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: So, are you trying to capture new fans for the Battlefield franchise? Are you hoping to move fans from Heroes to Bad Company?

BC: That’s definitely one of the objectives, yeah. It’d be a definite bonus. We’re generally just trying to broaden the audience and the core gameplay mechanic of letting people just jump in a tank or parachuting out of a plane, it’s kind of crazy, but it’s also simple and direct. We can make that appeal to everyone.

BT: So, what classes are on offer? People always love playing as a certain class.

BC: There’s three classes in the game. What’s different this time is that you can’t change classes when you die, you create a character and assign that character to a particular class. It’s kind of like an RPG in that you continue to level them up over time.

The three classes are the Soldier, the Gunner and the Commando. The Soldier is the medium guy – medium weapons, medium speed, good and medium range. He’s like a John Wayne war hero.

BT: Charging in, spraying and praying.

Battlefield Heroes Interview: Ben Cousins Selling moustaches, really

BC: Exactly, but he’s also quite smart and wily. Classes have different abilities and one of his is the ability to see through walls and see where enemies are. He’s a leader of men type character.

The Gunner is the heavy character – high health, slow moving, big guns. He’s a bit stupid though, with abilities all about causing damage. My favourite is where he creates a physics impulse where he claps his hands so loud he knocks vehicles away from him and there’s this big explosion.

The final class is the Commando, he’s all about sneaking. He’s the guy who sneaks up behind you and stabs you in the back, who snipes you. A real antisocial character who can cloak himself, poison people, lay traps and all that.

BT: And the premium content you’re selling doesn’t include weapons?

BC: That’s right. We’re really clear that we don’t want to sell any items which actually affect the balance of the second-to-second gameplay. You can’t buy a weapon that’ll give you a direct advantage in combat. If you kill someone in the game it’s because you are more strategic and more skilled, not because you’ve bought an item.

The items we’re going to sell are either going to be aesthetic items – things like clothes, emotes. Crazy helmets and funny dances, that sort of thing. Moustaches too – we’re selling those!

BT: Um...?

Battlefield Heroes Interview: Ben Cousins Selling moustaches, really

BC: The other items we’re selling are what we call convenience items. The best way to describe it is, if you and I are playing together. You might be playing every night and getting really good, but I might only be able to manage an hour or two here and there. You’re characters are getting really good really quick, but I’m not. What I can do then is buy an item which will give me double experience points for a weekend. That way, I’m still playing the game, I still have to be skilled, but I can get where I want to be just a little bit quicker. I don’t have an advantage over anyone, but I still get what I want.

BT: That’s an inventive way to do it.

BC: It’s very popular in Korea actually and it’s there we got the idea from. It doesn’t feel unfair and, though you do get an advantage, it isn’t an advantage on the battlefield. It’s like the people who buy gold in World of Warcraft.

BT: It’s weird though – on one side there’s Heroes where you aren’t selling things that might break the gameplay. Then there’s Bad Company where they were originally planning to sell weapons from the off.

BC: Well, I don’t think they were ever going to really sell guns in that sense. There were some unlocks which were going to be available for the gold version that we were also going to make available to everyone else eventually. I mean, I wasn’t working on Bad Company, so those guys made their own decisions.

The great thing about that game though is that the community really came out and said they didn’t want to buy weapons and they wanted Conquest mode back. So, we’ve changed the weapons unlock idea and we’ll be giving Conquest away as free downloadable content later on. That represents really how community focused DICE is. If we can continue that then I think the Battlefield franchise is really going to stay in a good place.
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