By: Eddie Makuch
DICE considered delaying the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Battlefield 4, but was able to overcome development hurdles to have the game ready for launch, executive producer Patrick Bach has said.
Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Bach said some people fail to understand how difficult it can be to develop alongside new hardware like the Xbox One and PS4.
“We’ve been very aggressive with Battlefield 4 in that we want to be out at launch with the next gen consoles. I think people might not grasp how hard that is, to develop a game at the same time as the hardware,” Bach said. “We’ve been struggling quite a lot to keep up with the changes we’ve seen–both sides need to adapt and you end up being late. Everything is very complicated. Battlefield itself is a really complicated game, so it doesn’t make our lives any easier.”
Bach said he understands why Ubisoft chose to delay its Xbox One and PS4 launch title Watch Dogs this week, but made clear Battlefield 4 for next-generation consoles will be there at launch.
“So we knew we’d set ourselves a tough challenge, but people on the outside seem to think that because there are going to be launch titles, it’s easy. What are we spending all our time doing? They don’t understand how hard it is! Talking about Watch Dogs, I don’t blame them, there are times when we’ve considered doing the same thing,” Bach said.
“Luckily we’ve overcome those hurdles and thought about what the game actually is on the next-gen. We’ve had an excellent team working that out at the same time as the game itself, which is a big struggle,” he added. “We can see that a lot of the next-gen games coming are, arguably, lesser when it comes to the scope of features because of this problem.”
In August this year, Bach told Videogamer that DICE would “need to compromise in some places” for the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game.
Also in the interview, Bach confirmed that Battlefield 4 on Xbox One will not make use of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Compute, a cloud-powered service that offers developers dedicated servers and the ability to offload various computations to the cloud to beef up performance.
“Not from day one. The reasons for that are multiple,” Bach said. “We started this project before these plans were locked down, so we didn’t dare fiddle too much with it. Also, we’re not Xbox One exclusive, so we needed a solution that would work on all platforms. We’re on five platforms, so we need something that’s Battlefield, not Xbox One.”
Lastly, Bach addressed the recently concluded Battlefield 4 beta. He said the principal focus of the test was to get an idea for how the game’s servers would hold up at launch. This kind of load-testing can alleviate the kind of struggles that Rockstar Games endured for Grand Theft Auto Online, he said.
“It’s about testing the back end so that you don’t end up in a Rockstar situation where the game doesn’t actually work on day one,” Bach said. “We’ve been in that situation previously for the same reasons, where you’re expecting one scenario and then it turns out to be completely different–it’s really, really hard to cater for that.”
Battlefield 4 launches October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Xbox One and PS4 versions will follow at launch in November.