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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.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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