Battlefield Weapon Designer Julian Schimek and Core Gameplay Designer Florian Le Bihan from DICE, provide an insight into Battlefield V’s improved gunplay.
Battlefield has always been about a balanced rock-paper-scissors gameplay experience, and like all First Person Shooters, there are a number of gameplay mechanics at work that help determine a weapon’s behaviour.
Traditionally, Battlefield has some of the most advanced gunplay systems for an FPS. Factors such as muzzle velocity, bullet drop, rate of fire, drag coefficient, damage drop-off, base weapon damage and spread and recoil, can sometimes be a little complex for players to fully understand.
“That was something that all of us on the Core Gameplay Team really wanted to improve upon for Battlefield V, so players will have an easier time understanding a weapon’s behaviour,” Core Gameplay Designer Florian Le Bihan said. “We invested a huge amount of time working on solutions because we want players to have greater control over their shooting experience, and to clearly show what’s happening with a weapon.”
Important parts of weapon handling logic had to be rewritten for Battlefield V in order to make this work. Previously in Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1, dispersion (spread), increased by a certain value with every shot until players hit a max limit, and would decrease linearly over time while not shooting.
Battlefield Weapon Designer Julian Schimek cites how Battlefield 3 provided some of the inspiration for Battlefield V’s gunplay.
“In Battlefield 3 weapon base accuracy was very high when using the Heavy Barrel attachment, which allows players to reliably hit distant targets by reducing barrel whip,” Schimek said. “Drawing inspiration from older Battlefield games has led to many positive gunplay changes for Battlefield V, like dispersion decreasing constantly and not linearly.”
Through a combination of inspiration and an overall desire to improve the visual feedback of weapons and their accessibility, new and existing players will have a greater shooting experience, one that’s also aided by greater accuracy through spread and recoil.
In Battlefield V, spread is now presented as recoil in full automatic fire, which players will feel build up as they fire, instead of having to look for tracers, Schimek explains. “Recoil itself is now applied over a short amount of time rather than all at once, making it feel much smoother and allowing for a much higher usage of it than before.”
“We also wanted a system that would improve the stability of sustained fire, rather than having the weapon become unstable too quickly. That said, we still want players to lose control of their firearms—but at the correct time,” Le Bihan continued.
Physicality was another important focus of gunplay for the Core Gameplay Team. They regularly asked questions like What should it feel like when firing a particular weapon? If a player shoots a sniper rifle, how should their scope behave? How do we give the impression of the weapon kicking towards them? How do we communicate weapon accuracy at any time when aiming?” This is where a tight collaboration with other studio disciplines like Animation, Audio and Visual FX comes into play, in order to achieve all of those elements.
“During the sniper rifle animation sequence, the Animation Team placed emphasis on the bolt cycle. So when that bolt is pulled back, players see that this movement is aggressive and hopefully that visually communicates that this rifle is all about taking that one shot. Recoil benefits this further by changing a player’s field of view when a bullet is fired, and by giving the impression that the scope is kicking backwards against their eye,” Le Bihan explained.
The Core Gameplay Team have gone through many iterations of testing Battlefield V’s weapons systems and are constantly tweaking mechanics like base spread, spread on first shot, spread increase per shot and spread decrease. They continue to work hard on gunplay and weapon balancing, with the aim of providing a more positive and consistent gunplay experience that is satisfying to all Battlefield players, ahead of the world-wide launch of Battlefield V on October 19th.
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