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.
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.
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.