Battlefield: Hardline‘s release might have slipped into 2015, but that didn’t stop Visceral Games general manager Steve Papoutsis from stepping up on stage at Gamescom 2014 to share a first look at the game’s single player campaign. The 12-minute chunk of footage above gives a sense of how Visceral has set out to evolve the series’ approach to story. And say what you will of Battlefield’s troubles in recent years, but this peek is quite promising.
Protagonist Nick Mendoza and his pal(?) Marcus Boone are undercover and meeting with an underworld contact in the desert. The situation immediately goes off the rails when said contact pulls a gun on the two men, who have been outed by a female friend of Boone’s. It’s a standard-issue setup cutscene that ends with Mendoza and Boone being carted off to an underground lockup, from which they promptly escape.
The series of stealth and combat sequences that follow offer a nice summation of the open-ended approach that Visceral is taking with Hardline‘s campaign. Papoutsis told Digital Trends in a recent interview that replay value in the upcoming game’s story, which plays out in a series of TV-style “episodes,” comes from the way you approach each scenario. That certainly seems to bear out here.
While the early escape section of the demo boils down to a “stealth vs. gunfight” scenario, the final bit, in which Mendoza and Boone infiltrate an enemy compound, offers multiple approaches. If you’re familiar with the Crysis games, it’s a similar setup. Mendoza and Boone exit the underground facility to find themselves on a bluff overlooking the compound. Using the game’s new scanner gadget, Mendoza zooms in to tag enemies and other points of interest, one of which is a high-value target who can be arrested for bonus cash. After staking out the compound from this vantage point, a number of different approaches are apparent.
The demo goes on to show off the “freeze” feature that allows Mendoza to subdue and arrest hostiles that aren’t on alert. We also get to see some grappling hook and zipline action, as well as some good old-fashioned Battlefield gunplay, complete with destructible cover. There’s every reason to be skeptical of Battlefield: Hardline given the series’ recent track record, but Visceral appears to be on a good path for the campaign at least.
Papoutsis also revealed two new multiplayer modes for the game, both of which are playable at Gamescom. “Hotwire” is meant to capture the thrill of high speed chases, with teams of cops and crooks racing around and trying to take out marked vehicles. “Rescue” is an eSports-focused game mode built around 5v5, single-spawn play, with a team of cops trying to extract a hostage protected by a team of crooks.
Here’s some footage of Rescue in action: