Features

Should Battlefield 4 even have a campaign?

17

screenshot-14

I’ve noticed something strange recently: for whatever reason, first-person shooter campaigns published by EA tend to be lackluster. No seriously, hear me out. Third-person shooters that sport the EA label, like Dead Space, Mass Effect and Freedom Fighters tend to be well-made games. However, when it comes to first-person shooters that EA have published, you tend to get games that are dull and uninspired, as if the iconic circle surrounding two capital letters somehow curses any FPS campaign it touches. You get games like Syndicate, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and…. Battlefield 3.

Yes, Battlefield 3. Those of you who played it certainly remember it, don’t you? Actually, you probably don’t, since it was about as generic, plodding, insultingly linear and lifeless as shooter campaigns come. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just ask the internet, of whom the vast majority thought BF3’s campaign was a genuine waste of time. The fellow in the video below certainly makes a great case.

It’s not hard to see why this happened, since DICE likely rushed the campiagn in order for the game to come out close to MW3’s release. Let’s face it, Battlefield has always been seen as primarily a multiplayer shooter anyway, so there was no real creative drive behind the campaign. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be a great stretch to say that DICE had no interest in making a campaign and were forced by EA to shoehorn one in. A tragic occurrence, for sure, but one that got me thinking:

Perhaps Battlefield 4 shouldn’t even have a campaign.

I know that’s going to sound absolutely bananas coming from me. After all, I’m the guy who scribbles writes for a site that is solely focused on single-player gaming. Why would I want a game to purposefully exclude a single-player portion?

Well, you see, I’m not necessarily a supporter of single-player games. I’m a supporter of GOOD, WELL-MADE single-player games, and I firmly believe that if DICE and EA decide to tack on another uninspired campaign to the inevitable Battlefield 4, featuring the same lack of time and effort, it won’t do anyone any favors. In fact, if anything, it’ll be harmful to both the overall game as well as EA’s image. The following are a few reasons why:

 

DICE-bans-Battlefield-3-Boosters

It’ll only serve to lessen the Battlefield brand and EA in the eyes of single-player gamers

 

People are incredibly skeptical when they see a publisher or developer’s logo on a game. I’m one of the many who scoff when I see Rebellion’s logo appear on a box, or have second thoughts when I see Activision.

The same is true of IPs themselves, however. If you thought Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age II were festering piles (as did many), then it’s likely you’ll be less excited about future Bioware projects and perhaps you’ll even promise not to buy them (as did many). If someone feels they wasted their money on a $60 game (more for you poor Aussie folks) when they could have bought something else, it really does make an impact.

So, we have skepticism of the developer, skepticism of the publisher, and skepticism of the brand itself at risk here. These are not things EA and DICE can afford to jeaporidize any further, and by carelessly serving gamers another ‘bleh’ campaign, they could really end up hurting their public image. What if they end up publishing a good single-player FPS one day? Not as many people will trust them at that point and be willing to give them a chance.

If a publisher/developer has a track record of making lackluster games, even just in one specific genre, it can really damage their reputation. EA’s already on thin ice; the last thing they need is heavier skates.

 

budget

Resources will be diverted from the multiplayer portion

 

When us single-players run our mouths off about unnecessary multiplayer modes using up resources that would be better spent on the single-player, we fail to mention that the opposite is also true in some cases.

I like Battlefield’s multiplayer. It’s one of the few multiplayer games I can stand playing for more than 10 minutes, and it’s become one of the few truly popular multiplayer shooter franchises, one  that has successfully established dedicated and long-lasting communities.

It’s what the game does well, so why not give it as much breathing room as possible? Many gamers had genuine complaints with Battlefield 3’s multiplayer, such as lacking environmental destruction compared to Bad Company 2 as well as some iffy map design, bugs, etc. Had they dropped the campaign altogether and focused all their manpower on the multiplayer, they could have ironed out those issues and turned the multiplayer from consensually ‘very good’ to ‘excellent.’

