Coming out of E3's big Battlefield Hardline reveal, somewhat spoiled by early leaks, Visceral Games and EA decided to measure fan support by launching a beta. The beta, well, it could have gone better. Do to ongoing issues with Battlefield 4 and a Hardline beta that was found lacking in new gameplay experiences, fans let EA and Visceral know their thoughts. That's putting it lightly. It seems, however, that EA was listening. Battlefield Hardline has now been delayed from October 21 into 2015.
In a letter to the community, DICE VP Karl Magnus Troedsson said that the delay is a direct result of the community's response to the Battlefield Hardline beta:
"Back at E3, we launched a beta for Hardline — we wanted to not only show you the game, but to let you play it for yourselves. Millions of you jumped in and had a great time. As a result, the Visceral Games team learned a lot from players about what they wanted in the game. We’ve been pouring over the data and feedback, and have already been putting a lot of it right into the game and sharing it directly with you.
This feedback also spurred us to start thinking about other possibilities and ways we could push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better. The more we thought about these ideas, the more we knew we had to get them into the game you will all be playing. However, there was only one problem. We would need more time. Time that we didn’t have if we decided to move forward with launching in just a couple of months."
This comes as a rather surprising and mature decision from a company who has had its fair share of decisions made in direct contradiction to fan requests. I don't think there's a single Battlefield player at this point who will be disappointed in the next release being pushed back in order to make a better, more polished experience. That's especially true if it means the current Battlefield will thus get more attention with regards to patching.
Three specific areas were cited by Karl regarding what Visceral and DICE want to work on before they're happy with Battlefield Hardline being released to the public. They do have a shortlist of specific changes that they've either already addressed or are planning to address, but these three pillars are much larger in scale. That also means they're less concrete in terms of what exactly will be changed/added.
These three pillars are:
- Multiplayer Innovation
- Single Player Story Depth
With regards to each pillar: Karl says that they plan on implementing ideas direct from the community with regards to additional new feature ideas, but whether they'll truly be innovative is another matter entirely; specifically, Karl wants to support a "deeper 'crime revenge' story experience" in their single-player campaign; stability is as stabilitty does, so when Karl says the team has learned from Battlefield 4 all one can really say is, "Prove it."
When a developer says they need more time to make their game better, they are always right. If there's an instance in development history where someone's sayd, "We need more time to make this game better," and then it turned out worse, then it's a unicorn among the herd. Battlefield Hardline will be better in 2015 than it would have been in October 2014, and that's all that matters.