Battlefield 4 Developers say players don't know what they want.

Recently did post were I spoke of how I felt about the "BattleField 4" 17 minute demo. Basically, I felt that that it looked linear, uncreative, and set-piece ridden. A lot of people who replied felt the same, but rather than dismiss the game I went ahead and read a couple of interviews about the game. What I read genuinely infuriated me.

When asked whether or not Battlefield 4 was going to be more or less a linear experience, PB replied,"I think there's a weird dialogue in the games community where linear means bad and non-linear means good. We can see that's not the case when consumers choose which games to play."

So he's basically saying "Yeah, players say they want a less linear experience, but not according to the sales we've seen." Of course, he then goes on to say that it won't be linear because of a couple of driving sessions they've implemented, but the thought process is still going to be the same. And it makes me wonder whose sales figure they're looking at because games such as Far Cry 3, Skyrim, Arkham, Assassin's Creed, and Dishonored have proven otherwise. They claim that they aren't comparing themselves to other popular shooters(Call of Ducky), claiming they're just trying to build a game they have envisioned, but I simply can't explain this single minded view point any other way.

Later on, the interview asks if they feel mandated to surprise audiences that feel they're going to dismiss Battlefield 4 as another generic shooter.

"Yes and No..." they say, as if if not answering the question well make what he says sound any better; then goes on to talk about the community and what not. "We can't only listen to the community and to your point, nobody asked for better characters - nobody." I actually read this response two ways: either he's saying that nobody in the Battlefield community asked for better characterization and they're going to do it anyway, or they're saying that no one asked for betters characters so they won't even bother with it. If it's the former, I've gotta say that what I've seen in the demo failed to impress. If it's the latter than all I can do is raise my middle finger.

The feeling I get when reading about this guy, and in this eurogamer interview as well, is that they more often than not avoid giving direct answers. If you ask them anything they just reply, "We're trying to make Battlefield 4 feel more like Battlefield." What I want them to do is for them to define what they feel makes "Battlefield", instead of using it as an excuse to do whatever the hell they want with the ip.

Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

It's easy to cherry-pick a bunch of non-linear games who killed in sales. However, I could do the same exact thing and pick a bunch of linear games that killed in sales (Call of Duty series; Uncharted series; Gears of War series; etc).

As to the thing in question...he's kind of right; you don't ever want to listen to JUST the community. The fan-base commonly doesn't know what it wants because the community is not a hive-mind; half your audience is going to scream that they want it more open and give you options while the other half is going to scream that they want a linear story and for the developer to give them an experience.

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

There's a name for linear shooters, they're called "rail shooters" and have generally stayed in video arcades and Wii titles. If you prefer a linear succession of cut-scenes might I suggest games such as Time Crisis and House of the dead? But to answer your question, they're just not fun or compelling in the least. The first game I ever played was the original [i]Call of Duty[i] on the PC, and I still find more enjoyment playing that classic than any of its newer titles, and I've played them all. I remember when I was free to navigate maps and explore. Never have had I derped so hard than when I climbed all the way up a damn just to realize I forgot to blow up my objective, and then climbed all the way back down. It was one of those things I took for granted. I was free to explore the entire map, and that was what was so wonderful and great about it.

tehpiemaker:
When asked whether or not Battlefield 4 was going to be more or less a linear experience, PB replied,"I think there's a weird dialogue in the games community where linear means bad and non-linear means good. We can see that's not the case when consumers choose which games to play."

So he's basically saying "Yeah, players say they want a less linear experience, but not according to the sales we've seen."

No, what he is saying is that while there are linear and non-linear games out there, players don't exclusively choose non-linearity, thus claiming one is always bad or not is wrong.

Other than that, I don't know what else to add. I don't particularly care about Battlefield and it turns out the statement isn't that interesting either. I get what they mean, I don't think it's a big enough deal.

