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Inside Battlefield 4: Controlling the Battle


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With returning veterans as well as newcomers flooding in to the series, we wanted to do a detailed run-down on the console controller options in Battlefield 4. Here are all your available settings — and how you can tweak the controls to fit your play style.

Want your Controls to Resemble Battlefield 3?

Want to play like it’s 2011? Just change your control settings to VETERAN to get a close resemblance to the Battlefield 3 controls.

We’ve heard the feedback from returning Battlefield fans that you miss the control scheme from Battlefield 3. Fear not! If you’re just looking for the quickest way to set the controls to closely resemble those in Battlefield 3, here’s all you need to do (we’re assuming a right-handed player in this example): Hit OPTIONS from the main menu and set all fields (where applicable) to either VETERAN. That’s it! With theses settings made, there will still be a few changes compared to the Battlefield 3 controls. The design thoughts behind these are all explained in greater detail below.

Tweaked BF4 Controls for Maximum Team Play

The new default control scheme on console adheres to common shooter standards while at the same time maximizing the potential for efficient team play unique to Battlefield 4. Image taken from the BF4 PDF manual.

The default Battlefield 4 controls on console are designed from the ground up to facilitate team play. In concrete terms, this means we wanted to make sure that both Spotting and the Commorose are used heavily in multiplayer, while the Engage order and Tactical Visor should be equally easy to reach and use in Single Player. All the while, the core gameplay mechanics of shooting, aiming, moving, and executing melee attacks need to be as strong and reliable as ever.

We also had to take into consideration that a lot of Battlefield fans eventually will want to move from their current console to the next generation. This means we needed to stay consistent across PS3 to PS4, and X360 to Xbox One. When we designed the default controls for Battlefield 4, we took the next generation of controllers into the equation as well.

To achieve the above design goals, we moved team play functions like Spot and Commorose to Right Bumper/R1. This in turn meant we needed to redesign other parts of the controls as well. We believe the result is a control layout that allows players to utilize the unique team play mechanics of Battleifeld 4 — while still staying true to tried and tested shooter controls and making the transition to next-gen controllers as seamless as possible.

In Battlefield 3, Spotting and Commorose was mapped to SELECT/BACK. However, we wanted to make these functions more easily reachable and more widely used. The equivalent buttons on next-gen controllers are also functioning in a different manner and can’t be used to map game functions like in Battlefield 3.

Other changes in our default control scheme are:
-Knife attack was on RB/R1, has now moved to R3 (click right stick)
-Crouch/prone was on R3, has now moved to B/Circle
-B/Circle was ENTER/EXIT VEHICLE, has moved to HOLD X/Square (as opposed to TAP, which is still RELOAD)
-HOLD X/Square was PICKUP KIT, so that was moved to HOLD Y/Triangle
-On PS3, we use that console’s standard for shooter layouts, where the shoulder buttons are used instead of the pull-triggers. So on PS3, all the trigger functionality is flipped, and Spot/Commorose is R2 (pull trigger) instead of R1

New Intuitive Vehicle Controls

The default vehicle stick controls in Battlefield 4 are tweaked for maximum intuitiveness Image grabbed from the Official BF4 Multiplayer Launch Trailer.

We wanted a more intuitive vehicle control scheme as the default for Battlefield 4. Since you are moving your character with the analog stick it made sense to have similar controls for vehicles. This means that the current default for vehicle controls is that the left stick now controls both throttle and steering. This allowed us to have movement controls on the stick, and FIRE, ZOOM, Countermeasures and Spot/Commorose up on the shoulder buttons, making all vehicle layouts closely match the soldier layout.

This should make it easier for players to pick up and play in vehicles compared to the unconventional placement of these buttons in previous Battlefield games. Also, we noticed that in Battlefield 3 players sometimes mistakenly entered a vehicle when they actually just wanted to reload their gun, and vice versa. We solved this issue by changing the ENTER VEHICLE command to require you to press and hold, rather than just quickly press. We also moved the button for picking up weapons and kits to ease the overload on the Interact button in Battlefield 4.

VETERAN TIP! If you prefer to use the analogue triggers for acceleration and braking you can change to that layout in the options menu by setting the VEHICLE BUTTONS option to VETERAN.

New Aim-relative Control for Turreted Vehicles

It’s never been easier to drive turreted vehicles like tanks and air-to-air vehicles. Image grabbed from the Official Battlefield 4 Multiplayer Launch Trailer.

There’s a new control system for driving vehicles with turrets meant to reduce complexity for players, as aiming in one direction and moving in another can be tricky. The new default control setup in Battlefield 4 helps move the vehicle in the direction you push the control stick, regardless of in what direction you are aiming the turret. This control method is only active in tanks (MBTs, IFVs, and Mobile AA vehicles) and Attack Boats, as they are the only vehicles where you operate a turret while driving.

VETERAN TIP! Players who prefer a more traditional Battlefield control method for tanks can head to the CONTROLS option menu and change the VEHICLE AIM RELATIVE CONTROL setting to OFF.

Configure the Sticks to Do What You Want

For the thumbstick layout options for both soldiers and vehicles, we offer the same options as we have in Battlefield 3. SOUTHPAW completely swaps the functions of the left stick and right sticks (for example, if a player is left-handed and prefers that) and LEGACY swaps only the X-axes on the thumbsticks, resulting in a soldier control scheme similar to N64-era shooters where moving forward and turning were on the same thumbstick. LEGACY SOUTHPAW swaps the functions of the LEGACY layout between the two thumbsticks. Between the default layout and these three alternatives, any possible combination of thumbstick controls is available for soldiers, land vehicles, helicopters, and jets, separately.

Miscellaneous Control Tips

Inverting the Y axis
Some players prefer to invert the Y axis on the sticks on foot or when in vehicles. You can select this in the controls options as well. For some players, inverting the Y axis in vehicles specifically makes sense, since that means flight controls will more closely resemble real life (where pulling the stick towards you will make the nose of the plane to go up.)

Visit Battlelog on the Fly
One change in Battlefield 4 is how seamlessly we have integrated the core social fetaures of Battlelog into the game, not only on PC, but on consoles as well. Hitting BACK/SELECT will let you quickly open up the Battlelog dashboard to see which friends are online, what they are playing, and also the status of any ongoing MISSIONS that you have accepted or created for your friends.

So if Battlelog is on BACK/SELECT, where has the scoreboard gone that was previously mapped there? The score board is still available quickly, this time by holding the START button.

Set the Sensitivity Just Right
Don’t forget to set the aim sensitivity on your controls. Try it out and see what you prefer – higher means more sensitive for quicker turning speeds, but usually at the sacrifice of finer control when you just want minor course corrections or aim adjustments (usually at longer ranges.)

Why No Full Customization?

We have heard your feedback on the controls for Battlefield 4 and your questions on why they are not fully customizable. While the matter of configurable button mappings on consoles is quite complex, we are investigating whether this is something we could support in the future.

Take the Vehicles For a Spin on the Test Range

Take the vehicles for a spin and evaluate all of the available controller settings in peace and quiet on the non-hostile Test Range.

We know getting to grips with all of the available vehicles in Battlefield 4 can take some practice. That’s why we’ve included a Test Range in the game where you can practice weapons and vehicles in a non-hostile environment. If you want to brush up on your flying skills or try out all of the available controller options to see which ones fit your play style, the Test Range is the place to go.

We hope this blog post answers your questions on the Battlefield 4 controls. Let us know in the comments below if you have any more questions you would like us to answer. Stay tuned for more in-depth blog posts on all aspects of the game. Thanks for reading!

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