• Category Archives Articles
  • Editorial pieces on games, gaming, and the like.

  • Hardline Singleplayer – 12-minute preview

    Battlefield recently released a 12-minute preview of their singleplayer campaign, playing through what appears to be a full episode (they described the singleplayer as coming in episodes, like a TV crime drama). In it, you are Nick Mendoza, a cop captured by some criminals, who must escape and recover some evidence along the way.

    What I took from this gameplay was that it will feel a little different from what we are used to in Battlefield campaigns, which is a good thing. I believe we saw an example of some of the “non-linear” choices available, such as how you approach the camp. I am curious just how much of an impact on the game these choices have, or if it is simply different means to the same end for each episode. “I crawled under the fence this time, but I’ll climb over next time,” does not sound like a compelling reason to replay the campaign to me.

    What I found really interesting was how, as the player approaches the camp, they can use the scanner to spot enemies, identify enemies by type, and identify VIPs to take down. This felt very much like the camera in Far Cry 3. In fact, the whole scene had that vibe, which is not necessarily a bad thing; I really enjoy Far Cry 3’s singleplayer.

    I look forward to this, as I think both the different theme and Visceral’s approach to singleplayer gameplay could make this an enjoyable experience.


  • Creating the perfect Battlefield

    What do you feel is the ideal Battlefield game? Think back on all those you have played in the series; what did you like, and what did you hate? What if you could take all those pieces you like, leave out the ones that you hate, and throw in a few fresh ideas, stitch them all together, and make the perfect Battlefield game? That is exactly what Punisher from the Walking Dead Army is trying to do, in that he has called for thoughts and ideas from the Battlefield community on what would make the perfect Battlefield game. He already has a promise from Dan Mitre, EA’s Battlefield Community Manager, that he will forward our discussion on to the developers. Now is the time to have this discussion, before Battlefield 5 (or whatever the next installment will be…Bad Company 3?) is too far into the development process.

    I know when I think about it, I come up with a number of things I think could change, so I will certainly be bringing by thoughts to this community initiative, as well as to this site. Punisher’s efforts may be the motivation I need to finally put these thoughts to paper, as it goes.

    So, please, check out his video, follow him on Twitter, and join in on the discussion to make the perfect Battlefield!


  • The Science of Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

    Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is one of the many announced games about which I am very excited. The promise of the new space/science-fiction theme, new units and “civs”, and new mechanics (orbital layer, anyone?) have me really curious. The recent op-ed at Space.com written by Will Miller and David McDonough, lead designers for Beyond Earth, has only heightened the hype for me.

    In it, they talk about how science has influenced their game design for Civilization: Beyond Earth, discussing their excitement for this “opportunity to explore ideas about the future — technology, progress and culture — and think about how settling on a new planet could be the next stage for humanity’s progress.”

    Working on “Beyond Earth” has been an amazing opportunity to continue to learn about current directions in research and engineering. Every time we’ve come up with a gameplay idea, and we’ve thought: “If only there were some sort of science we could hang this on,” we’ve found a real and promising current direction being explored. When we were building one of our victory conditions (making contact with a sentient alien species), we wanted to know more about communications over the vast distances of space, which, in turn, led us to reading about quantum entanglement being used in communications. It’s been exciting to learn that no matter how strange our ideas are, reality is often stranger, and the future feels a lot closer for realizing those ideas.

    So, buried through the game are bits of what we’ve learned about thorium reactors or transgenic medicine or climate engineering. As designers, our main goal is for people to enjoy playing “Beyond Earth,” but if our players run across something in the game, and they’re curious enough to look into it a bit more, then we’ll be ecstatic to have done our part to raise a little more love for space and science. Maybe that player will go on to bring us a little closer to the next chapter for humanity.

    I have a tremendous appreciate for the effort Miller, McDonough, and their team appear to be putting in to Civilization: Beyond Earth to make it entertaining, as well as plausible enough for one to immerse themselves in the game world. Civilization: Beyond Earth is set to release in October 2014, and I for one cannot wait.