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

Also this. I mean, yeah - if I had to choose only one or the other, I'd go for more open style of play but I don't know why should I. There are good linear games, there are good non-linear ones and the opposite is also true. There are also mediocre games of both. Whatever. Just pick what you like.

tippy2k2:
It's easy to cherry-pick a bunch of non-linear games who killed in sales. However, I could do the same exact thing and pick a bunch of linear games that killed in sales (Call of Duty series; Uncharted series; Gears of War series; etc).

As to the thing in question...he's kind of right; you don't ever want to listen to JUST the community. The fan-base commonly doesn't know what it wants because the community is not a hive-mind; half your audience is going to scream that they want it more open and give you options while the other half is going to scream that they want a linear story and for the developer to give them an experience.

You couldn't have missed the point so hard even if you'd have tried. I'm not cherry picking. I'm giving proof to the contrary. Yes, there are a lot of non-linear games that suck and there are a lot of linear games that suck as well. But I'm trying to say is that the general feeling that publishers and developers have--non-linear games don't sell--has been proven wrong. That's why I chose recent games.

tehpiemaker:

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

There's a name for linear shooters, they're called "rail shooters" and have generally stayed in video arcades and Wii titles. If you prefer a linear succession of cut-scenes might I suggest games such as Time Crisis and House of the dead? But to answer your question, they're just not fun or compelling in the least. The first game I ever played was the original [i]Call of Duty[i] on the PC, and I still find more enjoyment playing that classic than any of its newer titles, and I've played them all. I remember when I was free to navigate maps and explore. Never have had I derped so hard than when I climbed all the way up a damn just to realize I forgot to blow up my objective, and then climbed all the way back down. It was one of those things I took for granted. I was free to explore the entire map, and that was what was so wonderful and great about it.

No...rail shooters are called rail shooters. FPS games can range from straightfoward and linear (such as Call Of Duty) to open world (Far Cry 2, ARMA 2).

They're not fun because you can't explore? If that were the case, games such as God Of War or Uncharted or the thousands of other linear games wouldn't be fun.

tehpiemaker:

tippy2k2:
It's easy to cherry-pick a bunch of non-linear games who killed in sales. However, I could do the same exact thing and pick a bunch of linear games that killed in sales (Call of Duty series; Uncharted series; Gears of War series; etc).

As to the thing in question...he's kind of right; you don't ever want to listen to JUST the community. The fan-base commonly doesn't know what it wants because the community is not a hive-mind; half your audience is going to scream that they want it more open and give you options while the other half is going to scream that they want a linear story and for the developer to give them an experience.

You couldn't have missed the point so hard even if you'd have tried. I'm not cherry picking. I'm giving proof to the contrary. Yes, there are a lot of non-linear games that suck and there are a lot of linear games that suck as well. But I'm trying to say is that the general feeling that publishers and developers have--non-linear games don't sell--has been proven wrong. That's why I chose recent games.

I don't think he's saying non-linear is bad; he's saying that linear doesn't necessarily mean bad. A lot of gamers clamor for non-linear games and for whatever reason, they believe that if it is not an open world where you can go where you want it's automatically bad. His argument is that a linear game does not mean bad like a lot of people yell.

He's not arguing that non-linear games have no place in the industry; he's arguing that there is still a place for the linear game.

imahobbit4062:

tehpiemaker:

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

There's a name for linear shooters, they're called "rail shooters" and have generally stayed in video arcades and Wii titles. If you prefer a linear succession of cut-scenes might I suggest games such as Time Crisis and House of the dead? But to answer your question, they're just not fun or compelling in the least. The first game I ever played was the original [i]Call of Duty[i] on the PC, and I still find more enjoyment playing that classic than any of its newer titles, and I've played them all. I remember when I was free to navigate maps and explore. Never have had I derped so hard than when I climbed all the way up a damn just to realize I forgot to blow up my objective, and then climbed all the way back down. It was one of those things I took for granted. I was free to explore the entire map, and that was what was so wonderful and great about it.

No...rail shooters are called rail shooters. FPS games can range from straightfoward and linear (such as Call Of Duty) to open world (Far Cry 2, ARMA 2).

They're not fun because you can't explore? If that were the case, games such as God Of War or Uncharted or the thousands of other linear games wouldn't be fun.

