You’ve seen them. Ads plastered all over television during football, South Park, and really anything with a male slant for the onslaught of big franchise video games releasing over the next month. Tops on the list may be the latest Call of Duty game, but leading the charge for buzz over this last year has been the fourth installment of rival first-person shooter Battlefield. The game is its own, featuring destructible environments, vehicular warfare, and a DICE brand Frostbite engine that really brings a ‘wow’ factor that the competition struggles to match.
All of that is to be expected though as these were all features of Battlefield 3. One thing was missing though, and that was a strong single-player element. The game’s campaign mode was one of the more brooding topics last go around and the developer knew it. Unless they did something drastic to resolve ongoing flaws with story and mechanics, the property would forever feel incomplete. While the game has not released just yet and reviews as of this post remain ‘curtained,’ we can at least say issue number one has been fixed as the developer has hired an established writer to draft the compelling narrative highlighted in the game’s recently-released story trailer.
The gig went to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 & 2 scribe Jesse Stern who may or may not be a familiar name to NCIS aficionados as he co-produces the CBS series. Funny, right? That this is the guy who broke into game writing with the rival IP? Well, it is not as crazy as it seems. EA did not go hunting to steal him, nor did DICE. It came at the recommendation of Respawn Entertainment founder Jason West who worked on those Call of Duty games via Infinity Ward before a very public fallout with publisher Activision. Simply put, he was talking shop with the folks at Battlefield over how to do contemporary shooters and Stern’s name was dropped. We learned the specifics of that via the man’s interview with Paul Semel where he added the following:
“They wanted something that was more linear for Battlefield 4, something more cinematic, and they asked Jason how they had done it with the Modern Warfare games. Jason’s always very nice to me, and always gives me more credit than I deserve, so he told them everything they had done, and then said, ‘And we had Jesse.’ To which the DICE guys said, ‘Who the hell is Jesse?’
Now, it is worth noting now that Stern will also get a credit on Respawn’s first game launching in March of 2014 under the title Titanfall. The IP’s debut is expected to sell at least 10 million copies via Xbox and PC platforms, meaning that Jesse’s screenwriting prowess is making him into one of the video game industry’s more notable behind-the-scenes talents. If history is to be our guide, blockbuster filmmaking might be the next step in his career, following what we are seeing with Bioshock Infinite’s Ken Levine who is currently working on Logan’s Run for Warner Bros.