“We take all this into account when we think about the future, and do franchise strategy,” Troedsson said. “But there’s one thing that lingers with Bad Company that we’ve been asking ourselves: what is it that the people really liked about Bad Company?”
Crazy right? Can you ever recall a developer outright saying they don’t know what people like about their game? It’s even more bizarre when you consider that this quote is aimed at a beloved franchise that was critically and commercially successful. The above quote in question comes from Karl-Magnus Troedsson, the head of Digital Illusions CE, better known as DICE in a recent interview with Eurogamer. The conversation sparked up over the fact that we’re getting Battlefield Hardline this year when it seems many people were expecting some sort of Battlefield Bad Company 3 announcement instead.
Well, I agree with him.
Granted, not completely, as I believe there was probably a better way to go about bringing this topic up rather than saying you don’t know why people like the franchise. Taken out of context which I’m sure many people have done, makes DICE look kind of silly. I’ve seen people on social media, forums, and the comment sections latch on to specific things about the quote especially when you imply that you don’t know why people like a certain thing. At that point it’s just adding fuel to the fire, so maybe taking a more subtle approach would have been a better idea. I believe I know the point he was trying to articulate though.
Essentially, what I believe Troedsson is trying to say is that the feedback they get on the franchise is more or less vague and general rather than detailed. While it’s true that you can’t really create a game around thoughts like “the multiplayer was the best” or “the controls feel great” and risk disappointing the passionate fanbase, there have to be solid and detailed examples around why people really enjoy the Bad Company series, right?
Well, I recently took it upon myself to try and answer that very question. Here’s a few reasons why I personally love the Bad Company games. Now, I’m not saying these are the answers that DICE needs, but they’re things that I recall fondly when thinking back.
The biggest aspect to the Bad Company games has to be the overall tone which tries to go away from the typical ultra macho, serious, modern war style of games. Focusing more on lighter themes, comic relief style characters, and adding humor really gave the Bad Company games a different feel and charm to them.
Typical modern war shooters ditch traditional story telling elements like compelling characters and story for an action packed, globe trotting roller coaster ride. Bad Company didn’t do that and opted for a more character driven plotline. The characters in Bad Company were screw ups. They joked around and basically hunted down bars of gold. They weren’t interested in saving the world or fighting waves of enemies from Paris to New York. It was wildly refreshing to play especially in a genre that typically rehashes similar plots around saving a [place] from an [enemy faction] with a nameless [hero, badass, nameless soldier].
Sure Battlefield 3 and 4 introduced us to more and better looking destruction including “Levolution” moments, but there’s just something about being able to blow a hole in a wall, running through that hole, and then seeing the house collapse under it’s own weight. For those of you who used to play the Bad Company games, how many times did you end up placing C4 all over a building and detonating it only to watch the building collapse on top of an enemy soldier. Countless. That was the element that Battlefield 3 was initially missing which really disappointed me. DICE eventually corrected that with DLC packs down the road, but ultimately having the power to level buildings in your own creative way was something that is sorely missed. Battlefield 4 comes real close, but just doesn’t feel exactly right as it did in the Bad Company games.
On some level, it seemed like every shack, building, or structure was placed on that map for you to completely wipe out. Maps typically would looked completely different by the end of a match than they did at the beginning.
Talk about Bad Company 2 and many people will instantly call out “Heavy Metal” in an almost unconscious reflex type of response. Why? Well, back in the Bad Company days it seems like maps were designed and made specifically for certain types of game modes such as Rush or Conquest. They were not “jack of all trades” types where they needs to support any type of game mode at any given point. That reason alone would mean designers would only need to focus on one aspect rather than consider multiple fronts. Conquest on a map like Atacama Desert or Rush on Valparaíso for example provided me with so many epic moments.
While I know this style of design may not be viable in this new age of military shooters, why can’t DICE design a few maps here or there specifically for certain game modes. That’s not asking for too much, right?