June 18, 2013

Destruction in BF4

Many fans of the Battlefield franchise watched the multiplayer reveal and E3 live streaming with bated breath, waiting to see, among other things, what level of destruction we would see in this new installment.  Many were calling for a return to the level of destruction we saw in Bad Company 2, where entire maps could be reduced to rubble after half a round of grenade launcher spam.  Others complained that a flat map was no fun, and BC2 levels of destruction simply turned any map into Nebandon Flats of BF3 End Game.

So, what have we seen of destruction so far?  It seems like we have seen both more and less.  The falling skyscraper was simply insane, especially considering that the timing (destruction required) is player controlled.  However, the other elements of destruction did not seem so enormous; it seemed as though there were designated destructible points, including the skyscraper, rather than BC2's map-wide, "if something explode-y hits it, it's gonna crumble and fall" level of destruction.  Or, as they put it in this article:
Still, in the end destruction in Battlefield 4 occurs where DICE wants it to, and while they do try to funnel you into those areas of the maps so you can see experience these morphable elements, incidental destruction won’t occur much. But Grondol insisted that they’ve built enough “dynamic elements” into the maps that even players who’ve experienced them many times might encounter new interactive bits from time to time.
Basically, DICE has taken the opinion that there is such a thing as too much destruction, and has instead attempted to build in other interactive elements to the maps to add to their tactical nature and enhance replayability.  I honestly feel this is the better approach.  On Arica Harbor in BC2, you always knew the whole map would be flattened to rubble.  That was Bad Company 2, the second installment in the leg of the Battlefield franchise that is known for a goofier take on the Battlefield playstyle.  That is why Destruction 2.0 was treated much like a weapon.  Enough people are clamoring for full destruction that I expect we will see its return, in one way or another, when they get around to Bad Company 3 (2015?).

Unfortunately, I did not see a lot of E3 gameplay in which people appeared to be trying out the destruction mechanics.  I get the impression it will be a lot like BF3, but with the added element of significant map-changers, such as the Shanghai skyscraper.  If this is the case, I think DICE may have made a mistake. While I don't think BF4 needs BC2 levels of destruction, I do think it needs to go farther than what BF3 offered beyond the one "scripted dynamic" item per map.  Of course, we have seen only one map, and in its pre-alpha state.  This map could change a lot before release, and likely does not fully represent the scope of the other maps yet to come.  I have a hard time believing DICE has already shown us their best tricks.  Even with Siege of Shanghai, there surely will be more to learn and discover upon release.  Although I have my concerns, I am certainly going to withhold judgment until we see what Battlefield 4 truly has to offer this Fall.

However, if this post gets to the eyes of anyone at DICE, please consider making sure at least one or two maps (if not all) exhibit a level of destruction that puts us somewhere between BF3 and BC2.


  1. Bad Company 2 got me REALLY into the Battlefield Universe, one reason above all...that was the destruction. I admit that yes, there were too many times that our team would jump into a map and see everything blown to bits and it kinda killed it. But more often than not, people were just goofing off. However, when you have a real good game and people are "creating" choke points it was amazing. If you wanted to keep a particular building in tact and use it as a vantage point then you would prevent the enemy from destroying it. It created a sense of accomplishment when you knew that you kept a vantage point from crumbling. Also it really made it great deal harder to snipe in bc2 because of this. It made you have to really play the class as it was meant to be played, RECON! Now in bf3 there are plenty of places where snipers can just sit the entirety of the map and rack up kills without worrying about needing to move for fear of a building collapsing.
    Idk, I love bf3 don't get me wrong, but they seriously dumbed down the level of destruction down to the point of, making it easily.comparable to any of the COD clones.
    I just feel that with the sophistication of the Frostbite engine and the level of destruction that is capable (Close Quarter Combat maps anyone) it would be one of the best war games ever. This article made me realize how much fun I had with bc2 and how much I miss it.....lol thanks...

    1. Thanks for the comment! I have to agree that I do miss that level of destruction; strategically knocking out someone's cover, or getting those Destruction 2.0 kills were exciting parts of the game. Now that they have said BF4 will bring back some of the BC2 destruction, I am becoming more excited about it. Add to that the fact they are enabling the recon class to be more recon in addition to sniper on the hill, and I really have hope this game will be really fun.