Battlefield V Interview @ EA Play 2019 – DICE Is Committed for the Long Haul, Will Keep Listening to the Community

Battlefield V came out last year, but its trajectory is far from over yet. At EA Play 2019, DICE announced the remaining roadmap for this year.

Chapter Four, titled Defying the Odds, is set to debut in late June. Chapter Five will launch later this year, bringing at last Battlefield V players to the eagerly anticipated Pacific Theater.

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After the reveal at EA Play, we got the chance to speak with Producer Ryan McArthur and Creative Director Lars Gustavsson. Keep reading for our full interview on what's coming to Battlefield V.

Battlefield V fans have been eagerly waiting for the introduction of the Pacific Theater. What will be the main differences they'll find compared to the previous theaters of war?

Gustavsson: I think as I said on the stage it's a bit like coming home. Already when we launched Battlefield V people asked us, will you go to the Pacific, so it's always been in the back of our heads.

And for me, I mean, having been there with Battlefield 1942-43, where we did kind of start the franchise with the Pacific Theater, it's really like coming home. So I think it's the change of scenery as you mentioned on stage, the new environments.

McArthur: I think the big thing with the Pacific compared to when you look at the war in Europe is a very specific, very sort of, I guess, drudgery. Walking through as you go through Europe. With the Pacific the whole plan there is to bring the completely different fantasy that comes with that type of experience. So you've got amphibious invasions, you've got boats, you've got island hopping. So there's a completely sort of different characteristics to the soldiers and stuff that come with the game when it comes to that. So what you're going to see is that fantasy that embodies the Pacific experience with that sort of amphibious type of gameplay.

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Gustavsson: I think what we are trying to do is, as Ryan pointed out, the whole theme for the Pacific Theater in Battlefield V is going to be invasion. So we want to build on the amphibious forces. And during the war, island hopping was kind of a tactic on the American side. Going from island to island to take them, we really want to portray that. So we will provide a number of weapons and gadgets that will differentiate the gameplay and of course, the vehicles as well. Boats will come into play now. So we really have the full sandbox of land, air and sea. There are a lot of new gameplay elements and we hope that plays really well.

How will the Japanese army play differently?

McArthur: We can't go into the specifics but each army is going to have sort of its own, you know, it'll have those iconic pieces of equipment that you expect from the Japanese and you expect from the Americans.

Gustavsson: If you've seen the Pacific, if you've seen the movies, you should feel right at home in Battlefield V. And I think it's what's also wonderful with the Pacific is that it's such a change of scenery from Europe. I mean, we've been in Europe now, we've been in North Africa, but coming to to the Pacific where I would say the landscape almost becomes a beast in itself to master since it's such a different biome with different islands and areas that for us, as a game developers, we have a lot to play with in terms of how we can define pacing, what is a good cover? How can we get distraction and kind of the dynamic gameplay? So as game developers, it's a super fun setting to tackle.

Will these maps feature completely new layouts?

Gustavsson: Sure. Different flavors. For example, the water will be a much more important part of the gameplay. And I mean, overall the style and tone as well, going to the Pacific from if you play in Europe, like devastated Rotterdam, and then you go to the Pacific with the sunlight and the beautiful water. And it's a totally different beast.

McArthur: There's an interesting dichotomy between that sort of beautiful Pacific landscape and the sort of under destruction that comes with sort of the two armies rolling through. So I think it's going to be quite a different experience. And I think what we've tried to do with you see it with the maps that we've done today thus far. So the Mercury map that just came out and Marita map and Al Sundan, they are all quite different. And the layouts will offer a different type of experience in all of the maps before this is the target that we're going with.

Battlefield V fans are also wondering if they can expect to see kamikazes implemented in some form.

McArthur: Well, we don't want to go too far into the exact specifics. Right now the big thing that we're talking about is that you're going to see new weapons, new gadgets, three new maps, new theater, war boats, I think the specific details will come over the next few months as we get an adult.

Gustavsson: We want to stay respectful and then portray the Battlefield sandbox of the wars. So we always want to walk that line and portray a fun game that gives players the tools to be creative. But yeah, we will definitely talk more about what are the pieces that will go into the game as we move forward. But it was good fun being on stage at EA Play. We talked about how we're having the Al Sundan map coming, it actually was born out of our single player War Stories chapter Under No Flag. Already when we built it, the team was extremely focused on how they wanted to recreate a lot of the open world and sandbox that comes in multiplayer with the destruction and the big distances. And so already in the beginning, when we built the War Stories, there were ideas to turn this one into a multiplayer map. And that's what we've been doing, working hard and kind of utilizing these vast distances and getting the combination of man forces, tons of vehicles and planes playing together. And so for Battlefield veterans who have been with us since 1942, at least I get a lot of feeling of the El Alamein map, with tons of options available.

Speaking of options, is rocket artillery a possible addition coming to Battlefield V?

Gustavsson: I mean, we can't talk about exactly what's coming in terms of gameplay assets. But I think what just strikes me when you mentioned it is the towing feature, which basically means where the vehicles you can pick up kind of tow anti-air or stationary artillery. And with open worlds, it becomes super powerful. So suddenly, you can surprise two players with a gun. You also have tons of other maps we talked about on stage today.

