Electronic Arts announced Battlefield V today, describing the details of the first-person shooter game coming in October to the consoles and the PC. As it did so, the game developers at EA’s DICE studio in Sweden said they searched hard for ways to make the game different, even though the billion-dollar franchise is heading back to the familiar setting of World War II.
Daniel Berlin, design director at DICE, said that soldier movements will be more physical and combat will be more visceral in Battlefield V. When someone hands you ammo, you don’t just receive it and automatically put it into your inventory. You have to actually catch it or pick it up as it is tossed to you. One of the design pillars for the game is that it is “physical and kinetic,” Berlin said. This is part of a larger effort to make Battlefield into a more immersive experience.
“I interact directly with the world around me. My actions require inputs, and the world reacts in a believable and physical way,” Berlin said. “This means we want the soldiers to be grounded, and we want gameplay actions to require inputs. If you run up to a ledge, you don’t automatically jump over it without giving an input.”
That may sound like it requires a lot of button mashing. But it makes sense in one respect. DICE has built physics and physical simulation into its Frostbite game engine from the beginning, and that’s why it has spectacular physics effects such as destructible vehicles and buildings. Now it is extending those physical effects to the soldiers as well.
“Now there’s a deeper connection between the player and the world around you,” Berlin said.
In the past, a medic could drop a medkit and you could be healed by moving near the aura emanating from the medkit. But in Battlefield V, the medic will physically come over to you and make a striking motion, as if they are giving you a morphine shot, in order to restore your health. When you have been mortally shot, you have a choice of bleeding out or waiting for a medic to help you. You can look around in all directions to see if someone nearby can help you.
If a comrade is bleeding out, you don’t have to revive that person and risk being shot in the open. Rather, you can run to the person, drag them to safety, and then revive them under safe cover. That’s a physical representation in the game of what would really happen in real combat.
The dynamic weather will have an effect on movement as well. For instance, if you are running in the rain, you might get stuck in the mud. A soldier running through water will raise his legs up higher due to the resistance. And if rocks are in the way, a soldier running through an area could stumble.
The whole idea is to interact with the world that is so interactive itself, Berlin said.
“Players will be required to give an input to perform an action, and that action will have a physical representation in the world, say an animation,” he said. “And that animation has a believable reaction in the world. If we nail all those things, you get a world that is physical and kinetic.”
Guns will also follow this “more physical and kinetic” rule. When you fire a machine gun at a target, the bullets will spread out in a predictable way. Once you learn a weapon and how it sprays its bullets, then you can more predictably shoot. The bullets won’t spread out in a random way, and that means you won’t miss when you’re really aiming at a target and squeezing the trigger.