Global Battlefield Community Manager talks local BF3 servers and more

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One of the highlights at rAge this year was having the incredible opportunity to interview Daniel Matros. Matros is the global Battlefield community manager at DICE and currently on an adventure exploring what our sunny country has to offer.

While chatting to Matros, I found out that South Africans might finally get to see some local console servers for Battlefield 3 and what DICE’s secret recipe to Battlefield success has been. South Africans have been teased with the thought of local console servers and the idea that MWEB was going to provide them, but nothing ever really came from it. It seems though, that Telkom Do Gaming has something up their sleeves and was part of why Matros was here. Matros visited the Telkom data centre and will now collaborate with EA South Africa to get every one onboard and see what can be done.

Take a look at the interview about trolls, Battlefield 4, competitors to the Battlefield franchise and more.

Being the community manager means dealing with many gamers who choose to have negative attitudes and give criticism in the least possible nice way, does this ever affect you, if so, in what way?

At first it did, you know, you can’t walk around raising people. You can’t raise people on how to be and how to behave. So, you just have to look at the bigger picture. Every one’s going to have an opinion, of you or your game or your company, either way. The most important thing is to not care about it. I mean, you have to take it into account, but, you dominantly have to care about the good comments and the good people around you that give you the positive energy. Because they give you the energy to rethink everything you do.

How do you respond to or handle gamers that choose to act in that manner?

Depends on what mood I am in. No, I mean I’m a person too. Sometimes I troll them back, sometimes I don’t care, sometimes I block them, depends on what mood I am in and depends on what they say.

A bunch of people think that we sit at DICE and we have a big hat and a campfire and we draw all of the features out of a hat that we think are good, it’s not like that. We have a plan and a plan in the studio. We have a vision to do it. It’s difficult making a game. It’s not easy; you have to manage a project, manage the people who manage the project; you have to build the game, build the assets, timeframes and everything, especially in the competitive market we are in now. BF3 being a competitive title and a AAA title, it’s difficult.

DICE has succeeded in providing new titles in succession easily adoptable by competitive players where other franchises have not. For example, here in South Africa the community easily adapted from Bad Company 2 to BF3, in your opinion, what do you think the secret to Battlefield’s success is?

I think it’s because from BF42 onwards, there’s a specific core we have at DICE, a special recipe that we always use for all of our games. They look different, we introduce new things, we innovate with new things, but we always keep a core recipe there. A core recipe would be all our vehicle warfare, team balance, always being able to counter things, that kind of stuff. The counter culture should always be there. I think that’s the secret recipe. If you as a studio release a game and you decide to do everything, you’re going to have everything in this game, you’re going to fail because there’s no studio in the world that can do everything. You have to focus on the details.

Do you think that Battlefield 4 will be a successful competitive title?

We’ll see. We took a huge leap with Battlefield 3, which put us in the position we are in now. We’ve sold like 16 million copies and everything, so, that’s where we are now. We’re just counting on that, counting on our previous experiences.

South Africa currently only has local BF3 PC servers, what would we have to do to obtain console servers for our community?

Well, you flew me down. I was actually at the data centre for Telkom. So me and Ralph Spinks from EA South Africa, we’re talking right now. We’re going to start a thread and try and get Telkom onboard. It’s a third party solution, so, Telkom needs to be satisfied with what they have and what they’re giving us. We have to be satisfied with what they’re giving us. But then you have to go to Microsoft and Sony as well, and see what they say. It’s a very big project.

Basing a server count on servers is usually what we do and we might have to go and re-evaluate how many active console players South Africa Actually has. I’m not in on the RSP debate right now and will take a look when I get back home. I’m thinking you guys have increased a lot since Bad Company 2, so there’s definitely a valid investigation.

Do you see Medal of Honor Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as serious contenders to the Battlefield franchise?

That depends on who you ask, but now you’re asking me, so, no. I think it’s good that the market is getting versatile in giving the experience. Battlefield is different from Call of Duty; Call of Duty is very different from Battlefield. Medal of Honor is not exactly Battlefield or Call of Duty.

Every one’s getting a different type of experience and I think no matter what any one says, I mean, I wish them the best of luck, seriously, I really wish them the best of luck, because if they do well the gaming industry does well, if we do well the industry does well. Look at it as, of course they are competitors, but if you always look at your competitors you’re going to lose your own race.

What set’s Battlefield apart from other first-person-shooters?

Everything, I would say, basically, everything. Any game needs to be unique; any game needs to be innovating in what they do. We’ve got Assassin’s Creed as the whole sandbox free-roaming thing, they’re doing that amazing. We’ve got Call of Duty which is good for quick pick up games, Gears of War with a unique storyline and all that kind of stuff if you’re into that, World of Warcraft obviously is the biggest MMO in the world.

If you asked some one else the same question they would probably say Battlefield a lot of vehicle warfare, huge maps, destruction, great sound, animation system (maybe not in that much detail), but yeah, that what we’re focusing on and that’s our core value, if you lose that core value and you switch over to looking at the competition, if we took away our dedicated servers, if we did not invest as much in sound or the graphics engine, we wouldn’t succeed. We would just be any other title out there. For the amount of money you put in to have a AAA title you would go bankrupt after two million copies, you’ve got to sell more than eight million to not go bankrupt. It’s a huge step.

Last Updated: May 8, 2017

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