 

xlarge_scoring

Reviewers will score the game lower

 

When you were reading/watching Battlefield 3 reviews, I bet you probably read/heard a statement similar to the following one:

“Man, this game’s multiplayer is amazing! I’d like to give it a 9.5/10, but gee… that single-player campaign… because of that, I have to knock the score down to a 9 or even an 8.5.”

A lot of critics view games as a ‘whole package’ kind of deal. They take all of the game’s components into account, meaning they’ll bring down the score for Spec Ops: The Line for having tacked on multiplayer or they’ll bring it down for Battlefield 3 if it’s single-player campign is not up to snuff. Their philosophy is “if it’s here, I have to take it into account.”

Personally, I feel that method of reviewing is flawed, but who am I to say how they should review games? That’s how they do it, and if a multiplayer-focused game also happens to contain a terrible campaign, they’ll consider it when scoring the game and bring down what could have been a higher score. The message here should be firmly established: if you’re going to include a single-player portion, do it well or not at all.

 

Battlefield3KitRender

Conclusion

 

I’m sure there are other problems we could touch upon regarding a hackneyed campaign for Battlefield 4, but by now it should be apparent that making such a move is not wise.

Battlefield doesn’t need a single-player campaign in order to be successful. Nobody in their right mind buys a Battlefield game for the campaign, and those who do end up being disappointed and more opposed to its publisher and developer as a result. Battlefield 3’s campaign was an entity that grappled onto the game like a leech, sucking up resources while giving the product nothing worthwhile in return.

Hear us out, EA and DICE. Drop single-player for Battlefield. Focus your budget and time on the game’s multiplayer, which is what really matters to everyone who buys the game. If you want to enter the single-player campaign stage, really bring you’re a game, because it’s a competitive market with genuine standards. Maybe you could drop Medal of Honor’s multiplayer and make that a single-player focused brand.

Battlefield 3 was like a battlefield in itself; a multiplayer faction and a single-player faction warring against each other, vying for resources and territory. Even though multiplayer was the clear victor, the United Nations of EA forced multiplayer to make uneasy peace with single-player, allowing it to lazily occupy the same country while sitting on its butt and doing nothing worthwhile. Next time, UN/EA, choose a true victor. Let the multiplayer win out, because it deserves it, and take the defeated single-player under your wing. Train it, teach it, then put it back out onto the battlefield to fight foes of its own ilk. That way, you’ll end up breeding a stronger warrior for yourself.

 

Michael Urban
Now an occasional contributer, Michael Urban is the former Editor-in-Chief at OnlySP and has the nickname "Breadcrab" for reasons his therapist still doesn't understand. From the moment he first got hacked in Runescape, he's been uninterested in multiplayer games and has pursued the beauty of the single-player experience, especially in terms of story and creative design. His hobbies include reading, writing, singing in the shower, pretending to be productive, and providing info and feedback regarding the games industry. It is an industry, right? You can ask him a question or send him spam at michaelurban@www.onlysp.com. Also, follow him on Twitter or the terrorists win. (@MichaelUrban1)

Most Anticipated: Beyond: Two Souls

Previous article

(Re)Introducing the OnlySP forums!

Next article

17 Comments

  1. agreed offline bots or NOTHING

  2. Couldn&#039t agree more i played single player bf3 but only to familiarise myself with how it plays then after bout an hour of campaign I jumped into the real battlefield ( multiplayer) and haven&#039t looked back. I think maybe a training course for noobs with bots to shoot would be enough single player and focus the rest of time,energy and budget on the multiplayer. Love bf3 and think bf4 should be multiplayer only. Maybe some kind of Petition is in order?

  3. disagree, bf3s campaign was better than any other shooter out IMO. Mw3 for instance was awful.

    1. I agree that MW3&#039s campaign was dull and forgettable, but BF3 better than any other shooter out there? Really?

      To each his own I guess, but if you don&#039t mind me asking, what made it so great in your eyes?

