Feedback from our players is critical to everything we do at EA, and whether you love Battlefield, EA SPORTS or The Sims, we want your feedback.
With two new maps coming to Battlefield 1 this summer, we sat down with David Sirland, Producer and Lars Gustavsson, Creative Director to learn how working with the community makes Battlefield better.
What is the working relationship between the Battlefield 1 dev team and the community?
David Sirland: The community is a valued partner in making our game shine. I believe we have taken steps towards becoming even more inclusive and attentive with our community in Battlefield 1 with our monthly releases and the Community Test Environment (CTE).
Lars Gustavsson: From my perspective, it’s a very fruitful relationship where we all share the same passion. The two-way communication is key for us as developers to better understand our players and where they are heading, so that what we do in the game always feels relevant and as a great step forward.
From left to right: Lars Gustavsson and David Sirland at EA DICE office in Stockholm
What type of feedback did the dev team get from the community for the new maps in June and July?
DS: With a set of night maps, the feedback tends to be skewed towards how to utilize the setting to the fullest – how we can fulfill the fantasies of players that have been longing for gameplay like large trench areas – and night time play in particular.
LG: In general, we get a lot of positive input. A lot of the feedback we have received has been targeting game mode tweaks, traversal, and the level of darkness.
It seems like the continued exploration of the French frontline is very much appreciated. By listening in on our community, we knew in the concept phase that the themes of trench-focused night battles and rural close quarter battles at night would be well received.
EA DICE in Stockholm
Specifically, what was the feedback that the community gave the team that ended up in the update?
DS: Layout changes for particular game modes, and helping decide what type of layouts to use for our different modes as they were tested on the CTE to make sure we picked the best ones for the final map.
LG: There’s a long list of things, from the overall level of darkness to the number of vehicles on each map.
Can you tell us more about the Community Test Environment?
LG: The CTE is a separate game environment where we test out new features and improvements ahead of release. Battlefield 1 Premium Pass owners have access and can partake in playtesting and provide feedback on how we can make the game even better. When we feel happy with the changes they become part of the next update that we roll out.
DS: It’s essentially the place we work in as devs, and you are invited to come help make sure that future updates reach their full potential with the dev team!
What is the value of having that two-way communication between players and Battlefield 1 devs?
DS: When building something, or even changing something, it’s essential to iterate to reach the highest quality – and it’s important to have continuous feedback over that time. That continuous communication with our players enables us to reach a much better experience.
LG: We as developers need to continue to drive the vision for the franchise, but with our players input in mind to ensure that Battlefield continues to evolve in the right direction. Without our community’s input, we would need to rely on guesswork.
What are the benefits of having players in the CTE for Battlefield 1?
DS: It’s a platform to try new things and allow ourselves to challenge our own ideas and solutions. The CTE helps us measure success without affecting the main game.
LG: We get direct access to some of the best, most dedicated, and passionate Battlefield players who often have far more experience with playing the game. To be able to ask questions and get input in such a direct and informal way is both extremely rewarding for us as developers, but also a necessity to ensure that we push forward in the right direction.
How is their feedback accounted for in the final product?
DS: We look at all types of feedback. While we as devs ultimately have final say in what gets our attention, the player feedback and the influence it has over the continuous development of the game is quite extensive, but not controlling. It’s symbiotic.
LG: The biggest way we account for their input is in the quality of the game.
From left to right: David Sirland and Lars Gustavsson at DICE office in Stockholm
Easter Eggs are such a big part of Battlefield 1. Can you give a sense of the cycles the dev team has in place to prepare (and hide) this content?
LG: We have a special division set up over in the sealed off hangars in Area 51. I send an unmarked envelope through special runners and have faith in the fact that something great will turn up in the game. Who does it, and how it gets into the game, I have no clue…
Jokes aside, it’s usually individual initiatives from the team that get elevated and implemented. It’s a sign of the extreme passion that these highly talented developers possess to always go a little further.
How did Easter Eggs in Battlefield 1 first start?
DS: Easter eggs have a long-standing tradition in game development. We are standing on the shoulder of our peers, and try to pull our own weight in making sure the tradition lives on in modern game development as well. So really, it’s been a part of our DNA from before Battlefield 1 was even conceived.
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