Tag Archives: Battlefield 1943

Surveys only tell half the story

Frank N. Magid’s recent survey on gamers’ awareness of downloadable content is just another sign of a half-formed survey that tells only one side of the story. Not a surprise, since most focus tests use narrow techniques to answer specific questions. But the story on IGN and Edge explain it’s asking the wrong people playing the wrong systems. Most of the gamers surveyed were playing PS2 and Wii games. In the vernacular, “well, duh.”

DLC games have been booming since Microsoft introduced the console’s Xbox Live marketplace. Entire studios such as Chair have based their total focus on DLC, resulting in games such as the smart Undertow and the retro Shadow Complex. EA put Battlefield 1943 entirely on DLC, trimming out a single-player campaign and focusing entirely on multiplayer.

Analysts point to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV DLC as examples of how DLC doesn’t work, at least from a pure financial standpoint–Both The Damned and the Lost and The Ballad of Gay Tony didn’t make nearly as much as investors or analysts had hoped they would–but these were Rockstar’s first big attempts at substantial DLC, and while not homers, they certainly got to second base.

I swear, I’m going to conduct my own surveys, each one asking questions like, “Do you think Halo is awesome?” and I’ll make sure to ask only PlayStation 3 users. I’ll ask Nintendo fans “do they love that the Wii is in first place in the console race for the first time since the Super NES?” And then ask Bill Gates, “Have you ever played WOW or LittleBigPLanet?” just for fun. One last question will be aimed at young moms who just bought the Wii to workout; it will be, “How hardcore is Gear of War on a scale of 1 to 17?” Sounds scientific enough for me.

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E3 2009: Scenes from E3

I’m not sure how many similar shots have been captured (I suspect a lot), but I never have had time to snap shots of E3 before. So this year I grabbed a few.

The biggest bummer was that when I was finally ready to take a shot of the massive Brutal Legend poster, they had already started rolling it down. Sniffle… This little pictorial also includes a few folks I had drinks with Tuesday night.

The Harmonix team behind closed doors at E3 explaining Rock Band: The Beatles' six-part harmonies.

The Harmonix team behind closed doors at E3 explaining Rock Band: The Beatles' three-part harmonies.

Final Fantasy XIII is painted onto the steps of the LA Convention Center. The second day of the show the paint was wet so everyone had to funnel up the escalator to get in. Argh.

Final Fantasy XIII is painted onto the steps of the LA Convention Center. The second day of the show the paint was wet so everyone had to funnel up the escalator to get in. Argh.

Hey look ma, it's Mafia II. It's not Grand Theft Auto V, it's just like a new, prettier Mafia game, with old 50s cars, Sicilian guys, a huge drivable city, and lots of shooting, maiming, and Italian-style mobster missions. Been there!

Hey look ma, it's Mafia II. It's not Grand Theft Auto V, it's just like a new, prettier Mafia game, with old 50s cars, Sicilian guys, a huge drivable city, and lots of shooting, maiming, and Italian-style mobster missions. Been there!

This is the Rabbids' means to getting to the moon. Funny? FUNNY???!!!!

This is the Rabbids' means of getting to the moon. Funny? FUNNY???!!!!

Rock Band, Mass Effect 2, and Final Fantasy XIII all in one shot.

Rock Band, Mass Effect 2, and Final Fantasy XIII all in one shot.

Ms. Tara Bruno, looking fine, Donald Mustard (designer of Shadow Complex designer), and Laura Heeb Mustard (PR queen) laughing it up.

Ms. Tara Bruno, looking fine, Donald Mustard (Shadow Complex designer), and Laura Heeb Mustard (PR queen) laughing it up.

Matt Frary has only one thing to say: That trip to Mexico was GREAT, you F*&^%ing m&^^%$# Fu(*&^er!

Matt Frary has only one thing to say: That trip to Mexico was GREAT, you F*&^%ing m&^^%$# Fu(*&^er!

The Battlefield 1943 at 8:30 am, before the screaming fanboys have arrived.

The Battlefield 1943 booth at 8:30 am, before the screaming fanboys have arrived.

Modern Warfare 2, I'm guess this will win Best of Show from someone.

Modern Warfare 2: Infinity Ward's game will win best game of the show from at least one media outlet.

At day's end, I had to hide behind the trees to block the setting sun. Assassin's Creed II promises to be better than the 8-million-unit-selling Assassin's Creed 1.

At day's end, I had to hide behind the trees to block the setting sun. Assassin's Creed II promises to be better than the 8-million-unit-selling Assassin's Creed 1.

Krato shows us the Power of the PS3. God of War III looked fucking spectacular on screen. A definite, must-have game for the PS3.

Krato shows us the Power of the PS3. God of War III looked fucking spectacular on screen. A definite, must-have game for the PS3.

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Battlefield 1943 Expands DLC for the Better

Fly WWII airplanes and use Kamikaze tactics to wipe out enemies.

Fly WWII airplanes and use Kamikaze tactics to wipe out enemies.

Electronic Arts and Swedish development team DICE are rolling the “dice” with Battlefield 1943. Unlike the big, costly productions pressed on DVDs, packaged in cases, plastic wrapped, shipped to retail stores, and then picked through by a wide variety of consumers, Battlefield 1943 is DLC-only (downloadable content).

EA’s new online-only strategy isn’t new per say, as Xbox Live Arcade services were offered when Xbox 360 launched November 2, 2005. But the size and type of content that Battlefield is, and who it comes from, is new. Electronic Arts didn’t start making DLC for Xbox 360 until 2007, and now it has taken a normally full production game and whittled it down to three downloadable maps at the cost of $15, which breaks down to $5 per map. It’s essentially an independent map pack.

Using the Frostbite engine, which DICE built for Battlefield Badfield 1, the developer bent the code into shape, honing it into a 450 MB download for XBLA DLC–small for a retail game, but large for DLC. At the Xbox 360’s launch in November 2005, Microsoft executives created a tight 50 MB cap for all XBLA games. But over the last 18 months, those restrictions have loosened up in order to allow a wider variety and larger games, permitting 350 MB downloads. Battlefield 1943 will come in at about 450 MBs, said Patrick Liu, the game’s lead producer.

Combine air, sea, and land forces to take control of Iwo Jima.

Combine air, sea, and land forces to take control of Iwo Jima.

The reason I hope Battlefield 1943 succeeds is because this fully multiplayer game is perfect for gamers without large blocks of time on their hands; in other words, working stiffs and weary parents. Instead of high school and college kids with time on their hands, parents have 1-2 hour blocks of game time. This game enables them to instantly jump into a fully heated battle, slaughter dozens of virtual WWII Japanese or American soldiers, and then jump out, unencumbered by the weight of a lengthy story, cutscenes, or save points.

Counter tank attacks with bazookas (shown here) or call in air raids.

Counter tank attacks with bazookas (shown here) or call in air raids.

This strategy is new for both EA and Microsoft, and it’s a good thing. Eight years ago, publishers fanatically chirped about the potential of episodic gaming, ideas that were never fully realized because the technology and the demand weren’t fully ready. Although EA hasn’t officially planned on additional map packs, you can see this is a test case run.

If the map packs work well, rest assured EA will make more. After several test sessions with the game, it’s clear to me Battlefield 1943 harkens back to the original award winning title, another good thing. Let’s hope the masses agree.

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