Battlefield 4 single-player campaign is DICE trying to 'grow up'

The Battlefield series has thrived on multiplayer, so it was a bit of a surprise when it was announced at GDC that Battlefield 4 would focus more on a single-player campaign. Developer DICE wants to create more than just a shooter experience and have players form a bond with the characters.

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The Battlefield series has thrived on multiplayer, so fans were a bit disappointed to see Battlefield 4's debut would focus on the single-player campaign. However, developer DICE says it wants to create more than just a shooter experience and have players form a bond with the characters.

"For us, it's important to grow up a bit and create a great story, a character you care about, where you feel involved in their actions and that's based on the core idea of the whole game," executive producer Patrick Bach said.

"For a game like Battlefield, you could argue that it's just a shooter, so who cares," Bach told Edge. But, he argues that "if you're playing multiplayer, you actually care about the guys in your squad. Those are often your friends, they have their personalities, you help them, they help you, and they have their own mindset. Now we need to create a single-player that mimics that feeling."

From there, he said, multiplayer can take things on display in the single-player campaign. "It's a great showcase of a lot of different aspects of the game... If you look at [the GDC] demo, you can extrapolate a lot of features that you can then translate into either the single-player or the multiplayer."

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
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    April 16, 2013 12:30 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Battlefield 4 single-player campaign is DICE trying to 'grow up'.

    The Battlefield series has thrived on multiplayer, so it was a bit of a surprise when it was announced at GDC that Battlefield 4 would focus more on a single-player campaign. Developer DICE wants to create more than just a shooter experience and have players form a bond with the characters.

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      April 16, 2013 12:32 PM

      ugh..

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        April 16, 2013 12:34 PM

        Yup, I never played Battlefield for the singleplayer.

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          April 16, 2013 12:48 PM

          The first game was cliche'd as hell (Much like Blops and Warfighter) but I thought it was a competent enough single player campaign.

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          April 16, 2013 1:42 PM

          ditto, but i did enjoy the "air" mission in battlefield 3, when the music comes on... i was so pumped afterwards, i went to play volleyball with my brahs at the local YMCA with no shirt on and only jeans on and my fossil watch.

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            April 16, 2013 3:16 PM

            I thought it was pretty awesome when the Battlefield theme remix played during that.

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        April 16, 2013 1:03 PM

        Im actually excited for this, don't think DICE can pull it off, but I'm excited.

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        April 16, 2013 4:29 PM

        You guys are being way too harsh - BC2's campaign was really enjoyable I thought and BF3's had its moments too.

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          April 16, 2013 5:07 PM

          BC1/BC2 campaigns were way more enjoyable than what BF3 called a campaign. The BF3 one was too disjointed probably trying to mimic the split narrative that the early Call of Duty games had. None of them were spectacular enough to warrant playing again.

          I really think they should push the single player on the Bad Company side of the franchise if they must. The numbered core Battlefields need to be multiplayer focused.

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      April 16, 2013 12:37 PM

      Chasing a bullet point on your competitor's box is totally the way to make a better game.

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      April 16, 2013 12:39 PM

      I'm gonna channel some Shia here. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

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      April 16, 2013 12:46 PM

      I like forming bonds with actual humans playing BF, I've made some good friends playing and it trumps game characters by far.

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      April 16, 2013 12:53 PM

      then what the hell was Mirror's Edge

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        April 16, 2013 7:41 PM

        egg fucking xacktly. Mirror's Edge was Dice's biggest artistic achievement. Giving BF4 a cliched Hollywood storyline is not a sign of Dice "growing up".

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          April 17, 2013 1:34 AM

          I await Mirror's Edge 2 that's in development waaaayyy more than BF4. Just hope there's more melee combat - that game just begged for a real time, fully fledged kung fu fighting system with counters, in first person perspective, mixed with jumping off of walls.

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      April 16, 2013 1:02 PM

      The BF3 campaign was pretty shit i thought, i don't have much hope for this. They'll have to show some good multiplayer stuff to get me interested.

      Also Mirror's Edge 2 would be nice if they want to make a good singleplayer game, the first one was great.

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      April 16, 2013 1:46 PM

      who cares, just give me the multiplayer

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      April 16, 2013 1:52 PM

      Sun Tzu writes that one should engage the enemy where only where they are strong and their foe is weak.

