Battlefield Hardline Delayed So EA Could Add "More Innovation," CEO Says

"We moved it because we thought that more innovation could go in the game," Andrew Wilson explains.

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Electronic Arts delayed Battlefield Hardline to early 2015 because it wanted to bring "more innovation" to the Visceral Games-developed shooter, according to CEO Andrew Wilson.

"We moved it because we thought there was more innovation that could go in the game," Wilson said this week during the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco. He went on to explain that feedback gathered from the beta factored into EA's decision to push the game to 2015.

Wilson said Battlefield Hardline's beta players said things like, "'Yeah, we like this. This whole cops and criminals things is cool, but we think you could be doing things more differently.'"

When Battlefield Hardline's delay was officially announced in July, DICE's Karl Magnus Troedsson explained that feedback from the beta pushed the company to "start thinking about other possibilities and ways we could push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better."

Both single-player and multiplayer will benefit from the game's delay, Troedsson said previously. For multiplayer, Visceral Games plans to add "some new feature ideas direct from the community that will evolve the cops and criminals fantasy into a truly unique Battlefield multiplayer experience." On the single-player side, Visceral plans to use the extra months of development to spend "more time polishing our core features, as well as adding a few new ones that will support a deeper 'crime revenge' story experience."

Going back to Wilson, he said during the conference that whenever EA starts development on a new project, it asks itself: "What are you doing that's completely new or what are you doing in a completely new way?" The company then thinks about how this will "translate into fun." Introducing new gameplay ideas, along with ensuring a game is as bug-free as possible, will make a title shine, Wilson said.

Some times delays are necessary, Wilson says
Some times delays are necessary, Wilson says

"If you look at Metacritic or you look at review scores, the games that review highest, both at a critic level and and a consumer level, are the games that get that balance [innovation vs. polish] right," he said.

Battlefield Hardline was not the only high-profile game EA delayed this summer, as the company also pushed back BioWare's role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition. This delay, which was only a month, was necessary to "get rid of the bugs," Wilson said.

"So the two decisions that we've made in the last few months, one around driving innovation, one around driving polish; both with the ultimate goal of quality," he said.

Finally, during Wilson's GamesBeat talk this week, he said EA's focus on innovation and polish is all part of the company's effort to establish a "player-first" culture back inside the company, suggesting that the firm had previously lost its way. Wilson said his job as EA CEO is create a culture where developers think about the gamer as the "most important person" when designing new titles.

"I really wanted to get back to that for the company and really start to think about how do we build relationships with those players," he said.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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