Visceral Games Boss on Battlefield Hardline: “No Reason” Why Cops & Robbers Theme Can’t be Done in Battlefield
For those who’ve played the Battlefield Hardline beta, you might have noticed that aside from visual parity, the game itself didn’t exactly play out like your standard Battlefield game. There were no jets, tanks or any 32 vs. 32 battles that made you feel like you were part of an on-going war.
Instead, the game focused on infantry combat with a heavy reliance on a cops & robbers theme. In an interview with Metro, Visceral Games boss Steve Papoutsis gave a rather lengthy answer when asked what’s Hardline’s connection to the Battlefield franchise given it’s focus on policemen, and the like.
I think it’s an exciting idea. It’s an idea that allows people to create fantasy fulfilment in a space where I don’t think people are actually trying to do that. You know, when we started talking about this idea, a long time ago when I first met Karl-Magnus [Troedsson – CEO of Battlefield creator DICE], he and I were just chopping it up, having a conversation like you do. I was telling him how I like Battlefield 1942, Bad Company, and all of the Battlefields, and how I thought it was really interesting how I was able to go from setting to setting and have it still feel like a Battlefield game.
And then he was talking to me, relaying how much he was enjoying playing Dead Space 2 at the time. And felt that we made really immersive, engaging story games. And so then I hit him with… ‘Have you ever thought about doing something in Battlefield that wasn’t about soldiers? Like maybe cops ‘n’ criminals?’ And he kind of chuckled and said, ‘Well, we actually were thinking about that. We were actually spending some time on that concept at one point’.
And then he just said, ‘Would you guys ever think about making a game like that?’ I said, ‘Well, are you serious?’ He said, ‘Yeah, it’d be cool to have another team take an approach to making a Battlefield game. And so then I was like, ‘Oh, okay. Well, first we need to learn how to use Frostbite. Step one.’ So we then jumped in and started working on End Game for Battlefield 3, the team at Visceral made that expansion for Premium on Battlefield 3. And it was received fairly well, and that was the moment in time where we said, ‘Okay, we’re gonna really make this game!’
And we started working on it, and as we, as developers, started thinking about the game we just started thinking about the all opportunities that that setting afforded us. Whether it was the idea of bringing in the battles to a closer, more personal level. You think about a war, the enemy’s kind of nameless and they’re meters away from you, and they don’t talk to you – they talk to each other, but they don’t engage with the other team. They don’t have dialogue with the other team.
But in cops ‘n’ criminals TV and movies the characters are awesome, they’re having cool exchanges and they’re saying things like, ‘I’m gonna get you, you dirty rat!’ Freeze! Stick ‘em up! Screw you, pig!’ And they have these amazing scenarios, like criminals trying to break into a bank and cops are trying to stop ‘em. Or high speed chases in cars. Or big shoot outs! It just got our minds racing with all the opportunities, and all of those things – those high level premises – that can be done in Battlefield. There’s no reason why it can’t be done in Battlefield.
So that was our thinking: we can bring all those things to life in a Battlefield game, as long as we retain what is the essence of Battlefield; which is a great multiplayer that really leans into the rock, paper, scissors balance and has a focus on teamplay and strategy. And then we were off, and that’s what we’re making. And so that’s why I think that concept can work and does work in that setting.
Just last month, Papoutsis mentioned that it’s “cool” if people don’t think Hardline is a true Battlefield game.
Based on what you’ve played so far, is Hardline a real Battlefield game or is it too different from what the franchise stands for? If it’s too different from the core franchise, what does Visceral need to do in order to retain true to its roots?