Frostbite (game engine)
|Initial release||June 2008|
|Written in||C++, C#|
Frostbite is a game engine developed by DICE, designed for cross-platform use on Microsoft Windows, seventh generation game consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, eighth generation game consoles PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch and ninth generation game consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, in addition to usage in the cloud streaming service Google Stadia.
The game engine was originally employed in the Battlefield video game series, but would later be expanded to other first-person shooter video games and a variety of other genres. To date, Frostbite has been exclusive to video games published by Electronic Arts.
Frostbite 1 and 1.5
The first iteration of the Frostbite game engine made its debut in the 2008 video game, Battlefield: Bad Company. The engine was developed with an HDR Audio and Destruction 1.0. HDR Audio allowed differing sound levels to be perceived by the player whilst Destruction 1.0 allowed players to destroy the environment. A newer version of Frostbite would later be employed in Battlefield 1943 (2009) and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010), which would come to be known as Frostbite 1.5. In the upgraded game engine, it was now possible for players to cause enough destruction to entirely demolish structures. This version was also employed in the multiplayer aspect of Medal of Honor (2010), becoming the first video game outside of the Battlefield series to run on Frostbite.
On 25 October 2011, Frostbite 2 made its debut in Battlefield 3. Frostbite 2 features powerful upgrades such as deferred rendering and real-time radiosity. Also making its debut was Destruction 3.0, which made falling debris potentially lethal to the player. Further changes to the engine included the addition of suppressive fire and disabling vehicles before destroying them. For the first time in a game that was not a shooter nor developed by DICE, Frostbite was brought to the Need for Speed series with 2011's Need for Speed: The Run, which was released on 15 November. It took a year for EA Black Box, the developer of Need for Speed: The Run, to re-purpose the game engine for driving instead of shooting. On 21 May 2012, DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson said that future personal computer video games running on Frostbite would have to be played on 64-bit operating systems. On 23 October, Medal of Honor: Warfighter became the first game of its series to feature Frostbite in both single and multiplayer. On 26 March 2013, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel became the first third-person shooter and last video game to employ Frostbite 2.
In March 2013, Battlefield executive producer Patrick Bach announced that Frostbite 3 would not support the Wii U, saying that "the Wii U is not a part of our focus right now." The third generation of Frostbite made its debut in Battlefield 4 on 29 October. In the updated engine, the environments became much more dynamic upon the actions of the players and Destruction 4.0, which was known as Levolution in Battlefield 4. On one map of Battlefield 4, it was possible for players to destroy a dam, causing the entire map to be flooded by water. On 13 November in San Jose, Andersson announced that future Frostbite games and an updated version of Battlefield 4 would be powered by Mantle, a low-overhead rendering API co-developed by AMD and DICE. However, due to lack of interest and support, Mantle was phased out, with 2015's Battlefield Hardline being the last game to implement it. On 15 November, Need for Speed Rivals became the second game of its series to use the game engine and the first since the upgrade to Frostbite 3.
First released on 19 August 2014, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare became the first game of its series to run on Frostbite. On 18 November, the game engine made its debut in the action role-playing genre of video games with Dragon Age: Inquisition. On 17 March 2015, Battlefield Hardline became the second game of its series to run on Frostbite 3. On 14 July, the game engine was introduced to the sports genre of video games, being put to use on Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. In November, Need for Speed and Star Wars Battlefront were both released under Frostbite, the 2016 Rogue One X-Wing VR Mission expansion exclusive to the PlayStation VR being the first VR title to use the engine.
On 23 February 2016, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was released on the game engine. On 7 June, Mirror's Edge Catalyst became the first action-adventure game to run on Frostbite. On 27 September, the game engine debuted on the FIFA video game series, being employed on FIFA 17. Only the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions of the game and future installments will run on Frostbite; the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, in addition to the Nintendo Switch version, do not use the engine, which also meant the exclusion of The Journey campaign from those editions. On 21 October, Battlefield 1 became the third title of its series to be released under the third generation of the game engine.
On 21 March 2017, Mass Effect: Andromeda was released on Frostbite. Madden NFL 18, the first of its series to be released on Frostbite, was released on 25 August 2017. On 29 September, FIFA 18 was released on the game engine, but the Nintendo Switch version of the game and its subsequent installments will not run on Frostbite. On 10 November, Need for Speed Payback was released, running on the game engine. On 17 November, Star Wars Battlefront II was the last game of 2017 to be released on Frostbite. 2018's Battlefield V runs on the Frostbite 3 engine. In 2019, Frostbite games included Anthem, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, and Need for Speed Heat, alongside the yearly Madden NFL and FIFA installments.
