Star Wars: Battlefront Dev Talks Immersion, Features and Fun; Explains Why the AT-AT on Endor Move on Rails

on April 19, 2015 4:10 PM

Star Wars: Battlefront is a franchise with a very dedicated and passionate fanbase, so it’s not surprising to see polarized reactions to the new game’s reveal and to some of the choices made by EA DICE.

Producer Jesper Nielsen is not easily discouraged, and keeps up the effort to explain some of those decisions and to give some more insight on the game on Reddit.

Earlier today he defined the game “incredibly fun and immersive,” and he explained more on what he means with “immersion.”

Of course it means something. Has it been overused? Surely. Just like innovation, etc. But those words still mean something.

In this case it really refers to the feeling of being present at those famous SW locations. Running around in the Endor forest is just so cool!

He also specified that what he said about the game’s immersion his his personal opinion, born from the feeling that the level of presence provided by Battlfront hasn’t been achieved before, even due to technical limitations.

No, it’s my personal opinion. I’ve played a lot if not all Star Wars games. I’ve never tried one where I’ve felt like I’m really there.

This is not downplaying any other Star Wars games. There’s tons of great SW games, including the two previous Battlefront games. There were and are still very, very fun.

But I still don’t think this level of feeling truly present in those battles have ever been achieved before. Probably hasn’t been possible before with prior technical limitations.

In a further post he elaborated further on the importance of graphics and sound in order to create immersion, and about content.

No, it’s not all about the graphics. The visuals are obviously a big part of creating immersion, but so is a lot of other things. Like sound, as you mention. Oh, the sounds and music in this game… it’s amazing! I still think it’s what I love the most about it. Something so magical there.

But yes, content is also important. Will the final list of content please everyone? Maybe not, that’s always hard to do, but I think most will be more than satisfied : )

He also explained why he’s sharing so much about the game, possibly saying even more than he should.

It’s not my job to sell the game to you. If you want to buy it and play it, great. If you don’t want to, then that’s fine.

Obviously I’m under “NDA”; I obviously can’t talk about anything we haven’t announced yet. I thought that people were already well aware of that?

And yes, fun and immersion is not very tangible and very subjective. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Just have a list of bullet points of features doesn’t make a game great either; all those features could suck.

I’m just trying to portray my thoughts and impressions of the game; I am after all playing this several times per week.

I don’t expect you to just take my word and just think “oh ok, game is going to be awesome, no reason to worry now”. I don’t expect it to have that effect. I’m just trying to partake in the conversations, sharing hopefully some insights that you guys find valuable.

While he understands some of the negative reactions, he thinks that people will embrace the experience once they get to try it.

I completely understand a lot of the reactions – of course it can feel disappointing, frustrating, etc.

However I do think once people try it out, they will enjoy the game for what it is; an absolutely spectacular and fun experience.

Nielsen also explained why some systems and features that seem simple at times don’t get implemented.

You also have to think about everything else in the game it ties into. Other systems, be it stats or something else. In huge game projects, taking on even the smallest new features is rarely a simple or small effort because it often needs to be very interconnected to everything else, and as with most things in game development, it can take a lot of time and iterations to get it “just right”.

Touching a rather hot topic of discussion, he gave a quite grounded explanation on why the AT-AT on Endor move on rail. It’s actually very simple: they’re objectives, so they need to move with a certain pattern because the outcome of the battle depends on them.

Just to make a comment on my statement here: – Please don’t speculate about what this means or doesn’t mean. All I can reference right now is the showcased gameplay clip with AT-AT’s on Endor that are on-rails. – Once you try it out and/or see gameplay, you will understand why it’s important they’re on-rails. They’re the objective and they need to be going in certain directions. – I’m sure the people who work on the game design here can/will comment on it down the right, but trust me, they are only doing their best to create what will be the most fun and exciting experience, and these are some very talented, smart people. Be skeptical, sure, but give it the benefit of doubt until you try it out : )

We also learn that vehicles will receive a lot of focus in the game:

Yeah, I understand what you mean. Don’t think I can say anything other than a) vehicles are receiving a lot of focus and b) this is not a Battlefield port, at all.

Nielsen also commented on why often quality is better than quantity.

I totally get the concern. I really do.

But ok, let’s look at it like this – and please don’t misunderstand my analogy! A game like Counter-Strike has been played for years and years. It’s not a huge arsenal of weapons, there’s only a few game modes (mainly just two being played) and the amount of “popular” maps that are played are few.

In Battlefield, the far majority of people play on a small selection of maps and game modes.

So what’s my point? Well, I’m just saying that when a game is done just right, you don’t necessarily need a lot of content. Does that mean it won’t have a lot of content? No. Obviously it can be hard to predict which maps or modes will be the most popular and played endlessly, so you need variation in what you deliver. And we will have a lot of content, yes.

But the funny thing is still that in a lot of games, it’s actually very little of the content that’s used a whole lot.

Ultimately, though, what will matter the most is whether the game is or not, and according to Nielsen it is.

But when did I say gameplay was not important, or not the foundation? It’s absolutely important, and it’s absolutely the foundation. This game is fun.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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