DICE considered delaying the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Battlefield 4 after “struggling quite a lot to keep up with the changes” the platform holders made to their hardware in the build-up to release.
Executive producer Patrick Bach has admitted that the move would have meant pushing back the title beyond the launch of the two consoles – something the developer managed to avoid after “overcom[ing] those hurdles” and thinking about “what the game actually is on next-gen”.
“Well we’ve been very aggressive with Battlefield 4 in that we want to be out at launch with the next gen consoles,” Bach told GamesIndustry.biz while discussing the impact of this week’s delay of major next-gen title Watch Dogs. “I think people might not grasp how hard that is, to develop a game at the same time as the hardware. 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.
“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 – 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. 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.”
Bach’s comments suggest DICE may not have been able to realise their next-gen vision for Battlefield 4 as well as they’d have liked – something he hinted at earlier in the year.
“There’s always a balance,” he said. “‘You should have done more with Battlefield 4 [on next-gen].’ It’s like, well, we do as much as we can but we need to compromise in some places, and in other places we don’t compromise at all, and you think we should have done the opposite. Sorry, that’s our creative choice. I think that both Microsoft and Sony, they probably have very clever people finding the right balance where you get the most bang for the right buck.”