Previously ... on Battlefield Hardline:
Visceral Games' cop-drama take on Electronic Arts' military shooter franchise was delayed into 2015, mainly over concerns with the online multiplayer experience that just went through a beta in June. What does that mean for the game's single-player story?
While extra time is always useful for polishing things, it sounds as though Battlefield Hardline wrapped shooting in May and the story is basically finished. Wendy Calhoun (writer and producer of Nashville, Justified and other TV series) is aboard as a narrative consultant to the story, bringing along Bill Johnson as performance director (whose editing credits include The West Wing, and also Justified). Battlefield Hardline will be the story of a cop who gets framed and goes underground to clear his name, giving the player both angles of a cops and robbers story.
"We start off with the narrative of two cops who are good cops, and one really wants to prove himself," Calhoun explained. "Eventually the tables turn on them, and they are set up by another group and become criminals themselves. They've got to fight their way out of prison, and turn the tables on the people who put them there."
In a video shown to a panel at Comic-Con 2014, Battlefield Hardline appears to feature an ensemble cast, with Eugene Byrd (Bones) and Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges, and whose voice acting credits including Batman: Arkham Origins) in major roles. Benito Martinez, who played a CIA informant in the fourth season of Sons of Anarchy, also stars.
The video showed cops involved in urban operations as well as out in "desert, Breaking Bad meth country," in the words of creative director Ian Milham. There, it appears an undercover team led by the protagonist (named Nick) disrupts a huge cocaine warehouse controlled by a crime lord named Roark (played by Mark Rolston, who was PI Gordie Liman on The Shield). That appears to be the turning point where the player gets framed and turns to the underworld to straighten things out.
"Shows where there's always a thin line between the protagonist and antagonist," are Calhoun's favorite to write, she told the panel. "You've got to love your villain like he's a hero.
"The difference [in writing] this, it was really a head-twister, but I love it: You, the gamer, are the hero," Calhoun said. "Now it's a 3D world that you're taking the audience and dropping them into. I have to remember that you, the audience member, you're that character. It's very different from TV and film."
Fans wanted to know about the game's delay in the panel's Q&A, and Milham repeated it's been delayed "to early 2015." Johnson, the performance director, said "We're really happy about that, to get much more time," though it's unclear what else that means for the singleplayer scenes.
"[The delay] is a real blessing, because over time, games are living longer and you only get one chance to come out," Milham said.
When it launches, Battlefield Hardline will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.