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      April 16, 2013 1:53 PM

      DICE if you want to "grow" as a company then develop a new IP instead of putting elements to a game series that people don't want. Why not do a sequel to Mirror's Edge or do something original. I am sure you can do a story driven game at some point I just don't want or need it in the battlefield series.

      None of the single player BF games have had any kind of replayability and I don't see that changing any time soon. A good single player game like Half-life or BioShock Infinite will get replayed countless times when it is focuses on making a great single player experience. People expect a great Multiplayer experience from BF so don't waste effort building something people don't want.

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      April 16, 2013 2:07 PM

      [deleted]

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      April 16, 2013 2:24 PM

      they did that well in BC1, but moved away from that entirely

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      April 16, 2013 2:30 PM

      I played a couple hundred hours of the last BF and never launched SP once.

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      April 16, 2013 3:09 PM

      FAIL......

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      April 16, 2013 3:13 PM

      [deleted]

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        April 16, 2013 3:30 PM

        You're...you're joking, right?

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          April 16, 2013 3:51 PM

          [deleted]

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          April 16, 2013 4:15 PM

          Run forward while building collapses. Witness helicopter crash. Press A to amputate man.

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            April 16, 2013 4:35 PM

            Assuming you're being coy and do not like that about the trailer could you humor me in how you'd like to play that scenario out in a videogame?

            Exactly the same scenario: You're in the American military, you witness a building come down, a helicopter crashes, then you have to amputate someones leg to save their life. There is combat and maneuvering between obstacles between each of those key moments. How would you prefer to play all of this out?

            When you get to the amputation part, would you rather have to wheel your mouse up, then down, mimicking a saw motion? Move your mouse around?

            Or is it the events that are happening themselves you don't jive with?

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              April 16, 2013 5:11 PM

              It isn't the events that bother me, it's the way they are always outside the control of the player. If the building came down because I failed to stop the helicopter, then it would be an exciting moment where I tried to frantically escape. If the building didn't come down because I brought down the helicopter, then I would feel like I accomplished something. Instead, the building will always come down, and the helicopter will always win until you shoot it in slow motion with a grenade launcher. Everything that happens in Battlefield 4 happens because a designer scripted it that way, which completely goes against the spirit of the franchise.

              My feeling about the amputation is that there is no way to do it well. It's a horrific thing in real life and boiling it down to a button press just makes it silly, stripping the action of any meaning. I'd rather have an NPC perform it.

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                April 16, 2013 6:01 PM

                thank you.

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                April 16, 2013 6:11 PM

                I agree!

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                April 16, 2013 6:48 PM

                ^^^^^^^^

                this is exactly why videogame drama is canned, just like movie drama. and why MP will always illicit a larger emotional response from me than SP, because that shit happens for a reason.

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                  April 16, 2013 11:05 PM

                  MP doesn't have or need a story line.SP does.That's why you can become more immersed in SP. MP is and will always be just twitchy shooter gameplay with the same handfull of maps.

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                  April 17, 2013 3:40 AM

                  Theres no reason that stuff can't be in a SP game.
                  Personally I would love a mission/objective based SP shooter that allowed any kind of variety. But lots are chasing the the CoD style now.

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                    April 17, 2013 12:26 PM

                    no reason aside from it being considerably more difficult from a design perspective and some wanker PM yelling "BUT CONSISTENT USER EXPERIENCE!!!!1" at the top of his lungs in every meeting.

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                April 16, 2013 11:04 PM

                legit

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                April 17, 2013 12:56 AM

                Great comment.

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                April 17, 2013 1:41 AM

                I agree, and I think it's extra sad that these highly polished and scripted events are now taken as an indicator of high production values or AAA-ness.

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                April 17, 2013 3:34 AM

                yes

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                April 17, 2013 5:37 AM

                Very well put!

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      April 16, 2013 3:19 PM

      I still didn't finish single-player in BF3 because their stupid web client thing broke for some reason and I couldn't get the game to launch again even after an hour of screwing with it. I uninstalled the game and don't ever want to touch one of their products again.

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      April 16, 2013 3:33 PM

      and my interest has suddenly waned.

      I think I'll wait for the reviews when the game comes out because if single player is priority, I'm no longer their target audience.

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      April 16, 2013 3:38 PM

      I always thought a FPS developer growing up would involve less reliance on forced drama and cheesy dialogue in cutscenes, not so many scripted sequences that removes all control from character, no QTE's, etc. And more on actual real-time interactions with characters and a story told naturally and fitting to the medium instead of movie style cutscene breaks and other bullshit.

