Battlefield Heroes Interview: Ben Cousins

Written by Joe Martin

May 2, 2008 | 07:56

Tags: #battlefield #battlefield-heroes #casual #free-to-play #heroes #interview #microtransactions #qa

Companies: #dice

BT: I imagine that that’s an important part of the free business model too, making the game as accessible as possible hardware-wise.

BC: Yeah. We have to do that. If you sell a game like Bad Company then everyone who plays is spending $60 or £40 on the game, with a free-to-play model only five percent of the audience is paying and even then only a few pounds or dollars a month, so you need to go very wide or you just don’t get enough revenue.

BT: And you’re financed solely by microtransactions, or is there advertising in the game too?

BC: There is advertising related to the game itself, but all of it is either in the games flash-based front-end where you go to select a player and jump in to a level, or on the website. There’s no actual in-game or in-fiction advertising.

BT: No big billboards saying ‘Buy Bad Company’ then?

BC: Haha, no. We’ve got this fictional cartoony, but historically based world and it just wouldn’t work to be selling modern brands in there or selling beer or whatever.

Besides, because you have to go to the game’s website to register, log-in and launch the game then we can do all the advertising there and keep the game clean. People are so used to advertising on websites now anyway that we decided that wouldn’t be a problem.

Battlefield Heroes Interview: Ben Cousins Examining Battlefield Heroes

BT: Between the console-based Bad Company and the more casual, kind of accessible feel of Heroes, some hardcore fans may be worried that the once realistic, PC-only shooter is now...

BC: Changed?

BT: Yeah, like it’s going to suddenly become this casual, console-only shooter.

BC: Well, I’m the executive producer on the franchise. I’m really in charge of the entire Battlefield franchise and it’s very clear to me that there are three…well, we have to make this a three-pronged assault with the series really.

First, there are consoles. Consoles are really big, we can’t ignore them, we have to be on the consoles. Second, there’s this casual experiment we’re going with Battlefield: Heroes and the third prong is the hardcore PC gaming experience. We’ve made those in the past and we’ll continue to make them in the future. We aren’t specifically announcing anything, but we are still going to keep those hardcore gamers very happy.

A lot of people are confused when they see Heroes because they see it and assume that that is the future of Battlefield on PC, but it isn’t.

Battlefield Heroes Interview: Ben Cousins Examining Battlefield Heroes

BT: But the game is multiplayer only? No singleplayer?

BC: There’s an offline training and tutorial bit where you can go in where you can shoot targets, try the vehicles and get used to the controls, but there’s no actual singleplayer gameplay. We’ve found that a lot of people play singleplayer Battlefield games like 1942 because they can’t find a server or they’re scared they’ll be killed by people who are a lot more skilled than they are.

So, for Heroes what we’ve decided to do is create a matchmaking system that makes it easy to find a game and makes sure you’re always fighting against people around your skill level. We think that should fill the desire for more of a pick-up-and-play experience.

BT: How many game modes are there in multiplayer then?

BC: Yeah, well we’re shipping with one game mode which is essentially team deathmatch. A lot of people play Battlefield games as a team deathmatch game anyway, they tend not to bother with all the flag capturing. So, we figured we’d just make it simpler.

How it works is; each team has a set number of lives and they are shared throughout the entire team. The first team to run out of lives, loses. There are flags that you can capture if you want though, and each flag you capture increases the amount of points you get per kill. So, if you’ve got all the flags then you might get two points per kill instead of one point.

So, while there is a strategy to capturing flags for the more tactical players, you can just jump in and kill the bad guys if you want and you’ll still be contributing to the game.
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