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The TV Shows and Movies Inspiring Battlefield Hardline’s Development


We sat down with Ian Milham, Creative Director on Hardline, to learn more about the inspirations behind Battlefield Hardline’s single-player campaign.

Battlefield Hardline is coming in March, and the game features a fresh campaign mode that let you experience the classic “cops vs criminals” fantasy in a new way.

You’ll need weapons, gadgets and plenty of nerve to play through a Miami drug war in Battlefield Hardline, with all the action feeling more like a movie or TV show than a video game. To pull it off, the team at Visceral has been inspired by many pieces of entertainment. 

We sat down with Ian Milham, Creative Director on Hardline, to learn more about the inspirations behind Battlefield Hardline’s single-player campaign.


Which TV shows helped influence the development of Battlefield Hardline?

Cop dramas that focused on characters more than procedures and units. Especially ones with a bit of wit to them. “Justified” is probably the best example.

Are there movies or genres of movies that have contributed to the story of Battlefield Hardline?

We really loved the dialogue and tone of movies that were based on the books of Elmore Leonard.  The best examples would be “Out of Sight” and “Jackie Brown”.

Are there specific characters from movies or TV shows that inspired you throughout the process?

Not so much any one specific character, but again the world of Elmore Leonard was our guide. These are characters who talk like real people without a lot of jargon. For the most part, they all already know each other, so there’s very few scenes of exposition and planning. We wanted to keep the conversations quick and smart.

There are some iconic filmmakers with a very specific style, like Michael Bay, for example. Are there directors that you’ve studied throughout the process? What have you learned from them?

Rather than look at any filmmakers and emulate them, we actually brought an experienced director on board for this reason. Games are different, and a non-game director’s style could break down if we just tried to bring it over straight. Instead, we brought a director into the process who had experience working on shows like Justified and The Americans. By teaming up, we could get the best of both worlds. He helped us get our scenes and story right, and we evolved his style to be right for games.

How has the story evolved over time throughout development?

Game stories have to be able to be delivered quickly and clearly, and they need to take into account the physicality of the actions the player is performing. So over time, we kept making the story more streamlined, more elemental. We also tried to make it integral to the action, not just movies that play in between levels.

How does that game handle choice in single-player mode?

We want the choices in our game to be constant, and always valid. So there’s not a huge binary system of good and bad, or long conversation trees. Its more that situations are approachable in different ways, and the ways those encounters go are fluid. We have very, very few moments where a mission fails, because the player doesn’t know what they’re “supposed” to do.

Can you talk about the color palate in Battlefield Hardline, and how your team decided to go in that direction?

We’re constantly adjusting color in the game to support gameplay and mood. To pull out all the color and make it all brown or grey takes away one of our best tools. We also want different places to feel different, and color is part of that conversation. 

How does that compare to the look and feel of previous Battlefield titles?

Battlefield has traditionally has taken a digital documentary look, with specific color management.  We’re going for an analog TV show look, with more theatrical and deliberate lighting. We want to maintain the series’ tradition of high detail, while bringing a different feeling to the look.

How are you working to ensure that the look and feel of Hardline is an immersive world?

There are million things to consider to achieve that. Really being consistent, using reference, and getting the details right. Then it’s going beyond to get the world alive with motion and sound, and providing the sort of huge scope that Battlefield is known for.


For more on Battlefield Hardline's single-player campaign and the newly revealed campaign mechanics, head over to the Battlefield site.

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