DICE aims to make Battlefield 4 look as handsome as possible on every platform available - and is accordingly braced for criticism, as fans pick up on the inevitable discrepancies between different versions of the game. Speaking to OXM at the British Academy Of Film & Television Arts centre in London yesterday, the franchise's executive producer Patrick Bach predicted that some players would "nag" the developer over the details, but insisted that DICE would never compromise for the sake of graphical parity.
Battlefield games have always lent themselves to controversy along these lines, thanks to DICE's continuing obsession with photorealism, which is obviously dependent on the fidelity the supporting hardware is capable of. As an Xbox One and PS4 launch title, Battlefield 4 may be held to a particularly exacting standard. (You might want to read our Xbox One hardware guide for Microsoft's own thoughts on how developers could make use of the console's beefed-up CPU, RAM allocation and GPU.)
"It's interesting you bringing that up," Bach mused, when I asked whether balancing expectations was tricky. "It gives me a flashback to Battlefield 3. We had that problem even back before the next gen consoles, where we made a game that looked amazing on the PC - the better the PC, the better that game looked - and then you had a game that looked amazing on PS3 and Xbox 360, but it didn't look as good as on PC, and people kept nagging us about that.
"It was like, you should compare it to other games on the same platform. And people said, 'OK but still - why doesn't it look as good as on PC? You don't care about the consoles.' Well, we're pushing your hardware as hard as we can, and I'm quite certain that we'll get that this summer as well - because we are pushing the PC, we're pushing the Xbox One and we're pushing the PS4, and also making sure that the Xbox 360 and PS3 software looks amazing, way better than it did for Battlefield 3.
"People will still bring it up," he went on. "We'll still get the comparison videos, where somebody will judge us based on that, rather than comparing us to other games on the platforms. You could take the coward's way out, and just set the bar at Xbox 360 and PS3, and make it so that all games look the same on all platforms, but that's not who we are. We want to do our best with the hardware."
As with Battlefield 3, DICE recommends that you install a hefty wodge of Battlefield 4 content to your Xbox 360 hard drive for the "best possible experience". There's a 2 GB mandatory install, plus a 12.4 GB optional install comprising 6.6 GB of single player content, and 5.8 GB multiplayer content.
For a sense of how the results may differ on current gen platforms, check out the below Battlefield 3 with/without HD textures comparison video. As regards how it plays, here are my greatest feats and lowest moments in Battlefield 4 so far.
Buying it? Or has something else caught your eye? I've put together a feature on which Xbox One launch game you should buy first - in terms of visuals, at least, it's a toss-up between this and Forza Motorsport 5.