Good afternoon/evening/morning (we all know your executive types come in whenever they damn well please) or whenever you are receiving this. In a world run rampant by awful games and massive disappointments, I thought it would be best to clear the air. You may have noticed (I’m sure you haven’t), that I have been growing distant for some time, and I wanted to address that. Let me start, like any father looking at a child not living up to its potential, and tell you that I am not mad, just disappointed. Well DICE, it comes down to one simple thing, and it’s what some would call a colossal (apocalyptic, even) problem. Simply put, you make bad games on purpose. Now, I know that sounds harsh, but don’t throw this letter into the hearth stoked by child’s DLC allowances just yet. I have several points to make, and by the end, you might feel differently.
On the subject of Star Wars Battlefront:
Ok, I guess let’s start where you cut the deepest. Sure, Battlefront had some faithfully adapted maps, and did manage to capture that nostalgic original trilogy feel, and on that, I heartily congratulate you for your success. That feeling of skimming Hoth’s surface in a busted T-47 Snow Speeder, and wrapping up a freezing metal camel, was perfect. That being said, a few punches to the ol’ childhood are not enough to make a good game, and while some of Battlefront was beautiful, the rest, and it really hurts to say this, was absolute garbage.
Four launch maps?! Four… If you’ll reference Figure A, you will notice that not only is this less than half of what most other AAA titles release, it’s less than half of your other releases. Now, I get it, you can’t make a detailed map for every single planet in the Star Wars universe, and the four you did were pretty damned cool, but 4 maps, for $60? I’ve been hurt before Dice, but never so shamefully. There’s only one type of person who would pull a move like that, and I think you know who I’m referencing… Nerf herders…
In addition, we need to have a chat about voice acting (or lack thereof). Look, we’ve all been up the night before a term paper and thought, eh, let’s just throw some random quotes from a couple of fake writers in there and hope no one notices. I think we can all respect that, but this isn’t your god damned term paper EA. This was supposed to be the greatest Star Wars game of all time, and you decided to have Han Solo voiced by John Armstrong. No disrespect to Mr. Armstrong, he took us to the moon (maybe that was Neil), but that does not make him qualified to voice Han fucking Solo. It was fine in Disney Infinity and other cartoonish games, but this was Battlefront DICE! Don’t give me an authentic Star Wars based shooter, and then short-change me on the voice acting. Darth Vader sounded like you locked your nephew in a dumpster with a half-assed re-write of A New Hope.
This is barely scratching the surface of the perverse injustice that was Battlefront (see DLC offerings, lack of playable characters, kowtowing to Disney, removal of hero fight, no space battles, rebels only get one land ship, unbalanced maps, etc.) The point is, you hurt me (and the gaming community), and that cannot be excused. For this sin, you owe us one really damned good sequel (you made enough money for it), with a wider timeline, and more content. You have 3 years Dice, 3 years, and then I’m coming for you like a T-16 on a womprat (bullseye).
Where my Battlefield gone?
Alright, let’s all take a minute to remember Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Well done DICE, well done. One of the best shooters of the modern age, with destruction mechanics that still remain unrivaled. The story was also one of the best in the series, with, wait for it, actual dialogue! Not to mention, the Vietnam DLC, which was cheap, and added a metric shit ton of content. I think I speak for all of us when I say that you deserve a pat on the back for it. But, by now you’ve realized that the theme of this letter does not focus on your achievements…
I’ll come out and say it: What the hell was Battlefield Hardline? I know that you weren’t the primary developer, but you slapped your name on the box, so you asked for this. There are plenty of warzones. We’re not running short on them, and yet you chose to take us to the tired territory of cops and robbers? Anyone who has read a newspaper can tell you that most heists (when they happen, which is rare), do not involve 32 player teams shooting up the streets for hours at a time. I’m not complaining about the lack of realism here, but come on man, at least try and hide that you’re phoning it in.
This wouldn’t be such an issue for me, if the series didn’t have so much potential. I remember the days of Battlefield 1943 on Xbox 360. This was a $15 game, with four maps (because that’s what fifteen dollars is worth, not sixty, do the math), and solid gameplay mechanics. Granted, that game had server issues on day 1, but they were fixed, and it was a huge release, that theoretically, you should have learned from… Seeing as how that’s not the case, allow me to give you what I believe to be sage advice: Rather than focusing on the inevitable Launch Day DLC and 4 map packs you’re going to release with Battlefield 5, make a game that’s not broken, where, I don’t know, you can actually hop into a game after you spend the 17 hours installing it.
In the end, there’s one thing that can salvage this franchise/friendship, and if rumors are true, you’re about to do it. Please, for the love of all that is holy, bring Battlefield to World War 1. This is the best idea I have heard out of your dogshit studio’s mouth in the many years since you last made an enjoyable game. If you give me a game where I can fly a bi-plane, while shooting a pistol at another bi-plane, and simultaneously soaring over the most brutal trench and chemical warfare of our age; I can forgive you. See, there’s always a chance for redemption, and while I have little faith, I’m hoping that you will surprise me.
I will close with the following piece of advice that my father gave me just before kicking me out of a Cesna at 12,500 feet: “Don’t fuck it up.” Don’t do it DICE, go against every instinct you have, and make a full-fledged game, with a decent amount of day 1 content (that all players have regardless of pre-orders. Looking at you marketing). You can do this, just pull your head out of your ass and go for it.
Not a fan, but hoping to be one, Ashton