In Wake of Battlefield 4 Launch Issues, EA Overhauling Testing Process

"It's a completely different test and QA construct," CEO Andrew Wilson says.

Battlefield 4's launch last year was problematic to say the least. And though EA contends the game was "exceedingly successful," the publisher is overhauling its testing process to ensure future products, like this year's Battlefield Hardline, enjoy a smoother release.

"We're... changing the way we test our products," EA CEO Andrew Wilson told Kotaku. "Does it work? Zeroes and ones. There's a fundamental test. Does it do what it's supposed to do? QA? Is it fun when it's doing what it's supposed to do? Scalability? Does it do what it's supposed to do at scale? And usability, can a user get it to do what it's supposed to do and have fun with it with their friends and at scale?"

Overall, Wilson said, "It's a completely different test and QA construct in the company." This includes public beta testing periods that are conducted well in advance of a given game's release. One example is Battlefield Hardline, which is already in beta on PlayStation 4 and PC, ahead of its full release more than four months from now.

"Part of the reason we've come much earlier with that is we want to have a much longer ramp and a much longer phase to bring far more people into the game so we're hitting it harder...the game is already in a very polished state," Wilson said. "We've got to get things done earlier."

"This Hollywood blockbuster mentality of 'keep all of the information to yourself' is not something that makes sense in today's world" -- Andrew Wilson

The Battlefield Hardline beta will be extended to Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 later this year, though there's no specific timeframe to speak of just yet.

Battlefield 4's launch issues led to the commencement of a class-action lawsuit against EA, though the status of this legal action is unclear. EA maintains that even though 10,000 people tested the game, many of the issues came from the Xbox One and PS4 versions, which of course were unreleased at this time last year, making beta testing tricky.

Though Wilson hopes that EA's new testing processes will cut down on the chances of more post-release issues, he's not going to guarantee everything will go exactly to plan. "For me to sit here and say we will not have issues again would be disingenuous. It's not possible," Wilson said. "The only way you get to a point where you can almost guarantee no issues is if you're not pushing the boundaries, if you're not innovating."

Also in the interview, Wilson said EA will aim to be more transparent about game development going forward because he believes it is increasingly important to hear what gamers think earlier in the production process.

"The world is changing," Wilson said. "This Hollywood blockbuster mentality of 'keep all of the information to yourself' is not something that makes sense in today's world. In a world where you just don't share, you never get feedback, the only things you're ever going to make are the things you know are going to be hits. So I really want us to change as a company and start making more new stuff, and in order to do that, you have to get feedback, and in order to get feedback, you have to be willing to open the curtain and have a conversation about it early."

During EA's E3 press conference last week, the publisher provided an early, early look at BioWare's next Mass Effect game and its all-new IP.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

44 comments
kwanzudood
kwanzudood

Well guess what, Andrew Wilson, it looks like some of us Battlefield fans will be "overhauling" our buying policy for EA games. 

cynicritic
cynicritic

You mean EA will actually start testing their games in the first place...

BC2 was the only BF game worthy of my time. 

Kalifornia
Kalifornia

Its like Groundhog Day watching that video.  Seems like i have been watching the same DICE/EA crap for years...oh wait  I HAVE!....Ned Ryerson??

iamapcgamer67
iamapcgamer67

EA/DICE destroyed the Battlefield franchise.  This is too little, way too late!  They should have learned this lesson years ago!  BF Hardline should be a DLC/Mod, NOT a new game for $60!  I will NEVER purchase another game from EA ever again.

grenadehh
grenadehh

Anyway, Visceral deserves our money. Visceral IS EA, but, at least they're the ones making the game, and not suits - and not DICE, thank god. After masterpieces like DS1, DS2, and Dante's Inferno (let's ignore DS3 and AoT:Devil's Cartel), I will buy this game for Visceral's sake alone, despite my solemn vow to NEVER buy another EA game ever ever.

Pupchu
Pupchu

Sounds like the same old PR mumbo-jumbo in my ears. Done with EA.

gtmphantom
gtmphantom

to little to late for me. Ridiculous, I was able to purchase a game that I haven't been able to play for nearly a month, haven't touched it since. I wont be purchasing another game of theirs any time soon.

Xcalibur_basic
Xcalibur_basic

Nice work, Gamespot, ferreting out some info from publishers and developers. At least the awful launches of BF3 and 4 have been acknowledged and they still aren't completely fixed. I'm still going to hold off on buying any EA game until after launch. I've been letdown and burned for buying close to launch day. EA is just going to have to re-earn my interest (EA read: money) before I buy another game from them.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

Blah blah blah Battlefield 5, 6 and 7 will be the same buggy half-hearted mess, it's been that way since they acquired DICE, which is why I haven't owned a Battlefield game since Battlefield 2.

n3cw4rr10r
n3cw4rr10r

Quote: "the game is already in a very polished state," Wilson said."


Say what? 

leandrro
leandrro


"For me to sit here and say we will not have issues again would be disingenuous. It's not possible," Wilson said. "The only way you get to a point where you can almost guarantee no issues is if you're not pushing the boundaries, if you're not innovating."

yes, because bf hardline is soooo innovative and nothing like bf4

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

EA pushed dice to release BF4 before it was ready everyone knows that and it was a bad move since CoD ghosts did bad on its own and if they would have launched BF4 a little bit later than ghosts and way more optimized it would have murder ghosts but now I lost respect for both BF and CoD in general...

