Battlefield Hardline is reimagining itself with a huge emphasis on speed. Through the new gadgets, vehicles, gameplay modes, and maps, speed will completely change how Hardline plays compared to past games. I recently sat down for a roundtable discussion with Thad Sasser, lead multiplayer designer for Hardline, and PR Manager Yafine Lee for an indepth look at how speed will factor into Hardline’s personality.
Through small tweaks, Hardline’s character movement has been sped up to give a faster, more intense game, without making it unrealistic. By doing small things like modifying the running and sprinting speeds, making the step height higher, and speeding up reload and climbing animations, everything on foot has been tweaked for a faster and more intense experience. The goal is to make the player faster and more reactive while in and out of battle.
The vehicles are also bringing a major dose of momentum. Ditching slow-moving, battle-ready vehicles and replacing them with fast muscle cars, motorcycles and transport vehicles, Hardline is upping the ante. Although the larger transport vehicles are not extremely fast themselves, it allows larger amounts of players to shuffle from point to point in the map and get into the action quicker than walking. The cars in the game are fast, and the addition of the e-brake will change how we drive in Battlefield Hardline. According to Thad, the e-brake was one of the most requested changes, and it really changes driving by giving the player more control and precision.
Another game-changing mechanic that will alter how players play Battlefield is the introduction of the grappling hook and zip line. These two gadgets will modify how players traverse the map completely. It also adds an even bigger vertical scale than previous games and offers players new and creative approaches to playstyles and tactics.These two gadgets, according to Thad, will most likely be the biggest game-changers to on-foot combat. The grappling hook will not only help snipers and people trying to get to vantage points, but also allow great diversity in routes people can take and tactics in creating ambushes or chokepoints. The zipline allows great movement speed and allows the verticality to truly be taken advantage of. The levels have also been fine-tuned so that these two gadgets can really be taken advantage of, both for speed and tactics.
Another way to amp-up the Battlefield series is the maps. This time around, the maps have more focus on tight-knit urban-based warfare. As mentioned before verticality is also a big part of the warzones. There are more places to hide, nooks and crannies, and maps have been fine-tuned to allowthe player to run and sprint across the map faster (or use gadgets) and use the supercharged vehicles to their full advantage.
The game modes have also been built around the idea of speed. The biggest change from the traditional Battlefield franchise is Hotwire. It is a fast-pace game mode with the souped-up cars mentioned earlier. It is a cops-and-robbers dream with car chases and shootouts, and “special” cars that act as movable control points to help your team get tickets and win the round. Rescue is also a game mode that benefits and embraces the theme of speed. With rounds lasting only three minutes and no respawns, it is a very tactical type of play, with a short amount of time to clear objectives and either kill or keep a high value target alive.
With all these new additions and changes, we also talked about balance and making it still play well. When asked how they plan to keep balance in tactics and speed, the response was simple: it all depends on the mode. Team deathmatch only has the goal of most kills, so speed and chaos are fine and can even be helpful, but there are also more tactical modes where teamplay is more important than just speed alone. Good players will learn when to use their speed and gadgets in tactical ways to play the objectives.
After a great beta launch and talking about how much speed and getting into the battle is such a focus, I am anxiously awaiting the final release to feel Hardline’s amped-up, edgier, and faster pulse.