AMD and Electronic Arts send word this afternoon that the Mantle update for Battlefield 4 has been delayed until next month. The update was previously scheduled for late December, however any slippage on that schedule would push the release to January, which it appears is exactly what has happened. AMD and EA have released a short and highly sanitized statement on the matter.

After much consideration, the decision was made to delay the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4. AMD continues to support DICE on the public introduction of Mantle, and we are tremendously excited about the coming release for Battlefield 4! We are now targeting a January release and will have more information to share in the New Year.

With that in mind, for Battlefield 4 players it’s well known that DICE is in the middle of a massive bug hunt due to a number of recurring (and sometimes severe) bugs in the game, which has led to DICE pausing most other development tasks in order to focus on fixing bugs. As such there’s been a lot of speculation over whether Mantle would be delayed as part of the bug hunt, and to minimal surprise this seems to be what has happened.

With that said, while Electronic Arts’ statement is unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) light on details, given the compartmentalized development of modern engines and the bugs facing Battlefield 4 we have good reason to believe that Mantle development itself has only been minimally impeded (if affected at all) since the bulk of BF4’s issues are not in the rendering engine. Instead it’s far more likely that DICE and EA’s QA teams are tied up finding bugs and testing fixes, which would require delaying the Mantle update due to a lack of resources to validate it. The silver lining on all of this being that if our assumption is right, it would at least mean the Frostbite rendering team would have more time to spend on the project while waiting for QA resources to be freed up.

As for the state of the Mantle API itself, we don’t expect that this will change anything. AMD is already working with other developers on Mantle and we’ve already seen Mantle on display at the 2013 AMD Developer Summit, so we know it’s up and running in development form. But as Battlefield 4 is still going to be AMD’s launch vehicle for Mantle, this means that AMD’s consumer Mantle plans are essentially delayed in lockstep with Battlefield 4.

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  • AMDisDead - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Developers asked for this but AMD payed 8 million $ to use it. Not sure if serious. Anyway as expected Mantle is just PR crap. After so called "Mantle patch" you can expect FPS drop on Nvidia cards but same FPS on AMD. AMD will call it Mantle, AMD lunatics will call it Mantle but everyone will know that's dirty AMD tricks. Reply
  • SlyNine - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    lol, I'm sure you're impartial AMDisDead. lol Reply
  • silverblue - Sunday, January 5, 2014 - link

    Why would a different setup perform worse using a completely different codepath? Any such behaviour would either be a result of actual changes to the engine itself, or a change in a map to improve graphical quality at the expense of performance. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    AMD said that "developers" asked for it, but then clarified that the DICE guy showed up in their office and suggested something like it. I believe this happened just after AMD paid 8 million dollars for some BF4 copies, which compelled the DICE guy to show up and "request" the very technology that AMD paid 8 million dollars for EA to show off.

    "It'd be great if you guys went ahead and asked for this for us. We'll be so pleased."

    "Yeah, pleased. Eight million dollar pleased, right?"

    "Yah."

    "Fine. I formally request you make another API in addition to DirectX and OpenGL, which already really are enough if they'd just get some improvements."

    "We accept your request for Mantle and are going to tell everyone about it."

    "Yeah, yeah. I'll go along, I guess, since Mama EA wants me to, but your check better clear."

    "It will, it will. We just laid off another driver team to ensure it does."

    "Your priorities seem off, Mr. Reed."

    "How so?"

    "Are you really reducing your driver staff at a time when you're promising to support now a third API that none of your competition is going to waste time on?"

    "Yes. Yes, I am."
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    So this is why you believe what you do. You make up fake conversations and convince yourself these are facts. Reply
  • TheJian - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - link

    Note that same guy (andersson) said on stage he hoped it causes Dx/OpenGL etc to improve, but you could tell he really doesn't care if Mantle itself survives. He even said (IIRC) we don't need 5 API's to write for etc etc. It was kind of comic watching him try to defend Mantle. I really was. Not for carmack or sweeny, though, Carmack just said he'd ignore it. Ok then...Dead to him.

    How is his statement any different than Ryan's "mantle is in xbox1" fantasy? Which should be impossible for anyone to believe as MS won't allow competition for DirectX in any case if avoidable. Did you comment on that article that Ryan was living in a fantasy?

    If a dev really wanted to use something, would AMD have to pay them $8mil to use it? The only person that has said devs requested it were AMD people. Many game devs have been on stage to claim they asked for it specifically if they did. I've seen nobody do that but AMD people.
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Instead of firing technical staff AMD should fire their PMs. Given their history all of them are very, very bad. I mean that BF4 has issues was known for like what? 2 month? They could have easily said mantle will be here in January already in October. I don't get optimistic release plans. Being earlier than communicated is always better than being late even if the actual release date is the same. Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - link

    How is this AMD's fault? BF4 is facing a huge bug blitz, so why add in Mantle support when the game is as broken as it currently appears to be?

    It's unfortunate that Mantle support is delayed, but you'll thank them for it. Once DICE gets its act together, that is.
    Reply
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link

    I'm looking forward to trying mantle out. Whether it's good or bad for the industry... that's hard to say. It would certainly have been better if intel and nvidia were also onboard.

    As for BF4, I've been playing it a lot the last month or so and it doesn't crash for me anymore. That's huge progress versus when I first got the game. I still see a flickering texture occasionally.

    There's probably still some bugs, but the main issues were fixed a couple weeks ago. It's a great game, though not that much better than BF3 all told. Levolution was over-hyped, map changing events etc, not so much, but a lot of the world can be blown open/apart (and a lot more can't be).
    Reply
  • CrimsonFury - Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - link

    All the replies seem to be assuming this delay was caused by AMD. I wouldn't be surprised if it was more the fault of Dice\EA and the ongoing problems with BF4. The game launched with a ton of bugs and the devs are still trying to patch it across 5 different platforms, so they're not exactly in the best postion to be taking on additional development work. Reply

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