SAN FRANCISCO, California — Electronic Arts-owned DICE has been a master of creating virtual battlefields for gamers to engage in. The latest effort, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, introduces new online gameplay options that should excite veteran gamers and help enlist new virtual recruits. At a recent press event in San Francisco, Patrick Bach, senior producer of the new game, took some time away from the controller to talk about the new PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game’s online and multiplayer options in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals with this sequel given the success of Battlefield: Bad Company?
We actually had quite a few very important goals to hit for Battlefield: Bad Company 2. One was to not only focus on the consoles but also make sure that this title was a true Battlefield game no matter what your preferred platform is. The idea was to not work on a specific “lead” platform but to build the best possible game and then make sure we got the most out of it on each platform. Another focus was to improve the general quality of the game substantially. On Battlefield: Bad Company 1, we used the internally developed game engine Frostbite for the first time. This means that we were testing the possibilities and boundaries of what this engine could handle. This time around, we had done all the test driving and went to the race filled with potential that I’m sure will show in the final product. There are also thousands of smaller and bigger things we improved like destruction, vehicle handling, game modes, balancing, visuals and variation in gameplay.
Can you talk about the story for the game and what’s happening now?
In the single-player campaign the B-Company squad is back. All the main characters are there; Sweetwater, Sergeant Redford, Haggard and the player character Preston Marlowe. The game starts off some time after the last one with the squad situated on routine missions up in Alaska. The war between Russia and the US that was portrayed in the previous game has shifted slightly in balance and the Russians are moving closer to American borders through South America and Alaska. The squad finds evidence that a Russian super weapon is in development and they need to go down to South America to find out more. From there the game really kicks off. I don’t want to spoil the rest for you, so you’ll have to play the game to find out more.
What have you been able to add to the gameplay?
There have been a lot of small changes to the basic gunplay making the weapons feel even better. We also made sure the game is more varied than any Battlefield game before. The variation in both multiplayer maps and in the campaign will be a big surprise to a lot of people.
Can you talk about the multiplayer options in this game?
First of all, this where DICE’s soul has been for many years. We do know what makes a great Battlefield game and we have focused on integrating these ideas into Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Some examples are the new game modes in this game. The traditional game mode, Conquest, is off course there and also the game mode, Rush, which was introduced in Battlefield: Bad Company 1. Rush is a progressive game mode that is fought between an attacking and a defending team. If the attackers succeed in destroying two objectives the map opens up and the new objectives for the attacking team goes deeper into enemy territories giving you a completely new environment with new vehicles and possibilities.
What have you added new to multiplayer?
We also added two new game modes that focus on the much-improved squad play in the game. One is called Squad Deathmatch and is played with four teams of four fighting to reach a team score of 50 kills to win the round. This game mode is virtually an online co-op mode, since the squad is actually fighting 12 other players. This gives a lot of dynamics to the flow of the game and creates completely new ways of playing Battlefield. The fourth game mode is called Squad Rush and is extremely competitive. It is designed as a Squad vs. Squad challenge and has proven to be the most popular game mode for competitive play.
What do you think gamers will like with the online gameplay?
If you have played previous Battlefield titles you will recognize the collective greatness of all Battlefield games immediately. There is a lot of inspiration from all the old Battlefield games and I think it shows no matter what your favorite title was. The newcomers to the series will first notice, apart from the must-have great infantry gunplay, that they will have a multitude of possibilities on the Battlefield. There is always a way to get back at your enemy and the use of vehicles and tactical destruction will add a never-before-experienced depth. The stunning visuals and amazing sound is just the icing on the cake.