Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

EA: Innovation and tech problems go hand-in-hand

Andrew Wilson puts Battlefield 4's issues in context, new safeguards now in place

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson has described Battlefield 4's profound technical problems as a calculated risk of innovation - and EA won't be abandoning that ideal any time soon.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Wilson made an implicit reference to Activision's approach to Call of Duty, which he believes sacrifices the originality of the experience at the altar of stability.

"You could go down the really conservative path, which some people did in the industry, and your game didn't have any of those problems, but you also got the feedback of, it just feels the same as it used to," he said.

"Or, you could push the boundaries and end up in the situation we ended up in. Neither is good. But I would like to be in the company pushing the boundaries."

Wilson listed Battlefield 4's 64-player online mode, 1080p resolution and the map-altering flourishes of its "Levolution" feature as examples of that ambition. When thrown into the mix with Microsoft and Sony's "unfinished" new generation console hardware, that ambition created problems that Wilson described as, "unique."

"When you do things like that you can never guarantee," he continued. "It would be disingenuous for me to sit here and say, 'we will never have an issue again,' because that would mean we were never going to push the boundaries again. And I don't want to be that company. I want to be a company that pushes to lead and innovate and be creative. But you can start to do things that give you a better handle and a better view about what the potential challenges might be."

Specifically, that means longer development cycles, earlier beta testing, and a larger window between the "final" version of the game being completed and its launch date, creating more room for testing.

All of this applies to the forthcoming Battlefield: Hardline, Wilson said.

Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

More stories

Battlefield 4 server capacity increased following surge in players

Spike in users follows the reveal of Battlefield 2042

By Danielle Partis

Restoring trust in Star Wars Battlefront II

Design director Dennis Brännvall reflects on the fallout from the loot box controversy, and how DICE has won back the community

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (5)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 7 years ago
Wilson listed Battlefield 4's 64-player online mode, 1080p resolution and the map-altering flourishes of its "Levolution" feature as examples of that ambition.
So... That'll be why the PC version was perfect, right? Because EA/Dice had practice developing 1080p/60fps/massive 64 player maps during dev of BF3, right?

Oh, wait. The PC version of BF4 was hit with as many problems as the console version. Silly me.

It is (to use his own word) disingenuous to say that ambition is to blame for BF4's woes, not only because all formats of the game were negatively affected, but also because a vocal group of fans claim BF4 should actually be renamed BF3.5. I'm not saying that the development wasn't troubled - for whatever reason - but this borders on sophistry.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 20th June 2014 12:33pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance7 years ago
More time in QA fixes this. Rushing titles out for arbitrary timelines like holiday seasons does not.

Remember when it would rarely be considered to push a title out (particularly on console because there was no patching method at the time) if it didn't pass the QA sniff test? I miss those days.
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Canela Game & Audio Designer 7 years ago
Developing for 5 platforms (two of them new) and releasing simultaneously was just spreading themselves too thin. Battlefield is a hell of a lot more complex than COD, even just the way that bullets fly, but that's no excuse.

that said, it's been immensely fun on PC for many months now, and I even when my PC kept crashing lots shortly after release, it was more fun than many other games. Either I was extremely lucky, or the BF4-bashing has been something that internet people mindlessly repeat over and over without actually having played the game themselves for months because that narrative has become its own Thing.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (5)
Ron Dippold Software/Firmware Engineer 7 years ago
Oh come on. Pushing the thing out to beat Ghosts to street date with almost two dozen known critical blocker bugs (I don't believe your QA people are bad enough to have missed them all - they're usually quite competent) is not an 'innovation' problem.

This was a business problem, not a technical problem.
7Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
I am sure they are doing their utmost best to make sure the ongoing BF experience will run super smooth
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.