The Battlefield series has always found balance to be a difficult thing to get right. In many ways, the series' greatest strengths can also be weakness, with the multi-faceted gameplay sometimes creating barriers to entry, particularly when it comes to progression and unlocks.
In a new interview, the company admit that they haven't always got unlocks right, particular when it came to Battlefield 3.
“We shipped Battlefield 3, which we should be slapped for, with probably the worst set ups ever,” Battlefield 4 creative director Lars Gustavsson admitted to VG247.
“As a pilot, you had to fly your plane and only kill other planes with your cannons. You didn’t have any counter-measures; you didn’t have any missiles. And that’s basically for the best of the best pilots; that’s what they should do to show their skills. [As a beginner], you should have counter-measures, you should have heat-seeking missiles to give you a smooth ride into the game and then from there on you should customise.
“So that’s what we’ve tried to do; the full set-ups are supposed to be quite easy to learn and to master, and from there you can start unlocking things and seeing what your preferred setup is. So, a lot of learning from Battlefield 3 have gone into making the game.”
But then what of the hardcore players that have helped to make Battlefield the series that it is today? The game's depth and complexity is what has brought people back again and again.
“We have modes that are more complex and still since they are a vital part of Battlefield we try harder to show them off with new game movies, to introduce the concept,” he said.
“If you play Conquest – I’m not the best first-person shooter player, even though people might think so, so for me many times I run around and I revive people and I drive vehicles and I take capture points, since in the head-to-head part I will die. To me, part of the upside is teaching people what you can do on the battlefield to buy you the time to survive.
“The key thing I’m after here is that even though we have score play and we now have Commander, it doesn’t mean that you have to play it that way. We have many modes where we don’t even have scores, or the focus on teamplay in that way. It’s you and only you, and only your kill-death ratio matters. It’s totally up to you, but if you want to, even in the more complex mode, you can do your own lone wolf career. But if you want to there is a traditional layer – for those who want it.
“That’s the big thing. It might sound like a marketing pitch: play your ways. It’s sincerely what we believe in, that we shouldn’t dictate how to play Battlefield.”