Following the official reveal of the Battlefield 5 multiplayer maps, the developers at DICE sat down to discuss the demanding development of the maps featured in the game. According to the developers, the map development process requires lots of playtesting and can sometimes take years to fully develop even a single map.
Development on a map starts with a specific gameplay experience, which the developers then combine with other elements to form a complete map. In the early stages, a rough top-down sketch-up for the map is drawn up and lined with reference photos and labels. The first session of playtesting is essentially soldiers fighting on plains with little to no “purple” cover. Throughout the slow iterative process, more pieces of cover, elevation, and other details are added to the map.
Sometimes large-scale changes are made to maps, such as moving a chunk of one map to an entirely different map, making for a “crazy” experience. “It’s like looking at pictures of when you were a teenager,” says Multiplayer Level Designer Ludvig Kingfors when comparing images of old and new iterations of a map.
As a result of the lengthy and grueling process, developers end up with the best possible version of a map. Upon launch, Battlefield 5 will feature 8 maps from 4 different biomes. The ‘map pairs’ are very different, both in terms of visuals and gameplay.
The developers wanted each map in Battlefield 5 to offer a unique experience. In the case of Operation Norway Fjell 652, the map mixes air combat with infantry, which surprising works out well. While playing the map, infantry players running around the mountain would see planes flying as close as 10 meters to them. These new and unique approaches when developing maps are what make Battlefield 5 an exceptional gameplay experience.