EA accidentally confirmed that Battlefield 4 is in development after posting a banner on Origin that offers Medal of Honor: Warfighter pre-orders access to the beta over the weekend. Given that EA has been known for releasing Battlefield in two-year cycles there’s a high probability that it will come out in late 2013, which just so happens to be when analysts expect the new Sony and Microsoft consoles to come out.
Judging by the fact that a beta will be available for pre-ordering a current generation game, all signs point to the next Battlefield being for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but that would result in a missed opportunity. Unlike Call of Duty which has a tendency to play it safe with nice visuals that certainly wouldn’t make a top 10 list, Battlefield has always been about bringing the most realistic war experience to the video game industry, and that requires horsepower.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 struggle to run Battlefield 3 at moderate settings and have to resort to a capped framerate of 30 at 720p. Even more noticeable is the 24 player limit imposed on console versions of the game. Meanwhile, the PC version can host up to 64 players with some of the most realistic visuals on the market (as seen in the gameplay image above). Even if the game came out on both PS3 and PS4, they’d have to develop gameplay and multiplayer levels with the lowest common denominator in mind – current gen consoles.
There’s a good chance that whatever Sony and Microsoft are working on will be far less limited than the aging console hardware of today, and with that comes the potential for DICE to once again raise the bar dramatically. Battlefield 4 could be an exceptional way to show off new consoles with massive maps that don’t compromise detail. In essence, it’d be the perfect game for Jack Tretton to show off during a reveal trailer of the PlayStation 4.
Every new platform needs a quality multiplayer experience at launch to keep players coming back for more and Battlefield 4 certainly fits the bill. The question is whether or not EA wants to be a pioneer of the next generation.
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