Dice and Battlefield Building - The UpStream

Dice and Battlefield Building

posted Sunday Mar 14, 2010 by Josh Henry

Dice and Battlefield Building

EA DICE has been a fairly prolific developer during the current console generation, developing both a high-profile title based on original IP (Mirror's Edge), as well as ones based on established franchises like Battlefield. EA was searching for a way to capitalize on the downtime between these blockbuster releases - a game which would be relatively quick and painless to create - while still standing up to the quality standards set by their previous releases. So mommy and daddy loved each other very much and the idea for Battlefield 1943 was born.

Battlefield 1943 producer Patrick Liu explained the studio's unique design philosophy while making the game, which boiled down to "make the game as long as resources last." They maximized the amount of content they produced under this strategy by settling on the somewhat smaller scope of the game early and focusing on recreating the Battlefield experience to adhere to that scope.

Some decisions made under this philosophy include making ammunition and health auto-regenerate, cutting down on tiresome resource runs back to your home base. This decision led to others, including the removal of the medic and engineer classes. It also let them focus on perfecting a handful of maps and gametypes, which, while iterated from previous installments in the franchise, also saw major adjustments in 1943.

The result was a project developed by a team of fifteen series veterans at once, at one-tenth of the cost of a full DICE game. The game broke day one, week one and month one downloadable sales records. It's no surprise that Liu expressed interest in developing more "games of this size and scope." When handled correctly, if you couldn't tell, making these "mini games" has proved quite profitable for EA. Just for you math junkies out there the average video game costs $1,000,000 to over $20,000,000, so a tenth of 1 million would be $100,000 - talk about pinching your pennies.

Another game quite similar to Battlefield 1943 would be Battlefield Heroes, which believe it or not was also developed by EA. Battlefield Heroes takes a more cartoony approach, graphically speaking, as opposed to BF 1943's more realsistic character models. Also, BFH is only available on PCs (not Macs). Both games contain vehicles for both land and air but one of the bigger differences between the two games would be that BFH is free to play but has an in-game store where you can purchase weapons, outfits and the like. On the other hand, BF 1943 is a one-time purchase game and you play for as long as you want, using relatively whatever weapons you want. I wondered to myself which game inspired the other and I am assuming that BF 1943 (released 07/08/2009) was inspired by BFH (released 06/25/09), or perhaps BFH was just a test for BF 1943 that ended up being more successful than EA thought, so they kept the game running. Another piece of interesting info is that BF 1943 will be coming to PCs sometime this year. So does that spell death for BFH or will EA try and get as much money as possible and keep bother games running so long as they arent bleeding money? My guess would be that they will keep both running simply because it's all about the money. Or, if one of the games will be dropped by EA it's going to be BFH but only time will tell.


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