Battlefield 2: Modern Combat – The Jump To Next-Gen

February 15, 2006

In the summer of 2005, Electronic Arts released Battlefield 2 for the PC to critical acclaim. It was and in many ways remains as the premiere multiplayer military combat game to this day. A few months later in October, the company released Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, a conversion of the game for the console market, and while the fan community was predictably split going into the game, the general consensus was that this was yet another feather in the hat for EA. The game featured a terrific single player campaign wherein an innovative hotswapping feature was used so that a player could literally experience the battle through anyone on on their team in the conflict. While the multiplayer offering was not quite as enthralling as the solo campaign, both worked well together to create a cohesive, and altogether enjoyable experience. Now EA is at it again, as they prepare to release Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for the newly released Xbox 360 platform. But how will this five month old game differ when ported to the first next-generation console? We recently sat down with Jeff Gamon, Executive Producer on the project to get his insights into what we can all expect when the game ships in March.

Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us regarding the upcoming Xbox 360 version for Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. I know a lot of us here really enjoyed the game for the current-gen consoles. Were you involved on that project as well?

Thank you, and yes, I was the Producer for the title, and it was a lot of fun to work on. Most of the team from the original game remains intact, since we wanted to keep the people who were already familiar with the game at an intimate level.

How has the experience of developing the game for the Xbox 360 differed from that of developing for the original Xbox or PS2?

There’s a lot that was different, but we tried to leverage the knowledge that we gained while working on the previous version. This was also more about trying to take something that was already complete, and figure out how to make it better, all the while delivering it on a new platform. So it meant working just to get up to speed on the Xbox 360, but also trying to deliver an even deeper, more immersive experience in a very tight timeframe.

In the previous versions, the single player was great, which was great, but it also outshined the somewhat anemic multiplayer component. What has been done to make multiplayer more robust this time around? More modes? Hot swapping in multiplayer games?

It’s interesting, because depending on who you ask, you may get a different response about the single player vs multiplayer. We think we have a very robust experience, one that’s very true to the franchise’s heritage on PC. We also had about a 75% attach rate on Xbox with respect to owners playing online, which was the highest of any console game EA has ever released. That being said, we did continue to tune and balance the experience based on things we found, and issues that fans brought to our attention. I guess it’s just a question of taste, where some people will prefer SP, and others MP.

I guess the biggest question on everyone’s mind is other than prettier graphics and what you have mentioned so far, what has been changed for this latest version?

The single player campaign was re-tooled mission by mission to make it an even better experience. We overhauled the enemy and team AI, and also changed many enemy spawn points to make them more realistic. We also worked to streamline a few areas, such as the menus, and include the content from the A