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DICE: We learned valuable lessons from Bad Company release

Wed 13 May 2009 5:20am GMT / 1:20am EDT / 10:20pm PDT
OnlineDevelopment

Studio's creative director believes next console title will better meet expectations

DICE, the studio behind the genre-defining Battlefield shooter franchise, has learned lessons from the release of its console title Bad Company and is looking forward to doing a better job of meeting expectations with its next release.

That's according to creative director Lars Gustavsson, who told GamesIndustry.biz that while he was "extremely pleased" with the way the game turned out, he felt that the team went into the game with a slightly wrong view of what the console shooter market was.

"I came from the PC audience before starting up here and for a long, long time - to be honest all the way up to Bad Company - I was knee-deep in PC titles, which probably coloured my opinion on what a shooter is, and what it should be," he explained.

"To me, Battlefield: Bad Company was an eye-opener, and for a very long time I think the PC audience was seen as the hardcore, the most competitive and dedicated audience. Maybe at one time that was partially true, but now we definitely see a fanatic shooter audience on console.

"I think one of our biggest mistakes with Battlefield: Bad Company for example was that when we started making it, laying out the plans, the view on the gamer was that it's a console audience, and we need to treat them a bit more gently, since they're less experienced...

"Well, when we shipped it - it was quite a long project - the audience had grown, matured, played more online... so they knew what a shooter on a console should be like, what to expect.

"So I think in some areas, as lead designer on that project, I feel that we could have done a better job of meeting those expectations, even though I was extremely pleased with the project."

Gustavsson, who has been with DICE since the very first Battlefield game was created, added that the feedback has influenced the way the team is approaching future titles.

"It definitely does," he said. "I was lead designer on Battlefield 2 for example and on that one we picked out the elements that we felt were missing from Battlefield 1942. And then in 2142 we tried to make it easier to find friends to go out and play online, and so on.

"Now, looking at our console audience, we just had this discussion that we should more or less handle them on equal terms. A lot of PC players like me have become old farts, with children at home, and it's harder to find the time to sit in front of the PC. Therefore, when they find a good shooter title they'll expect more or less the same possibilities when they fight it out in a console game as they would in a Battlefield PC title.

"It still means that what we've always had as a mantra but never really succeeded in delivering on is that we've always had quite a high entry level into the franchise - it can be overwhelming to come into, especially the early games where we didn't have any proper matchmaking. But that's something we're working with, regardless of whether it's PC or console, we just want to give people a more gentle way into the franchise."

Gustavsson is one of the speakers at this year's Nordic Game conference, taking place in Malmo next week, and the full interview is body textavailable now.

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