You might've had a point there but fumbled the ball near the end. Yes, I recognize that [i]Uncharted[i] is a very linear experience, but the one thing it has going for it is it's story. Having played all Modern Warfare games, I say with all sincerity that their stories suck a big one, and their characters are extremely boring. Also, I'm not calling all FPS's rail shooters, I'm just calling extremely linear FPS games veritable to such games.

I think DICE have an easy to understand point, and it's pretty visible, frankly.
A lot of people love to talk about how linear games are worse, however sales or these types of games almost universally eclipse the sales of incredibly non-linear games by an order of magnitude. Deus Ex, considered by a great many to be the best game of all time, sold less than 500,000 copies total. Call of Duty, considered by a great many to be some of most the linear games ever made, have sold over 30 Million copies per release for the last four years in a row.

Truth be told, I don't have a real problem with linear shooters, I have a problem with the industry spending the majority of it's time, effort and money on what amounts to basically the same game re-released with different skins year after year after year.
I'd forgive annual Call of Duty releases if Activision Blizzard were using the profits to make other, more original games, instead of padding bonuses and dividends payments. Instead of using Call of Duty's success to minimise the risk with experimental titles, they simply focus all of their efforts into more Call of Duty, and experimenting with methods for making more money off of it for less effort.

I had a blast with the original Modern Warfare. But, I grabbed Battlefield 3 for $10.00 last week, and was dismayed to find that the campaign was basically copy/paste from Modern Warfare, only less fun. The story was identical - and I do mean identical. It's been six years, and we're still playing the same game.

That's the problem as I see it, anyway. I don't care if it's linear, frankly. I care about new, original, fun and creative titles. And we're just not seeing them.

tehpiemaker:

imahobbit4062:

tehpiemaker:

There's a name for linear shooters, they're called "rail shooters" and have generally stayed in video arcades and Wii titles. If you prefer a linear succession of cut-scenes might I suggest games such as Time Crisis and House of the dead? But to answer your question, they're just not fun or compelling in the least. The first game I ever played was the original [i]Call of Duty[i] on the PC, and I still find more enjoyment playing that classic than any of its newer titles, and I've played them all. I remember when I was free to navigate maps and explore. Never have had I derped so hard than when I climbed all the way up a damn just to realize I forgot to blow up my objective, and then climbed all the way back down. It was one of those things I took for granted. I was free to explore the entire map, and that was what was so wonderful and great about it.

No...rail shooters are called rail shooters. FPS games can range from straightfoward and linear (such as Call Of Duty) to open world (Far Cry 2, ARMA 2).

They're not fun because you can't explore? If that were the case, games such as God Of War or Uncharted or the thousands of other linear games wouldn't be fun.

You might've had a point there but fumbled the ball near the end. Yes, I recognize that [i]Uncharted[i] is a very linear experience, but the one thing it has going for it is it's story. Having played all Modern Warfare games, I say with all sincerity that their stories suck a big one, and their characters are extremely boring. Also, I'm not calling all FPS's rail shooters, I'm just calling extremely linear FPS games veritable to such games.

He did not fumble because the quality of the story of each and every FPS is completely irrelevant to the point he was making.

Shia-Neko-Chan:
He did not fumble because the quality of the story of each and every FPS is completely irrelevant to the point he was making.

Then what, pray tell, was his point exactly? That just because a game is linear, doesn't make it not fun? What I'm trying to say is that, the difference between the modern shooter genre and others is this stagnation. The same thing happened with the World War 2 genre. Other games such as Uncharted and God of War may be a linear experience, but they both have different things to offer: Better storyies, interesting characters, initiative gameplay, and different art schemes. That's why when Dante's inferno copied virtually everything from God of War everybody got upset. The FPS genre, which usually offers no innovation in terms of control, must then either innovate in other ways. Graphics can only get you so far.

Linearity isn't inherently bad and open world isn't inherently good. It depends on what's done with them. Too much linearity usually sucks all enjoyment from a game and brings no replay value and too much freedom can get a player lost or distract them from whatever the game really tries to accomplish. And making an open world game full of cool stuff to keep players entertained takes a lot of freaking work.

