Pre-release beta tests led EA to believe that Battlefield 4 was ready to ship, the publisher has said, with problems allegedly only arriving once the game had launched.
Discussing the game's post-launch issues during EA's Q3 FY14 briefing last night, executive VP of EA Games Patrick Soderlund described the development of Battlefield 4 as being "very complex", due to launching on two new consoles in addition to current-gen and PC.
"We were pushing innovation heavily and we're delivering 60 frames per second gameplay for 64 players plus the ability to connect via mobile tablet as a commander into the product, coupled those with some very innovative features in the gameplay side," he said.
"Based on our prelaunch testing, our beta performance, we were confident the game was ready when it was launched.
"Shortly after launch, however, we began hearing about problems from our player community, and the development team quickly began to address the situation. So what have we done since we encountered the problems is we were fortunate to have an architecture in place that allows us to adjust and update the game rapidly, and that's actually what we've done. We released multiple software updates across all platforms to resolve the primary issues and game stability has significantly increased."
Soderlund stresses that the situation surrounding Battlefield 4 was unique, however, with the challenges the publisher faced being "different from anything that we've seen before with other games".
"There were different issues that only manifest its scale in the post-launch live environment," he continued. "We're taking multiple steps to evaluate what occurred and incorporate those learnings into our development process for future products, so we don't experience the same problems again. I would close on the fact that Battlefield 4 remains an amazing game with massive innovation, and we're confident that gamers will be logging on to play for a long time to come."
Despite Soderlund's comments, though, earlier comments from DICE suggest that the studio wasn't always confident in its ability to hit the next-gen console launches.
Back in October, Battlefield 4's executive producer Patrick Bach revealed that there were times when the developer considered delaying Battlefield 4 beyond the next-gen launch.
"I think people might not grasp how hard that is, to develop a game at the same time as the hardware," he said. "We've been struggling quite a lot to keep up with the changes we've seen - both sides need to adapt and you end up being late. Everything is very complicated. Battlefield itself is a really complicated game, so it doesn't make our lives any easier.
"So we knew we'd set ourselves a tough challenge, but people on the outside seem to think that because there are going to be launch titles, it's easy. What are we spending all our time doing? They don't understand how hard it is!
"Talking about [the] Watch_Dogs [delay], I don't blame them, there are times when we've considered doing the same thing - luckily we've overcome those hurdles and thought about what the game actually is on the next gen. We've had an excellent team working that out at the same time as the game itself, which is a big struggle. We can see that a lot of the next gen games coming are, arguably, lesser when it comes to the scope of features because of this problem."
A new patch for Battlefield 4 is expected to hit all platforms any time between now and early February, with details on a further patch to follow next month.