Battlefield 4

[GDC 2013] Total Eclipse of the Chart

EA and DICE forego the usual pre-presentation boasting and head right into the action, and we had prime seats. Impressions inside.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: March 26, 2013
page 1 page 2   next
Get used to seeing this line when reading previews of tonight's Battlefield 4 debut: I never expected a presentation about a gritty first-person shooter to start with Bonnie Tyler. It's a safe bet that no game -- bullet-fueled or otherwise -- has debuted to the opening strains of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," but that's precisely how the new Frostbite 3 Engine-powered presentation began. As the view faded in from black, the situation was certainly dire: a group of spec ops soldiers were trapped, upside-down, in a car that was quickly sinking. A trapped solider instructs the player to take his gun and blow out the windshield to save the rest of the crew, and as the trigger is pulled... the game jumps backward in time by about 20 action-packed minutes.

This flashback isn't just a great way to tease the possibility of these men dying in a watery tomb, it was a great way to jump forward to minimize down time. The game, running on a clearly beefy PC (at least if the on-screen prompts were any indication), was a perfect example of what DICE is known for: one hell of a visually and aurally arresting string of showpiece action movie moments.

This isn't solely the realm of the Battlefield series, of course; for years now, Activision's Call of Duty series has been sort of the poster child for setpiece cacophony, with Battlefield slowly catching up. 2011's Battlefield 3 did a good job of aping the general feel, but the draw was clearly still about the series' trademark big scale multiplayer tussles. Tonight's presentation was clearly an attempt to help equalize the single-player and multiplayer pieces of the puzzle -- not mention a chance to tout the power of DICE's new engine.

Make no mistake, this was as much a chance to show off what next-gen PC (and, we're hoping by extension, console) games are going to look like. Overwhelmingly, the impression among other attendees was that Battlefield 4 is a visual knockout, which you can see for yourself in the video below:

page 1 page 2   next