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

"We're... changing the way we test our products," EA CEO Andrew Wilson told Kotaku.

Translation: "We're actually going to test it this time."

I really don't like that Wilson bloke.

Tekcor
Tekcor

All EA had to do to call this a victory is not rubber-stamp a game through QA just because they wanted to beat CoD to market.

23Jarek23
23Jarek23

Incoming open to everyone pay to test Alphas and Betas from EA. 

DarkLord
DarkLord

The only real improvement I've seen with the Hardline beta over the BF4 beta is that the game doesn't crash every 5 seconds. It still needs big improvements to the netcode and balancing. Of course those will be addressed as time goes by (I hope) and I suspect that Hardline will get a better launch than BF4 had.

Deathhawk4
Deathhawk4

The problem with beta or small ones is that after the game comes out a lot more people get on the game and some bugs don't show up unless the servers are under extreme pressure

biggamer194
biggamer194

Translation, we are actually going to do SOME Q&A this time around, and we are promoting it as if this is a new industry or company standard. C'mon I love the BF series, been with it since BF2, but the past few games have been awfully bugged and as much as I'm a fan I have to pass on Hardline for the simple fact that EA is trying to sell me a new game without fixing the older one, essentially saying yeah we have you money now F off and buy our next crap. Taking a stand and not supporting this.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

But it still sounds like we are doing your work for you just so we can get another rehash GTAV wannabe FPS.

My issue is this.

We see what GTAV could do on previous console. That is the expected bar for EVERY game that is not restricted by core fundamentals of a game say like sports that is restricted in an area.


People want to see everything that could be touched or moved in real life be moved in game. I mean you are trying to restrict in a lot of ways what someone can do in FPS and there is no reason to have those restrictions except because your worthless and lazy. We should be able to grab stuff and fling it at our enemies to distract them or have them shoot the stuff instead of us while we open fire or retreat. Open car doors to hide behind until it's blown apart or hit so much it no longer can cover us or the bullets simply so powerful it goes through it.


FPS is NOT GTAV surely but with current power not making the fps experience realistic just means you are a rehashing POS company.

TheIfym20
TheIfym20

I played the BF hardline beta and it runs way better than BF 4 does in it's current state. It's a fun game check it out.

Techtroll
Techtroll

This guy can't be trusted he only pops his head out when there's money to be made.

Razor10000
Razor10000

"the game is already in a very polished state," wow, how can someone say this about bfhardline beta. no matter how good the concept is, until they fix the netcode and bugs, battlefield games will always be bad, always. 

Saidrex
Saidrex

"We're... changing the way we test our products, now we will actually test them before selling"

spenta
spenta

You mean they are going back to the way that it was done originally when a Beta was released nearly a year before the final product shipped?  

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

They should have full Beta tests with a very small group like 1,000 players tops to test the game for weeks even months vs have a fake 100k  people test just to see if the servers are on.

Truth_Hurts_U
Truth_Hurts_U

It happened with BF3 and 4... You knew of the issues... Yet you still released the games. So changing anything other then ship date isn't going to do anything for your broken games.

Hagan
Hagan

that's a flat out lie saying that many of the issues were only XB1 and PS4, that game breaking one hit kill bug was everywhere. I'm not buying this $60 BF4 mod, when the game that was released 8ish months ago still doesn't work properly (last time I checked, but I haven't played the game since February)

archav3n
archav3n

This Andew Wilson.. He knows what he's talking. Saw his E3 presentations. He got leadership there. Will see how he change the worst company. The next contender of course, Ubisoft.

bldgirsh
bldgirsh

They suggested Early Access... They don't care about the game just about the profits.

alenth
alenth

@lonesamurai1 They won't, after the success of the CTE, I can see better quality for any that comes from DICE.

notman
notman

@PlatinumPaladin yep, and they are going to halt work on all other projects, until bf4 is meeting expectations. I'm still waiting for my expectations to be reached, yet I see all these dlcs and other games 

leandrro
leandrro

@DarkLord ive noticed that in bf4 only mantle make the game crash because it tryies to use more than 2gb of Vram, on bf hardline it crashes for this reason on both dx11 and mantle, so i cant use ultra textures, its a downgrade in product quality

other problem is that Vram usage keeps going up when you load a different map, if we had many maps it would be crashing like hell on both mantle and dx11

grenadehh
grenadehh

@TheIfym20 Considering visceral, an actually competent developer made it, this is what i expected.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

@Techtroll He smells the cash pile around the corner, and leaves his cave to check it out.

Baconelite
Baconelite

@Razor10000 Compared to BF4 he is right. I'm starting to think that BF4 was a beta for BFH. 5 months ahead of it's release and it's already much smoother than BF4 at release and 2 months after.

themc_7
themc_7

@spenta exactly, nowadays a beta is a demo. Released way to late to actually make any real changes.

seanwil545
seanwil545

@spenta 

I was just thinking the same.

This is why some people called the Titanfall "Beta" a Demo. Sure, they found some networking issues, but certainly there was not enough time to make any code changes.