SAN FRANCISCO — Electronic Arts is ramping up the drama with its next "Battlefield" game.
The publisher unveiled gameplay footage from the first-person shooter sequel "Battlefield 4" during a Tuesday event coinciding with the 27th annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The footage began with a squad of four U.S. soldiers trapped underwater in a sinking vehicle before flashing back to their fire-fight with Russian militants in the wind-swept capital of Azerbaijan, Baku — beginning in an abandoned school and ending in a crumbling construction site.
The graphics on display during the 17 minutes of footage running on a PC were more photorealistic than previous games in the popular military shoot-'em-up series, hinting at what's to come on Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's rumored Xbox successor.
"It really represents what's possible with a next-generation experience," said EA Labels president Frank Gibeau.
For the title's single-player campaign, the game makers at Swedish developer DICE took a cue from the popular multiplayer mode of 2011's "Battlefield 3," focusing more on open environments, allowing players tactical freedom and giving them more ways to command squad mates.
"Integrating multiplayer features into the single-player experience was a big step for us," said "Battlefield 4" executive producer Patrick Bach. "We looked at how and why you play multiplayer, what's important to you and your friends, and weave that into single player with that tight squad feeling, and also have that be part of the narrative."
The game will be available later this year for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It will also likely be released for next-generation consoles, but that wasn't confirmed at Tuesday's event.
The game makers were equally coy if "Battlefield 4" was influenced by the Pentagon's decision earlier this year to lift its long-standing ban on women serving in combat roles. At the end of Tuesday's presentation, a teaser trailer briefly showed what appeared to be a female soldier interacting with the protagonist.
"We like to look at what's happening topically and in culture," said Gibeau. "It inspires us, and we add it to our story."