Battlefield Hardline’s bad guys were almost too likeable

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There can be no job in this world worse than “video game henchman”. Except maybe quality assurance testing on mobile games, but that’s a story for another day. Think about it. Your life is predetermined, your dialogue choices are minimal and you have the bullet resistance of wet tissue paper. And unlike that bastard who just shot you, the red goop all over your field of vision isn’t going to magically vanish. Battlefield: Hardline will have plenty of henchmen to mow through. But Visceral almost made some villains that you’ve have felt bad for mowing through.

“I wrote one about this guy getting back together with his ex-girlfriend,” writer Rob Auten explained to Polygon, detailing how bad guys would chatter about gameplay clues and their own personal lives in BF: Hardline.

Someone on the team pointed out that ‘hey idiot, this is someone you are about to shoot in the head, not deliver flowers to,’ so we decided, let’s not go down that route. We had to cut out the dialog and make it more informative. We had to make sure the bad guys felt like bad guys so the player isn’t as emotionally conflicted about the gameplay.

Which kind of ties into the cops and robbers gameplay of Hardline. You are after all, a cop. Excessive force should be a last resort, unless the suspect is African-American and not posing any danger whatsoever and just happens to have accidentally fallen into a lethal neck-restraint technique/hail of bullets. That does of course, make for a boring (Or horrifyingly accurate) game, as reading Miranda rights to suspects will get real real fast. “Part of the cops and robbers fantasy is moving among the bad guys and being in the same room,” said Auten.

So you have an opportunity to hear more from them. In some cases we made them too charming and people felt bad about shooting them or wanted to hang out with them instead of fighting them and that is no good. You don’t want anyone cooler than the player showing up. Players don’t want to feel like they are on the side of the squares, interrupting this cool party of fun guys.

Makes sense. The last thing you want to do is feel bad for these guys that you’re mowing down like they were sub-human obstacles/real estate agents.

Last Updated: March 12, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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