No singleplayer game can be completely open world, you're going to have to be funneled down a predetermined path quite often in practically all games, but total linearity, as in literally going down a tunnel from scripted event to scripted event with nothing of substance at all deviating from it, in the vein of Battlefield 3's and Warfighter's campaigns is total bullshit.
Battlefield 3 sold like crazy though thanks to its multiplayer. BF4 will be the same, so don't expect shit when it comes to the campaign mode.

Zeh Don:
I think DICE have an easy to understand point, and it's pretty visible, frankly.
A lot of people love to talk about how linear games are worse, however sales or these types of games almost universally eclipse the sales of incredibly non-linear games by an order of magnitude. Deus Ex, considered by a great many to be the best game of all time, sold less than 500,000 copies total. Call of Duty, considered by a great many to be some of most the linear games ever made, have sold over 30 Million copies per release for the last four years in a row.

Truth be told, I don't have a real problem with linear shooters, I have a problem with the industry spending the majority of it's time, effort and money on what amounts to basically the same game re-released with different skins year after year after year.
I'd forgive annual Call of Duty releases if Activision Blizzard were using the profits to make other, more original games, instead of padding bonuses and dividends payments. Instead of using Call of Duty's success to minimise the risk with experimental titles, they simply focus all of their efforts into more Call of Duty, and experimenting with methods for making more money off of it for less effort.

I had a blast with the original Modern Warfare. But, I grabbed Battlefield 3 for $10.00 last week, and was dismayed to find that the campaign was basically copy/paste from Modern Warfare, only less fun. The story was identical - and I do mean identical. It's been six years, and we're still playing the same game.

Pretty much.
BF3's campaign, in being a total crappy CoD knock off also went against the spirit of the game completely. Massive aerial battle? Fuck no, sit here and push a button every now and then. Big huge tank assault? Tense stealth level? Yeah ok, for like 5 minutes. Back to the railroad now.

It could have been a big huge campaign with a variety of actions and environments all rendered in the glorious Frostbite engine. There could have been a bunch of different objectives and a bunch more ways to accomplish them. A battlefield. Shit, multiplayer with BOTS would have been better. Instead we got something that had already been done a million times better by a million other things.

Well at least we now know you design games with an earnings spread sheet instead of ideas.
Ya who knew the dumb consumer flock isn't the same as people with taste, hey make your games however you want but don't pretend the lowest common denominator is quality production.

I think the important part here that everyone is missing...

Who the fuck buys a Battlefield game for the single player campaign?
BF is all about team based MP with decent maps and vehicles and objective based gameplay.

And for anyone who says a game needs to stand on its SP, or its a failure of a game....SP campaigns are a relatively new feature for BF games. The original series never even bothered. I think the closest they got was letting you play MP offline with bots. I just really dont get why we hate on a series which has its foundations in 100% MP, for having a mediocre campaign, when we're the ones who keep telling them they need to have it.

The best piece of advice would be "BF, stop wasting money on a SP experience. People will buy other games for that. Just do what you originally did."

Elijin:
Who the fuck buys a Battlefield game for the single player campaign?... The best piece of advice would be "BF, stop wasting money on a SP experience. People will buy other games for that. Just do what you originally did."

I disagree entirely. As long as the single player experience doesn't result in a weaker multiplayer experience, I'm glad they made a single player campaign.

I didn't buy Battlefield 1942 because, at the time, I didn't have the internet. I didn't buy Battlefield 2, however, because a full priced multiplayer only game isn't really something I'm happy to purchase. I want a story and a single player focused experience, as well as a multiplayer component, in order to justify the full price tag. There's nothing wrong with a multiplayer only title - Counter Strike is brilliant, for example, however it's also not full priced and thus feels like much better value.
DICE seem to have realised there are quite a few players like me in the world, and have attempted to draw us in with some success.

