Earlier this month, Electronic Arts announced they would be halting all development on future Battlefield 4 projects as they ironed out kinks with the core game. Now, it looks like AMD’s Mantle rollout may be affected as well.
Back when AMD’s Mantle was first announced, its potential ability to streamline interactions between a game and a PC’s graphics subsystem had nearly everyone excited. The poster child for it was supposed to be the ultra popular Battlefield 4 which not only has some of the best graphics around but also happens to have a cult following of die-hard fans. It seemed to be a match made in heaven.
Initially, a so-called “Mantle patch” was to be rolled out in December but with the days before year end quickly ticking away, some have started to wonder what happened to AMD’s game-changing development ecosystem. We picked up on some rumblings about exactly that not long after BF4 launched and decided to follow up on them.
After digging through our contact list, a multitude of well-placed game industry sources have been repeating the same thing since mid-November: due to the well-deserved backlash from gamers over numerous issues, EA and DICE have circled the wagons around BF4’s core components in an effort to fix what’s broken. This means Mantle has, for the time being at least, been put on a back burner and delayed. Indeed, when EA spilled the beans about their intentions towards the franchise and upcoming expansions, the writing was on the wall.
The problems with Battlefield 4 are well publicized; from crashes to server issues to data corruption, the list seems endless. If anything, EA knows that alienating their core audience with yet another debacle (SimCity anyone?) would be akin to slowly killing the goose which lays the golden egg. So, steps were taken to fix what was broken even if that meant sacrificing several side projects.
This unfortunate situation doesn’t necessarily preclude an eventual release of a BF4 Mantle patch this year but it has delayed its implementation beyond an optimal, attention-garnering date. You see, the days between Christmas and New Years aren’t the best time to introduce a potentially game-changing technology since very few folks are paying attention to the news tickers. However, money may end up being the deciding factor here since AMD pumped some serious resources into BF4’s PC development and is still counting on Mantle to become an integral part of the game’s forward progress.
After discussions with all parties involved, we haven’t been able to get a clear, official statement of where Mantle stands in relation to Battlefield 4 but one thing is certain: AMD is dead set on getting Mantle purring like a well oiled engine. The silence regarding an official rollout date is telling though.
There is a very real concern that when Mantle is eventually rolled into Battlefield 4 sometime down the line, it may be too late to really make a difference. Nonetheless, with Rebellion (Sniper Elite v3), Eidos (Thief), Cloud Imperium Games (Star Citizen) and several other A-list developers all signing on to use Mantle, there should be little doubt that it will begin flexing its muscles very soon.