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Wywiad XCN: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - Vietnam
Autor: Marcin Pawłowski   

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 Na pytania odpowiada: Björn Johnsson (Producer, DICE)

Did the dev team watch a lot of Vietnam movies prior to working on this DLC? If so, which film would you say has had the greatest influence on your work?

For sure! A lot of people on the team are big war movie buffs. The sound team, for example,  looked through all of the classic war movies, not just Vietnam ones, to get inspiration for the soundscape in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. It’s not like any one film has inspired us particularly, it’s more like the combined total of everything we’ve ever seen and heard and played that has a connection with the Vietnam War. Also, our old title Battlefield: Vietnam was a huge source on inspiration for us. It felt a bit like coming home making this expansion.

What about other materials? Were there any books, newspapers or photos that proved especially helpful to you during development?

Documentaries and drama have both been a huge source of reference for us. We have this 60’s type US anchorman presenting every map before the match starts, so inspiration from that was of course taken from the era’s real newscasts.

2010 does seem to be the year of Vietnam. Do you think that reflects a fatigue in the present-day shooter market, similar to what happened with WWII shooters?

I don’t know that there is any real fatigue to modern day shooters, but going back to Vietnam just felt refreshing.

One thing we’ve always wondered at is the lack of WW1 or even Crimean or Napoleonic-era shooters. Are those ideas that were even considered during the planning stages? What was it about Vietnam particularly that made you decide to do DLC set there?

I don’t know that WW1 has ever been seriously on the table as a setting, even though the Battlefield legacy comes from the WW1-themed Codename Eagle game. I think there needs to be a certain amount of cool hardware to play around with to make a game fun to play, and Vietnam certainly has that with our new flame-thrower.

I think the biggest draw of the Vietnam War setting is the fact that it has such strong imagery and classic vehicles, all tied together into a fantastic package with the 60’s music and vibe. I don’t think there is any other historical conflict that is so strong and instantly recognizable.

It’s an interesting model; what is essentially entirely new multiplayer-only game sitting on top of another. In effect, it’s turned BFBC2 into a platform rather than a game. Do you think this is the future of the series? What advantages does this approach have over the “yearly iteration” approach others favour?

We have also in the past supported our games after launch with different expansions and booster packs. That being said, we are always looking into ways to evolve as a company, not only when it comes to actual game development, but also to forms of distribution.

The advantage of doing Vietnam as an add-on is that we have a stable platform and a large number of fans that can get right into it easily.

The Battlefield series has diversified quite a lot over the last couple of years; Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield 1943 in particular were both quite forward thinking ventures. Do you think that BFBC2 as a platform offers significant advantages over releasing the content as a standalone pack either on disk or on Xbox LIVE Arcade?

Making Vietnam an expansion to BC2 made sense because the platform was already in place.

Give us an introduction to the new maps in BFBC2: Vietnam, and could you please pick out your favourite part of one of the maps?

My favorite has to be Hill 137 in Rush mode. It starts out pretty enough, near the water with some foliage, but once players pass the first two M-COMs, they go through a narrow pass and end up looking at the hellish vista of an uphill climb through absolutely devastated, napalmed earth. There’s fire everywhere, glowing fragments float through the air, and the sky is ashen grey. It’s kind of creepy, really. Plus, it’s the perfect flame-thrower map, with its many tunnels and foxholes. And I love the flame-thrower.

The other maps are (in no particular order):
Phu Bai Valley (a.k.a. Rice Fields)
A wide-open, beautiful scenery of flat rice-fields glistening in the sun. Two American choppers vs three NVA tanks in and around the small and rickety villages dotted around the landscape.

Vantage Point
A long and winding map with major changes both in height and the type of environments you get to fight in. Vantage Point starts out in a shallow creek, climbs a steep hill into a small village, and then drops again via the mountain-side down to the liberated NVA POW camp.

Cao Son Temple
An upwards struggle through dense jungles, eventually reaching a secluded Vietnamese temple. The initial push by the US forces is a narrow and tough one, but can be helped by the patrol boats off shore. Except for the patrol boats, this is all infantry, all close quarters combat.

Operation Hastings
Unlocked by the "Battle for Hastings" community challenge, this remastered version of the classic map Operation Hastings returns (originally released in our standalone 2004 title Battlefield Vietnam).

Give us an overview of the new weapons and how they alter the tactics in Vietnam.

Well, the biggest and baddest addition is our new flame-thrower, that burns your health away if you don’t find a medkit or a source of water. Also, to keep the game true to the era, we only have scopes on the proper sniper rifles. This means that you won’t find any aggressive long-range medics, since every class needs to use iron sights and get up close and personal to get the kill. This makes the entire expansion feel a bit more hardcore and gritty, and there is a sense that the focus is just a bit more on infantry combat than in the base game.

What new vehicles will we be able to control in Vietnam and are there any unique features we haven’t seen before?

There is of course the iconic American helicopter, that is totally awesome if you ask me. Especially if you get some nice music track going by using the in-game radio (controlled by the DPAD). Other than that, we have two new tanks and jeeps, one for each side, plus the irresistible tuk-tuk.

Helicopters are very iconic military vehicles from Vietnam. How did you have to adapt the helicopter model from BFBC2 to reflect the helis in Vietnam?

The helicopter in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam behaves like a mix of transport and attack helicopter. Also, since there are no AA guns in this expansion, we have made the choppers take damage from regular weapons (which they didn’t in the base game). It’s all about balancing everything, really.

Did you make any alterations to the engine itself for this expansion, or discover ways to use it that hadn’t previously occurred to you?

The flame-thrower was definitely the thing that made us incorporate new features into the engine. Specifically, the ability to set people on fire and burn down vegetation. If you burn the grass, it goes black after a while, and if you set fire to some bushes, the foliage will disappear as it burns.

Would you say the game feels and plays significantly differently to BFBC2? Apart from the obvious visual, audio and loadout differences what aspects of the Vietnam expansion make it stand out from the main game?

It would be a long shot to say it plays significantly different from the base game. However, every detail added up makes for an experience of something significantly different. Removing the high tech gadgets such as spotting scopes, motion sensors, and add-on scopes goes a long way to create that feeling of playing something new and different, but still with the tried and tested BC2 gameplay.

What will be the model going forward – are you open to the idea of future DLC? If so, would there be two strands of DLC – one for BFBC2 and one for Vietnam?

That’s really too early to say. DLC will always be an integral part of keeping our players happy, but we have nothing additional planned for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or the Vietnam expansion right now.

How cool was it to be able to license authentic Vietnam-era music, and what do you think it adds to the game?

The music adds so much to the atmosphere. It almost acts like a time machine. Hop into the chopper and blast Fortunate Son out of its speakers, and you feel you’re suddenly there. I also think that there is no other conflict in history with such a strong tie to the music of the era such as the Vietnam War.

What about integration with EA Gun Club? The Operation Hastings-style challenges are always popular; are there going to be more of those? Will we see any cross-game activity, as we did with Battlefield 1943 weapons appearing BFBC2?

We don’t have any more community challenges planned for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam, but seeing as how appreciated they are among our players, I wouldn’t be surprised if more came along in the future for some title or other. Gun Club in general, though, and cross-title community treats is something we at DICE want to continue to explore.


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