McArthur: Al Sundan is that big, open classic Battlefield experience where it's tons of tanks, tons of capture points. But when you get into the map that comes next when you got Marita, which is a completely opposite style of gameplay, where it's all about close infantry combat, although there's a vehicle or two in the map. But overall, it's going to be how you and your team play together in terms of these giant head on sort of chaotic characters, chaos type of experiences, two sides come together in the middle of the map, you've got tons of houses in the village you can go into. So it's not just the distances, but you know, the verticality that comes from these multi-level houses just kind of completely different gameplay style between Alison pan and Reja. And then when you get into Operation Underground, that comes in October, and then I think that's going to be sort of that fan favorite. They're just that, like classic case of Battlefield and styles are combined with a complete reimagining of how you can, you know, the game today is different than it was, you know, years ago. So I think all the way up into the Pacific fans are going to get something they've been experiencing and hoping for about five. And then when the Pacific comes the completely new set of tools and things in your toolbox to get out.

Gustavsson: We're constantly working on making the game better. So a lot of things that people have been asking for like increasing max Rank, we have a lot of players who have maxed out at Rank 15 and have been asking for us to increase it and now we're doing it quite, quite much. So we got up to 500 Ranks. And also with that, you are rewarded as you progress already from rank 51, and then the milestone ranks every 50th rank, you'll get not only a kind of a career rank but also a set of dog tags to show off your mastery as you progress through the ranks.

Okay. And speaking of new features, any chance you'll add team swapping or team balancing features in the future as Battlefield V fans have asked for?

McArthur: Team balancing is something we're constantly working on trying to find ways to get in, team swapping as well. We're always looking at trying to find a way when you join a match. The key for us when we do things like team balancing is to ensure that it solves the problem and it's fair. So you know, we see a lot to make sure that the best matches are the ones that are well balanced either side, with both teams having a chance to win. So what we want to do is make sure that as we improve that balance over time, we're making sure that we're not introducing a way for people to sort of unbalance the teams. Yeah. So I think that the real struggle with us in terms of allowing for Team swapping manually is to make sure how to allow you to do that so that people don't take advantage of situations and create matchups that are even more unbalanced. So it is something that the team is looking at quite heavily. But again, it's that balance between how do we do it in the right way that creates a dynamic where everybody has a chance to be successful?

So right there is no ETA, correct?

McArthur: No, no specific commitment to an ETA other than it is something that we're constantly tweaking and changing.

Gustavsson: We're checking what are good solutions. But also I mean, what we talked about on stage with Private Games coming, we previously had the Rented Server Program, or RFP, which gives us another tool for players to set up their own service, whether they want to capture or want to play with friends, or just set up a server with specific settings that are tailored more to their play style. So I think we do everything we can to keep on listening to the community and what they want, but also trying to see what are the trends and where people want us to go with Battlefield V. It's super important that we not just work, but we work on the things that take us in the right direction together with the community.

Fans have also been waiting for the tank customization update, is there any progress there you can talk about?

McArthur: It's still something we're working on, the guys want to make it good. Something we're constantly noticing is a lot of people out there want to invest in their vehicle. As of right now, we haven't committed to, we don't have a date of when we're going to live with that. But it is definitely something that's in the works.

Are there any particular anti-cheating improvements you're working on?

McArthur: Yeah, I mean, this is one of those hard ones to talk about in that it's something we believe in, it's something that's very important for us, we want to make sure on the same vein of team balancing that everything needs to be fair. We've got guys dedicated to working on this every day, they monitor and check all the things that can be a big issue, though it's really hard to talk in detail about it to not give away too much. But all we can say about that stuff is that it's really important to us, we have guys dedicated to working on it. And they're constantly doing everything they can to make sure the good players are rewarded with fair matches.

I don't know if you can answer this, but a few weeks ago the folks at Infinity Ward have announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the next chapter of your big competitor in the multiplayer first-person shooter space, will feature cross-play. Is it something you'd like to add, either to Battlefield V or to future installments of the franchise?

Gustavsson: You know, it's certainly an interesting feature and something we've seen people like but we don't have anything to announce here now. But as always, we kind of we monitor what other games are doing and what is the natural fit for that? It's okay, if we have something to say, well, we'll definitely let you know.

Okay. Can you share for how long you're planning to support Battlefield V still?

Gustavsson: We haven't set up, you know, this is how long we're going to do this. We definitely have plans back on our boards back home, which we at this point don't really share with everyone yet. But there are smart people hard to look into the future of Battlefield V. But for now, we focus on the release of Chapter Four and Chapter Five. The team at DICE is 100% committed to the game.

McArthur: They're committed to it for the long haul. And right now the focus is chapter four, chapter five. But you know, with all the games we play, as long as people play it you want to keep them enjoying the game as much as you can. We'll go through Chapter Four and Chapter Five and then see where we go from there.

Right. So it will be here for a while yet.

McArthur: I mean, that's what Lars and I hope!

Of course. Thank you for your time.

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