I jumped on board with Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The single player campaign was actually pretty entertaining, and I absolutely loved the multiplayer aspect and played it until I'd unlocked everything.
Battlefield 3 has a rock solid multiplayer component, and a pretty lackluster campaign. What I've seen of Battlefield 4 so far, demonstrates that they've understood that players want more open, multiplayer-like experiences, and they seem to be delivering that. I'm happy to buy the next one as a result. If they removed the single player campaign, I wouldn't buy the next game.

So, if you can provide a well constructed and thought out argument explaining how the single player game has resulted in a drastically weaker multiplayer experience, I'll change my tune :)

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

Because non-linear really makes shooters boring. It is, quite honestly, "Go, here, stand there, shoot that, go there, stand there, shoot him, next position, next shot" -ect. There's no different way to approach a situation. Usually your also given 2 weapons that you can't choose too to do the mission with, and that means every single time you play it it will be the exact same experience. Your only input in the game is to aim down the sites like at an arcade shooter game like Time Crisis. Oh, and you have to press the arrow keys to move to each location rather then the game doing it for you, but it is always that one location.
If I want that sort of experience, I'll watch a movie that doesn't stop me every few minutes and say "Sorry, you died".
When I play a game, I want to decide how I'm going to approach each encounter, not be told by the game. In Farcry 3, I pick how I'm going to attack each base, where I'm going to enter, which group of enemies I'll take care of first, whether I'll snipe them or run in guns blazing. If it were linear, I would be told to go to one point, kill this group of enemies, now this, no you can't snipe unless you're 5 meters away, guns blazing please. Would that be as enjoyable?

It doesn't make it universally bad, its just undesirable in the same way 13 minute cutscenes are. In Battlefield especially people don't like it 'cause the multiplayer is set on a large map where it is up to you to do what you want to achieve your objective, whilst the single player is all but, and at times actually is, on rails. It goes against what they say when they say they want to make it "More Battlefield". More Battlefield would be less linear. Hell, more Battlefield would be to not have a campaign at all and just have Single Player Bot Skirmishes instead. But no, that wouldn't entice the CoD audience enough would it =/

I don't think anyone will buy a Battlefield game for it's single player component, so whatever they say about it and decide to do with it is irrelevant.

tehpiemaker:

There's a name for linear shooters, they're called "rail shooters" and have generally stayed in video arcades and Wii titles. If you prefer a linear succession of cut-scenes might I suggest games such as Time Crisis and House of the dead? But to answer your question, they're just not fun or compelling in the least. The first game I ever played was the original [i]Call of Duty[i] on the PC, and I still find more enjoyment playing that classic than any of its newer titles, and I've played them all. I remember when I was free to navigate maps and explore. Never have had I derped so hard than when I climbed all the way up a damn just to realize I forgot to blow up my objective, and then climbed all the way back down. It was one of those things I took for granted. I was free to explore the entire map, and that was what was so wonderful and great about it.

You're interjecting your subjective opinion into something that should be based on fact. Linear shooters can be fun, they have an audience, but not everyone will like them. By saying they are bad because YOU personally do not like them is not a good enough reason. I think games without cut-scenes are less interesting than games with cut-scenes but I don't go around saying that games without cut-scenes are terrible and not worth anyone's time or money.

This is surprisingly an all too common thing that I see on game forums where in which people interject a subjective opinion and say that it is fact and that their opinion is right and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Linear can be bad, but it can also be good. And as for saying "Gamers don't know what they want" he's right. If they were to listen to every single person on how to make their next game better they would never make that game because everyone has a different opinion on what is good and bad.

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

Who said that linearity is always bad?

Linearity can be like this:

or that:

One of them killed a franchise that was really old and is considered the worst game of a genre that rarely produces anything memorable. The other one is considered one of the best, if not the best, shooter/PC/Action game of all times and made many people say that it should be the standard by which games should be measured.

They forgot that Battlefield is a multiplayer series. Battlefield is 64 player conquest, blowing shit up and vehicles. Anything else is a distraction.

I think the issue is with the scripted events with basically QTE's or limited player action, rather than being linear or not.

