1 Have a vision
We have a high-level goal for each mode for Hotwire, for instance, our vision was high-speed pursuit. We wanted to capture the thrill of films such as Gone in 60 Seconds. Every time we made changes we went back to see if it was pushing us in the direction we wanted the mode to go in.
2 Pick a form
Traditional, symmetrical modes are preferable its much easier for the players to get their head around the rules, as everyones doing the same thing no matter what side theyre on. But sometimes asymmetrical gameplay can capture a theme more faithfully. When I think about cops and robbers, I think of Heat and Die Hard, and asymmetrical modes can deliver that fantasy so much better.
3 Crowdsource ideas
If you break down what Hotwire actually is, its Conquest with moving capture points. That idea came from a collaborative design meeting where we invited everyone. This idea came up, and we thought, Lets try it!.
4 Break the rules
We went through ten iterations of Hotwire. We were convinced at first asymmetrical was the way to go because why would a cop want to steal a car? But actually the symmetrical version worked a lot better, because all everyone wanted to do was steal cars and drive around. We decided it made most sense to rewrite the fantasy to fit the games form; now the police are repossessing the cars.
5 Feedback is crucial
We originally had a mechanic in Heist where youd slow down once you picked up the bag we wanted to giveyour teammates a chance to catch up with you, and the idea was that youd feel really cool. But in playtesting, players hated it they found it frustrating and we learned that people were actively avoiding the bag.
6 Plan maps carefully
Our maps have to be fun both on foot and in a vehicle. Thats challenging, but working with DICE on BF3taught us a lot about how maps should be paced out. Infantry arent going to want to run 300m to capture Point F. So we build into our maps what we call infantry honeypots a cluster of capture points within 100m that are easily within the reach of on-foot soldiers. Theyre surrounded by more sparse areas for vehicles.
7 Create strategic openings
At the edge of these honeypots, theres opportunity for tactical warfare. Infantry can use these as ambush points, but if the defending team arent properly organised, you can just storm in with a tank.
8 Dont force design...
Hotwire works best in maps with long, straight roads, and large, expansive areas. Because of that, it cant support all of the maps. Were not going to try to force a mode to play nice with a map that doesnt work.
9 ...or the player
We thought, Why dont we let players get to choose what they want to play with first? Wouldnt that encourage them to explore more instead of making them do something they didnt want to do?. Thats the origin of our flexible progression system, which lets you hone in on the things you want to do.
10 Beta is best
Public betas give us all the data we could want to make sure weve got the weapon balancing right. Its a chance to see how our creations work in real-world situations.