DICE has revealed new details on Battlefield 4's Commander Mode, explaining how Commanders will be able to highlight dangers to the rest of their team and its inspiration from Grand Theft Auto.
"We went through a thorough process of updating and perfecting Commander Mode, keeping the core ideas and feel from BF2 while bringing it into the modern gaming era," DICE explained on the Battlefield Blog.
"In Battlefield 4, one of Lead Multiplayer Designer Thomas Andersson's main goals was to create more Commander vs. Commander gameplay (similar to what can be seen in RTS games) than we've had before in the series. We also wanted to make it accessible on many platforms. When we had the technology to do real-time 3D and bring the hectic Battlefield to the Commander's screen, we knew we wanted to focus on that and give the Commander live feedback on his actions in-game. More importantly, we wanted the Commander to be able to see his teams' actions so the Commander could better support them."
DICE explains that there are two ecosystems/gameplay loops running side-by-side when players choose to play as the Commander; one allowing them to provide bonuses and deploy assets to their squad, and another letting them call in missile strikes, the AC-130 and scan the map once objectives are obtained by their team.
"On top of these you always have a basic palette of assets available to support your ground troops," says DICE. "This basic palette includes UAVs for scanning and EMPs (jamming), as well as the Cruise Missile Warning, which designates an area where the enemy missile will strike, allowing your friendly troops to move out of harm's way before it's too late.
"In addition to this, you'll also be able to designate High Value Targets, useful for pointing out especially dangerous enemies on the battlefield. An enemy on a kill streak of six or more will appear on the Commander's screen as a selectable unit. This player's location can be relayed to the entire team for a period of time (45 seconds at the moment). The Commander can add this aspect to a game where most players will shift focus for a while and hunt/protect this HVT player, as both teams are alerted about this Commander "promotion" when it happens. The attackers will receive additional bonuses when taking out said target, while the target will receive bonuses when performing kills while being HVT - thus both parties have something to gain from this."
The High Value Targets system has been inspired in part by GTA's wanted system, DICE says.
"GTA's classic 'wanted stars' system is what we used as an inspiration for this," the post continues. "We think the highly skilled players will accept this challenge as the ultimate proof of becoming a lethal threat on the battlefield. As far as personal favorites go, the High Value Target is probably mine for the rush you get when you know that potentially the entire team is after you!"
Unlike Battlefield 2, Commanders will no longer be able to switch between first-person gameplay and Commander Mode, a decision DICE says is "to ensure the Commander is dedicated to supporting the whole team, not just themselves".
"We can't wait for you to try Commander Mode. This feature is where all systems in the game meet, collide and join forces. I sat down and realized that the only discipline missing from the mix is probably AI - everything else from graphics, sound, scripting, networking, etc. is involved. The challenge is to align all these disciplines and make sure they all push for the same goal - the best Commander in BF!"
Battlefield 4's Commander Mode will be available in both the console and PC versions, with further functionality on second-screen devices. For more details on how it all works, head through to the Battlefield Blog.
Battlefield 4 launches on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on November 1, with a special Double XP Launch Weekend set to kick things off. Xbox One and PS4 versions are expected to release later that month.