Ever since Wake Island and Battlefield 1942, taking advantage of a wide selection of vehicles has been essential for the all-out war experience in Battlefield. With Battlefield 4, the vehicle gameplay options and customization possibilities are greater than ever, especially with the new emphasis on the hectic Naval Warfare.
Senior Vehicles Designer Patrick O’Shaughnessy stated, “With Battlefield 4, we’ve put a lot of effort into giving Naval Combat the magnitude it deserves – and with the dynamic weather changes, fighting at sea becomes a constantly changing experience.
At sea you get to control both attack craft like the Patrol Boats, and water transport vehicles like the Personal Water Craft, each with their own benefits. The bigger naval units are now basically “tanks on water”, suitable for both attacking targets defending themselves with powerful guns and countermeasures.”
O’Shaughnessy later went on to say, “One challenge with developing Battlefield 4’s naval combat was the difficulty to get other players in the vehicle with you. Unlike a tank or jeep, where you are likely close to friendly infantry, players don’t tend to hang out in the open water. And similarly, if you were a passenger in the boat and you wanted to go do something else, you’re pretty much screwed when the captain has taken you 300 meters from shore.
Even as a passenger in a transport helicopter you can parachute down safely almost anywhere on a map. Ultimately it was the transport helicopter that we looked at when solving these problems. The gunner seats of the transport helicopters are one of the most fun places to be in the entire game. So we added those types of weapons for the passengers of the attack boat, and made the vehicle a team spawn point, like the transport helis, to make it easier and more attractive for people to get in the vehicle.”
Another advancement Dice is making with Battlefield 4, is Vehicle Customization
“Vehicle customization is also about camos and looking good on the Battlefield – and choosing the right camouflage for the right map environment can even be a life-saver. There are many different color sets and patterns of camo, any combination of which are available to vehicles, weapons and soldiers. The Adaptive Camo is a color pattern that is picked on a level-by-level basis, which is tweaked to match the environment of whatever level you are playing on.”
Dice has also added a new feature called “Critical Hit”
Anytime a vehicle takes a hit, Dice checks the amount of final damage that was dealt, after the angle and zone checks. If the damage was high enough, it’s a Critical Hit, and the vehicle acts much like they did in Battlefield 3, losing power in tanks or having loss of control in aircraft – but this effect is temporary, and the vehicle recovers automatically after a few seconds.
The critical hit damage threshold is carefully tweaked alongside the damage zones and glancing-hit scaling on each vehicle, in a way that promotes playing smart as both a vehicle operator, and in an anti-vehicle role.
Air Combat has been completely redone.
In Battlefield 3, Fighter Jets and Attack Jets were fairly homogenous and shared the same unlocks. They were both practically the same class, with few differences.
In Battlefield 4, the Fighter Jet class to Stealth Jets with two new vehicles not present in Battlefield before (including the Chinese J-20), and their customization options now focus on air-to-air fighting. Attack Jets now have their own set of unlocks which focus on air-to-ground capabilities.
As for helicopters, the scout, transport and attack helicopters return and their unique roles are also defined in different ways. The scout helicopter is faster and more agile in Battlefield 4 and works well against infantry and light vehicles, and the attack helicopter can easily take out armored vehicles with the co-operation of a skilled co-pilot.
There’s also the new Test Range to perfect your flying skills before unleashing mayhem on unsuspecting victims online.
With the impending Beta release this October, we’ll have a real taste of the improvements made in Battlefield 4.