The upcoming release of “Battlefield 4” is a pretty big deal to gamers. VGChartz reports “Battlefield 4” rested comfortably atop the pre-order charts for the upcoming PS4 as of the end of August. One of the more discussed and advertised elements of “Battlefield 4” is “levolution,” a term the developer Dice has been keen to use as many times as possible. So, what is “levolution,” and is it here to stay?
Levolution Levolutionizes Levels
Levolution is a term that was thrown around a lot at E3, and the “Battlefield 4” dev blog uses it frequently as a noun, verb and adjective. In the simplest terms, levolution allows you to destroy large-scale objects and alter the flow of the level. This adds a dynamic element to multiplayer combat, as the field of combat is something that constantly needs to be assessed by players on both sides of a battle.
Levolution includes dynamic elements that alter the basics of game play in a level. Players can ride elevators, trip metal detectors and trigger car alarms, inadvertantly revealing one’s location. Fire extinguishers can be shot to release a cloud of smoke for cover, and windows, monitors, cubicle walls and statues can all be shattered or shot to pieces. Perhaps the most impressive execution of the levolution concept can be seen in Dice’s “Battlefield 4” E3 presentation. A skyscraper’s support structure is exploded, reducing the structure to a heap of rubble that radically alters the level, as seen on MTV Multiplayer.
Some effects of levolution are more subtle or ambient. A tropical storm can descend on a calm beach level and create obscuring clouds of saltwater, wind and rain. Shooting out a few lights can drastically improve your chances of getting the drop on an enemy in a darkened space, and occasionally, totally new paths can be created with carefully executed operations.
Fad or Fun
Destructible environments might, at first, seem like a fad. However, they aren’t new. Back in 2001, THQ released a first-person shooter called “Red Faction” that used what it called “geo-mod” technology. Geo-mod stood for “geometry modification” and basically, was a buzzword to describe the player’s ability to alter and destroy some elements of the scenery in game. For example, rather than open a door, a player could blow a hole in the wall alongside it. These unscripted level-altering elements made “Red Faction” stand out among many other forgettable first-person shooter games. “Red Faction” had several sequels, but after geo-mod tech failed to spark the imaginations of gamers following “Red Faction: Armageddon,” the franchise went silent. Does this bode ill for the levolution fad?
Hardly. VG247 reports Volition’s Jim Boone would like “Battlefield 4” developer Dice to resurrect the “Red Faction” series, citing their understanding of destructibility and the compromises designers need to make to have a functioning game. The idea of a destructible, nonscripted experience in first-person shooter games is something players have craved for more than a decade, and Dice is pursuing what “Red Faction” gamers had just a taste of then.
While levolution might be a grating buzzword to some, it signifies an interesting and engaging new development in the way first-person shooters will evolve over the next generation of consoles. Dice has confirmed that “Battlefield 4,” available now for pre-order through Origin, will be released for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on Oct. 29, and next-generation console versions will be available by the end of the year.
Screenshot by Flickr user tbiley
Bobby builds custom gaming PCs during the day and plays his own at night. He loves writing about the latest gaming hardware.