All Hands on DICE. Fixing Battlefield 4 is "#1 Priority"

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:59 AM |
Tagged: dice, BF4

DICE has announced that they are working on Battlefield 4, its expansions, Mirror's Edge, and Star Wars: Battlefront 3. Or at least, they have been working on them. For now, Battlefield 4 will be the only product in active development. DICE and EA have acknowledged issues with the game in terms of stability and connectivity. Until that becomes satisfactory, they will pause development on all other titles and expansion packs.

PC Gamer received a statement from an EA spokesperson about these claims. Apparently the China Rising DLC was basically completed before this decision was made; everything else will wait. Really, you just cannot keep bombers and motorbikes sitting on the shelf.

I mean, it is interesting that they say this. Still, I cannot see what this actually means. EA will not pull environment artists and sound engineers to fix these issues. It is a good "commitment to our customers" statement and I applaud them for admitting problems with the game (oddly, I found this version much less error prone than Battlefield 3) but, despite sounding clear, I wonder how much extra resources will result from this. Sure, it was a petty example, but it questions where the line actually is.

Battlefield 4 is available now from multiple retailers (just not Steam).

Source: PC Gamer
December 5, 2013 | 02:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is just simple corporate greed gone bad on launching Battlefield 4.

I will never play it, unless it is completely free.

December 5, 2013 | 10:35 AM - Posted by mLocke

Battlefield Heroes and Play4Free are pretty terrible.

December 5, 2013 | 05:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

BF4 is NOT available on Steam, and never will be.

December 5, 2013 | 12:30 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yep, that's what I said.

December 5, 2013 | 11:49 AM - Posted by snook

this game is really good and they are working overtime to straighten it out. the maps are better visually as is the whole experience. unfortunatly, FPSs rise and fall on hit reg. and that needs major attention.

BF4 is still better than BF3.

December 5, 2013 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Branthog

Calling it "really good" when it is utterly broken on every platform seems rather contradictory. It may be really good at its ideal and in its totally un-broken state, but it doesn't do much good to judge a game on its aspiration potential rather than its current existence.

The simple fact is that they were rushed to release an unfinished game in an utterly broken state, customers were accused of being entitled babies for complaining until reviewers and press started to experience the same for themselves, and now here we are a month later with them acting like the meaningless gesture of claiming "everything is stopping while we put all manpower on fixing this game" is something to be praised.

As someone in the software development world, I know that video games are certainly not "mission critical", but I truly feel that full-priced games should be released in a working condition. Having some bugs that will be fixed later and mechanics that will be refined later is one thing. Releasing it utterly broken, charging people $140 for it (the game, plus "premium", plus tax) and then dicking them around for weeks before finally promising to "fix that shit you paid for" is utter garbage and it is the EA-WAY, so far.

If you want to release a game in a broken state that you will polish up to "release standards" later on, push it as an Early Access project, like on Steam. Or better yet, push that shit off another quarter while you let your developers do their job.

This shit is what happens when MBAs make decisions and they do so based on boosting their stake on Wall Street rather than practical state of their product and input from their developers.

If people continue to accept this and the press continues to belittle customers who paid a lot of money as being "whiners", things will simply continue to get worse with each passing year.

December 5, 2013 | 01:07 PM - Posted by Lord Binky (not verified)

I remember a time when if a game shipped on a console with bugs, that's how it stayed.

That said, I think my most memorable release day patch was for mechwarrior: mercenaries. I knew then it was only going to get worse.

December 6, 2013 | 07:58 AM - Posted by Branthog

The capability to patch games and servers after launch should not be a crutch for failed project management nor a justification or excuse for delivering a broken product. Bugs and performance issues are unavoidable, but your retail product should meet a certain level of functionality and stability by the time (or at least within a few days) you start asking your customers for $65-150.

December 6, 2013 | 03:18 AM - Posted by snook

it's a really good game. simple fact, and that's from hours of play. it is functioning on every platform. I'll give EA all my money before activision, the king of non-fixes, gets another dime.

as of this last patch, on PC at least, the hit reg is improved.

there was no contradiction in my statement. how many hours have you logged in BF4?

December 6, 2013 | 07:49 AM - Posted by Branthog

I haven't logged that many hours in BF4, because it has been utterly fucking broken. This past week has been the first time since launch that my server has remained even remotely stable. The several weeks before that, servers were totally borked and many of the updates were just making it worse.

That isn't even to address the client problems that people were having on the player's end.

To define something as a really good game, it needs to be taken as a whole. Until that thing is stable and playable, it can hardly be considered "a good game". Again, it might be a good game underneath all that bullshit, but there are a lot of absolutely miserable games that fit that bill. There's a reason Polygon, for example, gave it a 4/10. Functionality is a vital element of something being good.

December 5, 2013 | 01:35 PM - Posted by Austin (not verified)

EA taught me a fine lesson this year. To never pre-order another game from them ever again. The SimCity debacle should have been a clear indication of that however I didn't think it could happen to Battlefield. The day 1 launch of Battlefield was a complete disaster in my honest opinion. Server crashes, lost stats, misc other glitches? The title should have been delayed however EA and DICE clearly felt the game was ready for release and now they are being proven wrong and catching hell for it.

December 6, 2013 | 07:55 AM - Posted by Branthog

I haven't been following along every step of the way with the revelations, but my understanding is that it is now pretty commonly known that EA pushed Dice into getting the game out regardless of its condition and to patch it up, later.

As a software developer, my head would be served on a platter if I did this to customers and, yet, "release broken, fix after they pay" is what we now expect gamers to tolerate.

Between this, SimCity, the increasing shittiness of DLC/Microtransactions/Season Passes (is there anything on the new XBOX that doesn't contain all of these things, yet?) -- I'm becoming more disillusioned with the entire recreational activity.

It is hard to enjoy being a gamer and it is difficult not being jaded and cynical, when the video game industry demonstrates the most cynical-as-hell attitude and behavior every step of the way, these days.

I suppose this is a large reason why I have backed so many Kickstarter projects (581, as of this morning). While many will fail, many will not hit their mark, and many will disappoint, I feel the little guys at least have their hearts and minds in the right place and I'd rather patronize them than those who are increasingly treating me like a fat wallet, the same way my politicians do.

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