We've known for several days that EA would unveil a new chapter in the Battlefield universe at E3 2014, but the company has done more than that -- it also launched a surprise beta test for the upcoming Battlefield Hardline. The new game will be an urban cops-and-robbers shootout that drops players into the boots of either side in a more limited form of combat that's likely to focus on closer quarters and tighter objectives than the BF4 maps, some of which are sprawling affairs.
The big surprise of E3 was that EA is launching a new closed beta program for PS4 and PC players that you can register for immediately. There are a limited number of slots available and getting in isn't guaranteed. EA doesn't ask for any details on system configuration or operating system beyond requiring that you have at least Windows 7 or a PS4, so head over now if you want a shot at getting into the game.
Cops and robbers could actually open up the game to a variety of dynamic chase-and-capture play types, but EA has played with coy with certain details. We know the title will have a Heist Mode, Rescue Mode, Hotwire Mode, and Bloodmoney Mode, but exactly which vehicles, weapons, and tactics will be available are all still in flux. Other details, like the maximum number of players per map, have yet to be confirmed. Tighter, smaller maps could actually be an advantage in this case; 64-player mayhem doesn't necessarily make much sense when talking about a game that puts local cops in conflict with armed robbers.
Also unconfirmed is whether this new Battlefield game will support AMD's Mantle. We know Dragon Age Inquisition is supposed to be Mantle-enabled, but support in Frostbite titles appears to be on a case-by-case basis. AMD's Mantle support page only lists one Frostbite 3 title (BF4).
Battlefield Hardline is due out on October 21, 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC. It's rumored to have been in development since 2012, having kicked off a year before Dead Space 3 shipped.