Battlefield: Hardline has a lot to prove after the disaster of last year’s Battlefield 4. It may have a new developer at the helm, Visceral Games, but it’s still running on the same exact engine Battlefield 4 does. Actually, right now, it’s a little behind. The beta that is available to all PC and registered PlayStation 4 owners today doesn’t have the new netcode that EA DICE added to Battlefield 4 a few weeks ago, but it said the game will be updated when it officially launches. That said, it’s hard not to be skeptical about a new Battlefield game’s online functionality.
Here’s three very important reasons why Battlefield: Hardline might run into trouble.
1. It’s essentially a mod
The multiplayer portion of Battlefield: Hardline is not outside what you could feasibly do with a mod for Battlefield 4. We wouldn’t really know, because EA never added mod support to the game. It hasn’t had mod support for a Battlefield game since Battlefield 2. But from the looks of it, it’s essentially modified game modes with unique objectives inside them. Nothing about it is new to the engine, other than some textures and voice-acting–things you could easily do with mod tools.
This sparked popular streamer Bluedrake42 to make a scathing video about his problems with the game. He said, “I don’t understand how [publisher EA] can call this a fully independent game.” He takes a somewhat cynical look and believes EA didn’t add mod support to Battlefield 4 to charge people for games like Battlefield: Hardline. We’ll probably never know if that’s true or not.
Speaking of price …
2. It costs the full $60
If you’re willing to believe the multiplayer parts of Battlefield: Hardline aren’t much more elaborate than a mod, then you’re going to have a problem with the price EA is asking you to pay. It will cost $60, the same price as Battlefield 4 when it launched, the same price as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare when it launches.
There hasn’t exactly been a huge precedent for this kind of game using the same engine in the past. Call of Duty and Battlefield have technically used the same engines for several iterations but the games were pretty different. The most recent example of a game that was essentially the same thing was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. That game used the same engine as Far Cry 3 with lots of filters and it’s own unique story to fits its ridiculous theme. Far Cry 3 was $60 when it launched, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was $15, but it should be noted that it didn’t have multiplayer.
Battlefield: Hardline might be easier to stomach if it was $30, or $40 at most. It would go a long way to help assuage the Battlefield 4 debacle and give owners of that game $10 off of Battlefield: Hardline. The odds of that happening are probably slim, though.
3. Battlefield has a bad reputation when it comes to online functionality
The biggest story book ending 2013 was how terrible Battlefield 4’s online experience was. It was plagued with lag, crashes, balance issues, hacking, and literally a list of other problems that still exist today. And multiplayer is the most popular part of a Battlefield game. It’s a little surprising EA think it’s okay to release another Battlefield game before the last one is really finished. But big publishers like EA have to make their investors happy and there’s no way it would refuse having a new game each year.
So, how do we know if Battlefield: Hardline will work when it’s released? We don’t, and that’s the worst part about it. Fans of the game are already advising each other not to pre-order the game until we know it works. Battlefield games always have rough starts so it might at least save you some frustration for a few days. There’s always the option of not buying it in protest too.