Linear is good as it focuses the player on what they must do, none linear can often leave players overwhelmed with options.
This is not to say none linear is evil , it works in some games like GTA and Skyrim as these games are about exploring mostly, in a BF type game you are a soldier sent to do a mission not wonder around checking out the sights and doing odd jobs here and there before getting on with the mission at hand.

I dont like QTE's and heavily scripted events where the player is hardly needed... rather than scripted action sequences I would prefer smarter AI that can surprise me with some tactics other than pour lots of bodies out this clown car , or spawn baddies in previously cleared rooms.
I hate that when I specifically check a room to ensure I aint gonna get shot in the arse... and still get shot in the arse anyway.

What I most fear with BF 4 is that it will be like BF 3... need to grind out levels to get equipment to be able to compete on par with the early adopters and no lifers that can put in 36 hrs of gaming in to rank up... I play about 5 - 10 hours a week.
Oh I am sure EA will toss in the 'option' to buy the equipment, and thats what worries me ... I am calling it now, cool toys will be at high ranks requiring hours of play to unlock with unlock packs available to purchase with real cash if you dont want to wait.

Oh why cant it be more like 2142, even a rank 1 was on par with the highest ranks, the unlocks was easy to get and didnt really increase power just offered some more options most of the time... I never felt I couldnt compete despite not being max level.

... BF 3 ? Night vision goggles that highlighted enemies even in the day, aiming lasers that blind enemies, flashlights which also blind, super scoping options, mortars for explosive spam, remote drones that can 1 hit kill enemies, vehicle unlocks (sorry you cant have missiles on your jet sir, you are not high enough ranked)...

... oops , linear is not bad , QTE and scripted events which take away player control a lot is bad, k ?

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

There is linear and there is "walk across the dotted line until you reach the next ingame cutsceny spectacle piece"

Joccaren:
snip

And yet some of the best FPS there are are linear as fuck.

I like to say: A game with lots of freedom lacks focus. You lose all sense of urgency if you can basically go on a two week trip between plotrelevant missions, if they can wait to execute their plans until your vacation is over why should I take the plot even remotely serious?

Your generalisation does not fit at all. Linear FPS = boring is plain and simple bullshit. What you described can also be applied to FPS with open worlds. In the end, either you go by what the mission says or you approach camps - in most cases every time in the same way. Being stealthy with the one stealthy option the game offers is just so much fun the first dozen times.
On the other hand a linear FPS can customise and create assets to create certain experiences. I don't remember jack shit from Far Cry 3 and yet I won't forget the first ~15 minutes of Half Life 2, which are still some of the best ways to use assets to describe and flesh out the setting. From all the FPS I played last year the only one I actually remember (not counting MP FPS) are certain moments in the Darkness 2 singleplayer (20€ well spent).

Two weapon limit is another book in itself. It makes no goddamn sense in a singleplayer FPS and reeks of laziness to balance out weapons and ammunition drops. In most cases you even have no real choice: Either you pass on the rocket launcher and fail in the upcoming asset (which will feature a random dropped RL to begin with) or you have to reserve at least one slot for the 'right' way. Even more saddening: It is done under the pretence of realism in arcade shooter.

Not many games actually try to find a balance. Because right now it is not possible: Customers cry for contradicting things (we want better stories - we want no linearity [in any kind of fomr]) and if a game tries to find a middleground it can be considered a risiko. In the end, those guys are right (the ones the topic is about).

imahobbit4062:
Why is linear always a bad thing though? Why does everything need to be more open?

There's nothing wrong with linear games but not all games have to be restrictive in letting players have more options.

In terms of campaign, I think what people want is one structured like MP matches where there's plenty of methods to finish the task; you figure how to do it. Give people plenty of room to maneuver & operate how they wish. Put the player (or players for co-op's sake) in LARGE battlefields, give them the tools of their trade & turn them loose like Mack Bolan against the mafia & people would love it. None of this "you're leaving the battlespace bullshit" just pure freedom with a good sized force you can command or be a part of at will.

