In the latest Battlefield Blog post from Thomas Andersson, he discusses the creation of Levolution (which thankfully evolved from timed events), a little about the types of Levolution, and DICE’s intent on how Levolution will factor into game play. Regarding the internal decisions leading to the creation and naming of Levolution, he writes,
But we soon realized that players much prefer manual control to as great an extent as possible – so we steered down the path of maximizing player interaction with our dynamic content instead. The clearest feedback came from all of the players who tried to blow up the tower in Caspian Border that we talked about in the first blog post.
The name was then changed to Levolution. This is a good opportunity for me to assume full responsibility for the name. Although people think it’s a marketing buzz word, it was created as an internal communication tool during development to – in a very simple way – explain the vision of changing the level as you played. It’s served us well.
Based on his post, DICE appears to have focused on two main types of Levolution: large player-triggered set-pieces, and the smaller environmental interactions.
The design philosophy for the Levolution set-pieces is to not just be happy with the spectacle of it, but make it matter in terms of gameplay as well. There should be pros and cons with a skyscraper coming down so that you have to carefully weigh the consequences of your actions and how it will affect your team. We’ve also tried to make sure the drawbacks to such an event don’t always affect the same type of player (i.e. always affecting pilots, or infantry, etc.).
The triggers for these big events can almost be treated like sub-objectives that some players will want to protect from attacks while others will want to divert some resources to make sure that it happens. Because we love destruction, that’s a very common trigger for the set-pieces – but, for example, you will also be fighting over starting and stopping a countdown to a warhead.
In the post, Thomas briefly discusses details of a not yet revealed map, which we saw a glimpse of in the Levolution trailer shown at Gamescom. It will be an urban map located near a levee, which can be destroyed to flood the streets, changing the vehicle game from land to water within the urban streets.
Another map (which we won’t name just yet) allows you to change an entire urban level from land-based to water-based. At the start teams will have access to various land vehicles that fit an urban environment. But if someone successfully destroys a levee and lets the water pour out, the streets will flood and boats will spawn as reinforcements in place of the land vehicles.
The flooded streets also shake things up for infantry. The raised water level offers some interesting options for positioning on the map, opening up some areas you couldn’t get to before and simultaneously closing off other paths. While the boats control the streets, infantry will have to take to the rooftops for protection. You can also dive underwater, as well as use one-handed gadgets and one-handed weapons while in the water.
This kind of Levolution shows just how important your play-style is. For example, if your team dominates in infantry combat, you’ll want to defend the levee. However, if you’re an expert with the attack boat and deadly in the water, you’re going to give everything you have to take that levee down. To relate to what I said before, the levee turns into a sub-objective for your squad or team based on how you want the game to play out.
Levolution certainly has the possibility to really create a dynamic game that keeps us fans hooked even longer than Battlefield 3 did. Every map will require flexibility in play styles, as well as provide more options for play than BF3 offered. Properly utilizing some forms of Levolution will certainly require quality squad and commander communication as well, so it will be intriguing to see how it plays out on public servers.