Battlefield 3, with its Frostbite 2.0 Engine, was a technical marvel managing to deservedly pull down all sorts of acclaim at the tail end of last year. It made quite a jump in the look and feel of military shooters, but one that is yet to see frequent emulation. Karl Magnus Troedsson, General Manager of DICE, recently spoke to Edge Online regarding the importance of pushing technology and why the team tries to do so with every production that they put onto the market:
“If they [the fans] don’t see some kind of new, if not revolutionary then at least evolutionary, step of rendering in every game they will start to lose interest. And I think that is what’s happening. Because a lot of franchises out there don’t take this seriously; to actually make sure that we don’t just challenge ourselves on the gameplay aspect, or perhaps some other area like distribution method, but also how it [feels], how it looks and how it sounds.
“DICE has a strong history, for good and for bad, of doing this. We constantly bash ourselves and say, ‘We could have done that better’. It might just be a rendering feature but in the end it adds up to the complete experience of what we’re doing.”
“I think it’s our responsibility as game developers to always push ourselves when it comes to the experience of games. To always make sure that when we put games in the hands of consumers that we are proud of what we’ve done.”
“We want people to be amazed when they look at our games. And I think this is more important than becoming number one in whatever way you look at it – though naturally part of that comes from a very high level of competitiveness here within DICE. We want to make the best game that we can, and we want that game to be the best one on the market. If gamers think that, then we’ve done our job. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it.”
He also took the opportunity to speak about trends and the way that the modern shooter is destined to soon be replaced. In doing so, he makes it clear that there needs to be more depth than a simple palette swap:
“I think we’re going to start seeing people moving away from the modern setting, because every now and again settings or themes start to get stale and then everyone jumps over. Y’know, at some point dinosaurs are the hottest thing and everyone is making games with dinosaurs, but there are trends. It used to be WWII, and recently it’s been the modern era and people are now moving towards near future.
“But it’s a bit cheap to just say, ‘Okay, we’re going to switch and go back in time or into the future and that will be innovation’. It will definitely drive the franchise forward for whatever game, but it’s not true innovation, it’s more a thematic change that has a perceived value to the gamers out there. But as a developer you can only make so many games in one particular era, and then you personally start to get a bit bored with it.”
Does this imply that the next Battlefield, whenever it comes, will jump further into the future, perhaps including more references to emergent technologies and pushing imagination? So much the better if it does, as it will lead to a greater sense of authenticity. What do the readers think of the claims made here?