'We should be slapped' for Battlefield 3's unlocks, says DICE creative director

DICE will improve the way unlockables are handled in Battlefield 4, distributing them in a more logical order than in Battlefield 3 and fine-tuning the game's steep learning curve, creative director Lars Gustavsson told VG247.

"We shipped Battlefield 3, which we should be slapped for, with probably the worst set ups ever," Gustavsson said.

For Battlefield 4, the set-ups will be easier to learn, Gustavsson said, noting that DICE learned from its mistakes with unclear set-ups in the previous Battlefield title.

"As a pilot, you had to fly your plane and only kill other planes with your cannons," he said. "You didn't have any counter-measures; you didn't have any missiles. And that's basically for the best of the best pilots; that's what they should do to show their skills. [As a beginner], you should have counter-measures, you should have heat-seeking missiles to give you a smooth ride into the game and then from there on you should customize."

The difficult learning curve and high point of entry for Battlefield 3, which prevented more casual players from being able to just pick up and play the game, is also something DICE will not be repeating with Battlefield 4. According to Gustavsson, DICE is aware of these criticisms. For Battlefield 2, the studio added in a one-click mechanic to get players directly into matches, "just to make it easier." But that wasn't enough to improve the entry roadblocks for new players.

"Part of it is when you do 64 players, vehicles, even if it would be team deathmatch it's a much more overwhelming experience," he said. "With Battlefield 4 we've done numerous things. We heard this feedback once again from Battlefield 3. We did a lot of tests; some of them were simple stuff just directly correlating to input latency and stuff like that. People were behind an enemy; they thought they had a perfect kill but with latency and everything it turned out that they missed, and they wondered why.

"So we've worked with latency," he explained. "We've added a test range where you can learn to fly the transport helicopter, not crash it into your friends. We've reworked menus to give you a much better understanding of how you customize — comparisons when you add attachments that give you a better understanding, just like racing games. We have reworked the spawn menu, just the concept of spawning in; in most games you just end up somewhere random, but here we have a choice. We have to try to show that in a much more visual way. So we've done rigorous testing on that one. Game mode movies and so on. We've definitely done a lot to smooth the learning curve."

Battlefield 4 will launch on Oct. 29 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC. The game will also be a launch title for the PlayStation 4 on Nov. 15 and Xbox One on Nov. 22.

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