For all of their audacious set-pieces and tremendous explosions, the last couple of Battlefield games were unambitious in the telling of their campaigns. They featured solemn soldiers in a desperate struggle to be victorious against the same threats we've been fighting since the birth of the modern military shooter. Battlefield Hardline is about a war between cops and criminals – not nations – and that frees it up to be more experimental and, if Visceral can pull it off, more fun.
A new development diary from the Visceral team reveals how Hardline's campaign will work. Its story has been split into ten episodes, mirroring the structure of a TV cop show. It's even mimicking the form, with a "previously on…" cutscene explaining the events leading up to that episode. While the campaign won't be episodic in the gaming sense – all ten episodes will be included on the disc – it does give Visceral scope to try things not previously possible in a Battlefield game.
In Hardline, you play as Nick Mendoza, a young detective who teams up with a new partner to bring down his corrupt former colleagues. By splitting up the story into episodes, Visceral says the campaign is able to focus more on its characters. That might not sound like an important change, but it's what made Battlefield's Bad Company series so memorable. In fact, Visceral even reference the Bad Company characters, saying that they want to have the same light-hearted humour running through Hardline's story.
Visceral recently rounded up the tools and gadgets (opens in new tab) players will get to use in its campaign levels. In addition to the usual guns and vehicles, you'll be able to non-lethally takedown criminals with a stun gun. Or, if you're looking for some extra cash, a police scanner lets you find enemies with outstanding warrants – gaining a huge bonus if you take them alive. The most powerful tool, though? Visceral says that's your police badge. It will give you the chance to resolve an encounter without ever firing a shot.