If there's any linearity, then it should be something like highly tense stealth levels that offer plenty of ways to move or something. or intense gun battles in crumbling battles as the debris is just as much the enemy as it is a friend. At least it can show off the Frostbite engine's usefulness there. The thing here is DO NOT take away player controls for 1,000s of shitty QTEs or stupid shit.

As for vehicle segments, the vehicles NEED to be piloted by the player at ALL times. Seriously, in a MP-centric FPS where vehicles play a large role in the game, I should be piloting and operating these vehicles, plain & simple so I know their limits & performance before I hit the MP. And in all cases, the AI needs to pull its weight as well instead of being borderline retarded.

(On that note, I'd seriously like a mode that allows me to fuck with the bots in the MP maps in an environment where at least I can learn these vehicles instead of being put in a leather bag for wanting to change the approach.)

Another thing I'd like to see: improve the unlock system. Don't use it to make the player underpowered and useless against higher ranks; have plenty of things to use from the drop-zone, don't fuck over the new players like that. Seriously, BF3's unlock system was a bitch in itself. No excuse to have new players getting fucked over by bright-ass tactical lights from 50 meters.

TheKasp:
And yet some of the best FPS there are are linear as fuck.

A highly subjective statement, and one that means nothing seeing as some of the worst are ridiculously linear too.

I like to say: A game with lots of freedom lacks focus. You lose all sense of urgency if you can basically go on a two week trip between plotrelevant missions, if they can wait to execute their plans until your vacation is over why should I take the plot even remotely serious?

A game with lots of freedom CAN lack focus. Developers just like to coddle people and let them spend 3 weeks doing whatever they want before they move on to the next part of the mission. Also partially because it'd take more effort than they see it being worth as having the world evolve over time dependent on whether the player finishes all the objectives before day x, or whether they don't.

Your generalisation does not fit at all. Linear FPS = boring is plain and simple bullshit. What you described can also be applied to FPS with open worlds. In the end, either you go by what the mission says or you approach camps - in most cases every time in the same way. Being stealthy with the one stealthy option the game offers is just so much fun the first dozen times.

No, not really. I approached camps in FC3 in a million different ways. Some I sniped everyone from a nearby mountain, some I hid in the trees and opened animal cages before charging in with my shotgun and blasting people, others I did full knife runs - ect. When I died, I would not attack from the same entrance. I'd go around to the other side of the base and enter from there to try and see if that worked. I'd kite hostile animals in from nearby, and I'd prepare whatever weapons and supplies I wanted before the fight.
If you decided to play the same way the whole way through the game, good for you. The option was always there to play differently, it was just you that decided not to.

On the other hand a linear FPS can customise and create assets to create certain experiences. I don't remember jack shit from Far Cry 3 and yet I won't forget the first ~15 minutes of Half Life 2, which are still some of the best ways to use assets to describe and flesh out the setting. From all the FPS I played last year the only one I actually remember (not counting MP FPS) are certain moments in the Darkness 2 singleplayer (20€ well spent).

It would be nice if they actually did that, but lets be honest; the 'assets' are going to be a bunch of Michael Bay setpieces everyone will have forgotten within 3 minutes.
Half Life is, sadly, a general exception amongst FPS. It does things well as whilst its level design is highly linear, it still gives you some freedom in how you do things. Its a slightly different type of linear to what AAA means when it says linear. AAA Linear is "You're in a movie hitting buttons", Half-Life Linear is a game with linear levels, but all the feel of your open world game as it isn't drilled into your mind that the levels are linear, there aren't set pieces every 3 meters, and you can sit around and basically have coffee for three weeks before getting on with the game. The game is yours to play more how you want, and less in a precise set way.
Rblade said it pretty well just before you posted;

there's linear, and then there's "walk across the dotted line until you reach the next ingame cutsceny spectacle piece"

Different levels of linearity, and the more linear it is, in general, the more boring it is. Games need a part of both linearity and freedom in their campaigns, and this is something that some games do well, but making games linear beyond that nice measure makes them boring, and making them have more freedom beyond that measures leaves them lacking direction. Completely linear games like the previous Battlefield's campaign? Dear god no.

 

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