An Open Letter To DICE
I have been a passionate fan of Battlefield ever since I picked up Modern Combat for the original Xbox. I was never really interested in or good at online multiplayer, but I did enjoy the campaign and the hot-swapping between soldiers was a great mechanic.
When Bad Company rolled up on the Xbox360 I really enjoyed it. The Story was a little silly but very entertaining and Haggard & Sweet completely stole the show with their witty banter. I eventually dipped into the multiplayer and dispite being pretty bad at it, I really enjoyed it. Playing with vehicles was great fun and all the toys and gadgets were something I had not experienced in a military shooter before and they really added something special.
Then came Bad Company 2. Your Magnificent Octopus. Ignoring completely the ridiculous new Call Of Duty mode that you added with everything and everyone lit up like a christmas tree, bullet-sponge soldiers and soft-option assists, I went straight for 'Hardcore' or as I like to call it 'Battlefield Mode'
BC2 in Hardcore was the absolute epitomy of multiplayer perfection. Alright, not quite perfection but as close as anybody is going to get. Maps built from the ground-up specifically for a 24-player console experience. Great weapon balancing. Sound-effects that would make Stanley Kubrick green with envy. Quick and easy squad-up mechanics. A simple and effective front-end menu.
I lost a great majority of my life to Bad Company 2 and I don't regret a single moment of it. Joy Joy Joy
Sadly though, following the success of BC2 you started to crack under pressure. I understand the need to make money and that Battlefield is originally a long-standing PC franchise, but really lets be honest - Trying to make the same game for 3 platforms with two different player counts just didn't work out did it.
The balancing went all to cock on the consoles, gameplay wasn't quite as sharp and responsive as in Bad Company and frankly the maps were just too bloody big for 24 players, even with the half-hearted map adjustments that you made. Even so, you made a successful game that made a lot of money and a lot of new fans and paved the way for the long-sought-after 'Call Of Duty Killer': Battlefield 4. Could this possibly be THE One..?
- Sadly no. Although you brought 64 players to consoles, the bugs that you brought with it were simply laughable. Even 4 months and several patches later, the game still has it's issues. Your servers seem to get less reliable and laggy with every game that you release, constant disconnects and boots to dashboard. Maps with ridiculous bottle-necks that nearly always end in a 20 minute stalemate of everyone tossing grenades and never moving forward. Hoo-frakkin-ah. Also, still dying from a 6ft drop? I know it's a videogame, but I'm a fat biffer and even I could jump from a 6ft wall without so much as spraining my ankle, let alone keeling over dead. Trained killer my arse.
No matter what the EA suits may say at their investors meetings, the sales hit was not from crossing the generation gap. You know and I know and the players know that BF4 took a hit in sales simply because it's really not that good. Buggy, Laggy, unbalanced, shitty servers, poor clan facilities and this god-awful battlelog system that you carried over from BF3 which is nice in theory but a ball-ache in practice. Way too overly ambitious and poorly executed.
And now... and now, well, I just played the Titanfall Beta. I wanted to hate it, I really really wanted to hate it with every fiber of my being. How could I possibly want to like any game with the slightest whiff of CoD about it? I HATE CoD multiplayer with every ounce of my soul. Its gameplay and those who play it just sicken me to my stomach. I wanted SO badly to hate Titanfall, but being a level-headed gamer, I dont slag off a game till I've tried it, so I tried it. And herein lies the rub...
I loved playing Titanfall. Everything about it was FUN, FRIENDLY and TIGHT. This was a BETA and the servers were faster, stronger and more reliable than yours. 5 seconds to get into a lobby (About 3 times faster than trying to join a BF lobby) and automatic squad-up with your friends pre-match. No Lag, no judder, no disconnect. Simple, easy, effective, reliable
After the Titanfall Beta ended I came back to play BF4 on my PS4 and my heart just sank. Suddenly the controls felt slow, sticky and unresponsive. Right from the get-go I was experiencing lag and judder and despite scoring pretty high as usual I felt no sense of pride, achievement or teamwork. I know the social side of it is down to me, to make friends and get together a good squad and have fun, but BF4 has made it SO difficult to do that now. You took away the pre-game lobbies. We can't squad up before getting in a server. 99 times out of 100 you get thrown on the team that is not just losing but getting its ass rammed to the tune of 300 tickets (or more) and to cap it off if you joined server with a friend, they're usually on the opposing team.
It didn't have to be Titanfall necessarily, but I guess it took a really solid, well-crafted FPS experience to highlight for me just how slow, sluggish and joyless Battlefield has become.
I can no longer play your game DICE, I'm sorry. You killed the Joy. I don't entirely blame just you, I've experienced first-hand the pure talent and genius you once showed in Bad Company and in Mirrors Edge. I know you can do much much more than this and with much greater passion. EA has squashed your studio, squeezed the life from it and forced you to release unfinished, unrealistic rubbish that simply isn't 'you'
Do yourselves a favor DICE; let go of the dollar signs for just a moment and look at what you used to be, compared to now. The Company that promised its fans they would NEVER charge for DLC. The Company that brought us Haggard's rainbow sprinkles. The company that pioneered 1st person Parkour which other games are also now putting to great effect.
Get out DICE, get your neck out from under EA's oppressive dock boot and go find yourself a new publisher or go solo. Get Goldfarb back (whatever the cost) and regroup. Bring us that DICE wonder that used to shine so bright.
I have always loved you DICE and I always will, but I don't think I can play your game anymore. At least not until something changes in a big, big way. I'm sorry.