      DICE thinks the opposite. They should just stop pretending it's going to be something special, but they can't because it's their showpiece and they have to hype it up until release is closer and they can start talking about multiplayer instead and sell it to the people who actually play these fucking games.

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      April 16, 2013 4:10 PM

      Fool me thrice

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      April 16, 2013 4:10 PM

      Press X to chop off limb

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        April 16, 2013 4:36 PM

        Curious, what is your problem with this? Would you prefer to have to mimic the saw motions of actually cutting someones leg off with your mouse?

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          April 16, 2013 5:47 PM

          I'd prefer it if they'd just have a cutscene instead of pretending it was part of the game. I'd like it best of all if they ditched the custscenes too and designed the narrative around elements inherent to the gameplay.

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          April 17, 2013 10:12 AM

          QTE's on the whole are pretty stupid things, but QTE's in cutscenes are even sillier.

          If you can't come up with a gameplay mechanic that is engaging and fun, then cut it.

          For this scene it would probably have more impact if you watched a squad mate do the cutting while you provided cover. Heck, toss a sneaky bad guy to shoot, but use it to reinforce the shooting mechanics and not "press x to do something you do in a different way in normal gameplay".

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      April 16, 2013 4:21 PM

      While the shack will shit on this type of thing to no end, I had a colleague today remark about how excited he was for BF4. Since I'm a strict MP BF guy, I was like wtf? Really? From the trailer?
      This is a guy who doesn't play games that at all.

      So ya, in terms of DICE trying to reach a wider audience, they are succeeding.

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      April 16, 2013 4:30 PM

      <waits for BF5>

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        April 16, 2013 4:34 PM

        Only SP no multi.

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          April 16, 2013 5:19 PM

          regen, party commands, waist high cover. no destructible anything anymore.

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      April 16, 2013 5:15 PM

      battlefield's edge plz.

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      April 16, 2013 5:17 PM

      Battlecorridor

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      April 16, 2013 6:09 PM

      Even if they posted this on april 1st it would have been just as funny. =/

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      April 16, 2013 6:31 PM

      This is easy. Multiply the use of the F bomb by 10 and your game is instantly grown up and mature.

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      April 16, 2013 6:36 PM

      Bad Company 1 got the strength of the franchise (a squad of dudes runs around large sandbox levels with a bunch of different weapons and vehicles), even the console port of BF2 (Modern Combat) seems to have had an interesting take on a campaign, with the player filling various roles on both sides of a war. There is a lot of ground in the Battlefield formula for an interesting campaign, even a mature and important one. But ever since Bad Company 2 they've decided the best way to beat COD is to be COD.

      Worked out really great for Medal of Honor, guys!

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      April 16, 2013 8:24 PM

      Little off topic, but I came here to read about Simcity's big ball of twine. I think you guys forgot to update the link.

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      April 16, 2013 10:53 PM

      I have a goose that lays golden eggs. Who wants a drum stick?

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      April 17, 2013 12:26 AM

      I can't form bonds with stupid and hypocritical characters. Those soldiers getting emotional over one of them dying makes me roll my eyes and disgusts me, because it is entirely hypocritical and downright ludicrous. What does your character do throughout the entire game??? KILL EVERYONE. You leave 10 mountains of bodies behind of people who would have families - moms, dads, wives, children, brothers, sisters... and yet it's a calamity when one from your side dies???? Does the game try to make you cry for the hundreds, maybe thousands, that you personally kill, or is it just the one that was on your side? It's pathetic, unrealistic, hypocritical, and indicative of DICE's brain-dead design philosophy that sullied and smeared the Battlefield name with Battlefield 3. Patrick, go join the CoD dev team already, and leave Battlefield well enough alone.

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      April 17, 2013 2:23 AM

      Taking a hint from Specops: The Line maybe?

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      April 17, 2013 4:20 AM

      Has any game ever successfully transitioned from strictly multiplayer to multiplayer+single player without degrading the core elements that made it popular in the first place?

      It takes DICE long enough to make a fair & balanced mp game without bugs.

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      April 17, 2013 7:21 AM

      As long as DICE doesn't fuck up a tried and true multiplayer experience that has lasted for may years and many profit dollars I don't see the problem with beefing up the single player game as well. BUT THEY HAD BETTER NOT FUCK UP MULTIPLAYER.

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      April 19, 2013 2:57 AM

      Enjoyed the BFBC2 campaign, but BF3 was total trash and only the air missions was cool.

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