  4. Battlefield never (I don&#039t think) was made to be a single-player game. Now it is just expected for games to have a tacked on Campaign but a lot of games are moving away from it. You usually have 3 modes in a shooter now a days: Campaign, Mutiplayer and Co-op (missions or survival). Most games only game 1 right but no AAA game just has one. This creates a lot of tacked-on game modes and thus a lot of bad game modes. I really don&#039t think BF4 should have SP and just focus on mutiplayer.

  5. agreed offline bots or NOTHING

  6. Couldn't agree more i played single player bf3 but only to familiarise myself with how it plays then after bout an hour of campaign I jumped into the real battlefield ( multiplayer) and haven't looked back. I think maybe a training course for noobs with bots to shoot would be enough single player and focus the rest of time,energy and budget on the multiplayer. Love bf3 and think bf4 should be multiplayer only. Maybe some kind of Petition is in order?

  7. disagree, bf3s campaign was better than any other shooter out IMO. Mw3 for instance was awful.

    1. I agree that MW3's campaign was dull and forgettable, but BF3 better than any other shooter out there? Really?

      To each his own I guess, but if you don't mind me asking, what made it so great in your eyes?

  8. Battlefield never (I don't think) was made to be a single-player game. Now it is just expected for games to have a tacked on Campaign but a lot of games are moving away from it. You usually have 3 modes in a shooter now a days: Campaign, Mutiplayer and Co-op (missions or survival). Most games only game 1 right but no AAA game just has one. This creates a lot of tacked-on game modes and thus a lot of bad game modes. I really don't think BF4 should have SP and just focus on mutiplayer.

  9. How about a MP only Battlefield at a slightly reduced price! I read about this release model once and I thought it was pure genius. Buying only the MP portion of Battlefield for 40 bucks sounds awesome doesn&#039t it?

    Anarchy Reigns did this recently. It&#039s a MP only game and launched at 30USD. I&#039m considering buying that game just to support this idea…. but I probably won&#039t =p

  10. How about a MP only Battlefield at a slightly reduced price! I read about this release model once and I thought it was pure genius. Buying only the MP portion of Battlefield for 40 bucks sounds awesome doesn't it?

    Anarchy Reigns did this recently. It's a MP only game and launched at 30USD. I'm considering buying that game just to support this idea…. but I probably won't =p

  11. I can&#039t really think of a decent reason to keep single player campaign . Any serious gamer or battlefielder will have Internet access. It&#039s not a casual game an shouldn&#039t be treated as so. With over 2 million online players I&#039m sure alienating the few that don&#039t realise bf4 is a hardcore online only game would effect revenue. Tagging a story or more aptly using memory that could go towards destructive elements an lighting effects maybe even a larger player vs team. Ie bigger than 12 v 12 on console would surely be a waste. Unfortunately I&#039ll buy bf4 regardless but I hope this topic reaches dice and at least gets a bit of head scratching going.

  12. Oh I almost forgot… Best story shooter out there is Black think its was ps2 only but the best shoot the crap out of everything fun available to date. If you haven&#039t played it then get it turn your volume up and enjoy.

  13. I can't really think of a decent reason to keep single player campaign . Any serious gamer or battlefielder will have Internet access. It's not a casual game an shouldn't be treated as so. With over 2 million online players I'm sure alienating the few that don't realise bf4 is a hardcore online only game would effect revenue. Tagging a story or more aptly using memory that could go towards destructive elements an lighting effects maybe even a larger player vs team. Ie bigger than 12 v 12 on console would surely be a waste. Unfortunately I'll buy bf4 regardless but I hope this topic reaches dice and at least gets a bit of head scratching going.

  14. Oh I almost forgot… Best story shooter out there is Black think its was ps2 only but the best shoot the crap out of everything fun available to date. If you haven't played it then get it turn your volume up and enjoy.

  15. What I think they should do is drop the story mode and implement a bot mode of some sort, just like they had in Battlefield 2. That way people can learn the mechanics of the game plus it’s great fun to just jump in with a friend and muck about. That’s what attracts sales.

Comments are closed.

You may also like