online issues, it’s unavoidable when so many people want to play online, but we’re hoping the multiplayer infrastructure will be more stable this time around and EA will keep us in the loop with what’s going on.
2. React quicker to issues and ensure that features that matter aren’t broken at launch
The PS3 version suffered with VoIP problems for almost three months before a patch was brought out. Without being able to communicate with each other, Battlefield isn’t a team game, yet that’s really what the online component is all about – working together and voicing tactics. This was a major issue that took far too long to fix. For Battlefield 4, EA shouldn’t launch it until it knows all the basics work, and then it needs to react quicker to fix issues. Input lag, for example, apparently reported by some gamers, wasn’t fixed until the Close Quarters expansion pack arrived in June.
3. Improve handling of flying vehicles
Presuming that we will actually be able to fly vehicles in Battlefield 4 we'd like them to be more accessible and easier to control. We're referring in particular to the helicopters in Battlefield 3 which are difficult to fly without over-strafing and crashing. We know that many core players who have been showing us all how it’s done since Battlefield 1 probably enjoy the fact that they are among the few that can master one of these crazy machines, but making them, or their replacements, a touch more accessible (Bad Company 2 difficulty would be nice) would ensure everyone can have a bit of fun.
4. Forget the modern day setting, go back to the future
So the saying goes that “if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but isn’t anyone else getting a bit sick of modern-day shooters? Our wish for change may actually come true because DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has already said: “I think we’re going to start seeing people moving away from the modern setting, because every now and again settings or themes start to get stale and then everyone jumps over.” The Battlefield series has already dabbled in the future with Battlefield 2142, set during a new ice age. It’s time to head back to the future with hi-tech weaponry and features such as cloaking devices. If it sticks to the modern day, Battlefield 4 will just seem like a update to Battlefield 3.
5. Blow us away with next-gen graphics
We don’t want to see Battlefield 4 on current-gen consoles. We want it to blow us away on Xbox 720 and PS4 with its incredible physics, destructible environments and eye-watering vistas. Bring it out on Xbox 360 and PS3 and it’s going to look pretty much like the same game. We want DICE to harness the power of the next-gen technology and deliver a game and experience that will have us drooling.
We know that DICE can nail the audio and create a game that echoes with the sounds of war, but we now want to see the visuals to go with it. There's no point regurgitating the old stuff, Battlefield 4 should take the franchise to the next level and make a huge impact on next-gen consoles.