Before the words ‘Modern’ and ‘Warfare’ had even been combined, there was Battlefield. For years this PC series has delighted fans of military FPS titles with its intense gameplay and epic multiplayer modes.
The series made its Xbox 360 and PS3 debut in 2008 with Battlefield: Bad Company and two years on, developer DICE is working once more to create the ultimate modern warfare game for both PC and console.
It’s a release that both Battlefield and FPS fans have been looking forward to, and publisher EA is confident its audience will not be disappointed.
“This is the sequel to a much-loved multiplayer experience for Bad Company, and is the latest foray into the console market since the huge success of Battlefield 1943,” says EA’s product manager Will Graham.
“Where the first iteration’s single-player mode may have lacked the polish found in the multiplayer, this is addressed for Bad Company 2 to create a rounded experience that will appeal to the mainstream consumer. The multiplayer is also going to be a step forward – even for the developer, DICE – and will prove the team is leading the way in defining online shooter warfare.”
The single-player experience once again sees players join the ranks of ‘B’ Company, which has been sent on into some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots on a mission to prevent a global conflict. Gamers must use every weapon and vehicle at their disposal if they’re to overcome the enemy forces.
They can also use the destructible environments to their advantage. A key selling point of the original, this mechanic has been further refined for the sequel so a well aimed grenade or rocket can rip open a building.
Enemies will soon discover there is nowhere to hide as players obliterate any cover they try to use – but this can also be used against gamers.
Graham adds: “The Frostbite 2.0 engine offers a level of environment destruction that is second to none. This makes a big difference in both the multiplayer and the main campaign.
“The destruction element of the Frostbite engine offers the player significant choice and control in the single-player campaign, driving a non-linear experience for the consumer.”
Of course, the most anticipated element of any Battlefield game is the multiplayer mode.
Once again, DICE has created huge sandbox arenas that feel more epic than the traditional claustrophobic deathmatch arenas.
There is also a range of vehicles available that take the conflict to another level. Gamers can either support their teammates as a standard infantry soldier, or leap into a tank, jeep or helicopter to gain more firepower.
“DICE is at the forefront of defining the multiplayer and online vehicle warfare space and has substantial pedigree in this area following many years of success,”Graham says.
“We genuinely believe there isn’t a developer out there that competes with DICE in this space, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is going cement that.
“The use of vehicles in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sets it apart from the competition and no one else in the industry does this better.
“This is also something the core are very excited about: DICE’s history of delivering a multiplayer experience utilising vehicles is something that sets it apart from anything else in the market. It’s also an element that fits with the increasing emphasis on multiplayer for gamers in general.”
Electronic Arts is confident that Bad Company 2 will not only hold its own against most rival shooters, it will even be able to stand up to the seemingly indomitable Modern Warfare 2.
To realise this ambition, the publisher has drawn up a major marketing plan (see ‘In The Field’) and is already pushing for pre-orders to ensure it captures the established Battlefield audience.
“We have significant pre-orders already driven in part by the amazing assets that have been released from DICE over recent months,” explains Graham. “Both public and retail perception right now is high for Bad Company 2 – especially within the Battlefield fan base.
“Having hands-on and Beta releases up to now has given the community a taste of what is to come and this has been very well received across the board. The reception of the Beta, and more recently the release of the demo, gives us great confidence for a successful launch.”
IN THE 'FIELD
Given Bad Company 2’s position as EA’s next major release, the publisher has readied a comprehensive marketing campaign that will target fans of both the Battlefield series and first-person shooters.
– Print advertising will be focused on the core market in the run up to Bad Company’s launch with ads in specialist gaming press.
– Closer to launch, print ads will then extend into the more mainstream press in order to drive awareness across a larger audience.
– The online campaign will be focusing on the core audience but forms a substantial part of the budget. Ads will target not only traditional FPS shooter fans but also the significant established fan community surrounding DICE and the Battlefield franchise.
– An extensive TV campaign will run around the game’s launch, with spots targeting male gamers aged between 16 and 34.
– Retail will play a key role in the overall campaign. A strong in-store presence has already been established through the aggressive pre-orders drive that began in early December, with a range of POS to follow as the release date draws nearer.