In 2020, Star Wars: Squadrons is the second VR-compatible game to run on Frostbite, the PC version of the game bringing VR support on PC to the engine. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of FIFA 21, released 4 December 2020, feature graphical enhancements to take advantage of the newer hardware. In 2020, FIFA 21 is one of two Frostbite games to receive major enhancements for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S, with Star Wars: Squadrons receiving support for high frame rates and 4K, alongside visual improvements.
In February 2021, following the announcement of a Nintendo Switch version of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, Frostbite will run on a Nintendo console for the first time. Prior to the game's production, Switch support was added into the Frostbite engine. The 2021 installment of the NHL series, NHL 22, runs on Frostbite (compared to the Ignite engine used in previous installments), bringing it to that series for the first time.
As of 2021, new installments of EA Sports titles will continue to use Frostbite 3, with Madden NFL 22 and FIFA 22 being the latest titles to utilize it; the only exception to this is the Nintendo Switch versions of FIFA installments, which run on Ignite, and are being released as "Legacy Editions".
Issues with complexity
Frostbite is notorious for having well-publicized difficulties, including its complexity. This led to development issues involving two BioWare games and Battlefield 2042.
In 2019, sources within BioWare claimed that Frostbite's complexity had also contributed to difficulties surrounding Anthem's development. Former BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn acknowledged these issues in an interview in November 2019.
Due to being developed in 15 months, developers of DICE's Battlefield 2042 had issues with Frostbite.
Games using Frostbite
|Anthem||22 February 2019||BioWare||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel||26 March 2013||Visceral Games||2.0||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield 1||21 October 2016||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Battlefield 3||25 October 2011||EA Digital Illusions CE||2.0||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield 4||29 October 2013||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Battlefield V||20 November 2018||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Battlefield 1943||8 July 2009||EA Digital Illusions CE||1.5||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield 2042||19 November 2021||EA Digital Illusions CE||4.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Battlefield: Bad Company||23 June 2008||EA Digital Illusions CE||1.0||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield: Bad Company 2||2 March 2010||EA Digital Illusions CE||1.5||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam||18 December 2010||EA Digital Illusions CE||1.5||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Battlefield Hardline||21 March 2015||Visceral Games||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Command & Conquer||Cancelled||Victory Games||3.0||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Dead Space||2022||Motive Studios||3.0||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Dragon Age: Inquisition||18 November 2014||BioWare||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|FIFA 17||27 September 2016||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|FIFA 18||29 September 2017||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|FIFA 19||28 September 2018||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|FIFA 20||24 September 2019||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|FIFA 21||9 October 2020||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|FIFA 22||27 September 2021||EA Vancouver||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Madden NFL 18||25 August 2017||EA Tiburon||3.0||No||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Madden NFL 19||9 August 2018||EA Tiburon||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Madden NFL 20||2 August 2019||EA Tiburon||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Madden NFL 21||28 August 2020||EA Tiburon||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Madden NFL 22||20 August 2021||EA Tiburon||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Mass Effect: Andromeda||21 March 2017||BioWare||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Medal of Honor (multiplayer)||12 October 2010||EA Digital Illusions CE||1.5||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Medal of Honor: Warfighter||23 October 2012||Danger Close Games||2.0||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Mirror's Edge Catalyst||7 June 2016||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed||3 November 2015||Ghost Games||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed Heat||8 November 2019||Ghost Games||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed Payback||10 November 2017||Ghost Games||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed Rivals||15 November 2013||Ghost Games||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed: Edge||10 December 2017||EA Spearhead||3.0||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Need for Speed: The Run||15 November 2011||EA Black Box||2.0||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|NHL 22||12 October 2021||EA Vancouver||3.0||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville||18 October 2019||PopCap Games||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare||25 February 2014||PopCap Games||3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2||23 February 2016||PopCap Games||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Rory McIlroy PGA Tour||14 July 2015||EA Tiburon||3.0||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Star Wars Battlefront||17 November 2015||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Star Wars Battlefront II||17 November 2017||EA Digital Illusions CE||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Star Wars: Squadrons||2 October 2020||Motive Studios||3.0||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
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