Battlefield 3: What we want to see
12th Feb 2011 | 15:30
With Battlefield 3 now distinctly recognisable on the horizon, it's time to start cranking up the hype-machine as the FPS genre starts to glow with a new potential once again.
We already have a wedge of information on Battlefield 3 thanks to the first details being rolled out this week, but the fog of war still hangs heavy over the finer points.
There's still much to discuss then, and discuss we have in the ream of words below. We think we've come up with some pretty tasty potentials for the third Battlefield outing, but we're just as keen to hear what you're after.
Get thinking, get chatting and tell us your ideas in the comments section at the bottom. Here are ours:
Battlefield's multiplayer experience has always been a hardcore haven for FPS fans and a passionately promoted alternative to the world of COD by many.
That's why some of you were a bit sceptical about the inclusion of a single-player campaign in Battlefield 3. We understand; you just want the devs to remain completely focused on what the series does best and that's well balanced, teamwork encouraging multiplayer.
The wider problem, however, is the quality of the single-player campaigns that have been linked to Battlefield in the past under the Bad Company sub-title.
Take Bad Company 2, for example, which had a campaign that was completely overshadowed by the multiplayer. That wouldn't be so bad a thing if it was purely because of the quality of the game's online offering but the main reason Bad Company 2's single-player failed to impress was because, well, it just wasn't very impressive in itself.
Dopey AI and an all round lack of narrative and cinematic craft were just two reasons that Bad Company 2's story mode was anti-climatic and failed to hit the mark in numerous ways. You could almost tell the team had multiplayer on the brain.
And in a way that's fine, multiplayer is what we came for. With single-player confirmed, though, there's no use complaining that a campaign will be taking a good chuck of studio resources. But if we get the impression it's taken anything away from Battlefield 3's multiplayer, boy will we be angry mister.
If single-player is here to stay then maybe it can benefit from some of the multiplayer elements that Battlefield has always done so well. The addition of campaign co-op would be a happy medium between single and multiplayer if done well.
Battlefield's multiplayer has always encouraged teamwork more than most and the roles and tactical variety available to players means that their skill and creativity can really play a major part.
We'd need a campaign that was geared to co-op though (so it would probably have to be completely separate from the main game), with levels crafted towards players utilising a variety of classes and playing their part, leaving and reconvening with the pack when needed.
For that we'd need multiple, class-specific and teamwork based objectives and relatively open levels with multiple routes and methods leading towards the goal.
ON THE FLY
Let's talk about Battlefield 3's multiplayer mode now; it's what we all came to see.
One multiplayer mechanic that's becoming more and more prominent these days is rolling, dynamic objectives. While Battlefield has in the past had staggered mini-objectives within wider objectives, we like the idea of dynamic changes to circumstances forcing players to dramatically rethink tactics and adapt on the fly.
We really like this feature even in games without a strong team-based community because it keeps us on our toes, but in the kind of multiplayer world that Battlefield manages to put together the effect would be multiplied.
There you are doing your bit for the team; an explosion here, a snipe there, when all of a sudden you're informed of a convoy coming through the battlefield. The enemy needs to destroy it, so you need to protect it. It'd take communication and organisation to establish who was going to be assigned to the new mission and who would keep pursuing and maintaining the main objective. It'd take Battlefield's teamwork ethos to a new level.
You're probably aware that DICE is still on the fence about what kind of mod tools will be provided with Battlefield 3. What has been said, however, is that there won't be any at launch.
The reason we've been given is that Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2.0 engine is so sophisticated (it makes next-gen games on current-gen systems don't you know) that it would take a lot of extra time and dev-power to dumb it down to something the average schmuck could work with.
Except there are PC boys and girls out there that are far from average and actually have some serious skills when it comes to tweaking video games. You'll have seen some of the amazing things modders have been doing with things like Microsoft's Kinect and games like Fallout: New Vegas.
When it comes to Battlefield, we don't need to remind you what kind of things we had from the likes of Project Reality Studios in Battlefield 2.
As the name suggests, the mod team added gameplay features that made Battlefield 2 more realistic such as localised damage systems and bullet drop.
Regardless of the details of the mod, what it means is that ideas that might usually be too commercially risky for a game or too strenuous on the old pocket can be taken on by the modding community. As for the rest of us, it means we get a wider variety cool ideas and features.
While we think there are people out there that could handle some more sophisticated modding tools, we appreciate that making them as simple to use as possible is always helpful and that will take time. We'll wait for you DICE, don't worry, as long as we get a decent set of mod tools eventually.
This is one that splits fans. Some people want as many weapons as the US army, others want just a handful of arms to pick from.
We take the view that more is better but only if you're able to maintain quality across the board. There's no point in having racks and racks of different rifles, handguns and heavier weapons if you only actually want to use four or five of them.
If we are going to have a wide selection in our gun cabinet we need every one of them to be slick, fluid and pack a real kick. We don't want to find ourselves in the heat of war with little more than a BB gun in our hand.
The more breadth you have though, the more likely it is that quality will dip somewhere along the line. So Battlefield's weapon selection needs to strike that balance between quantity and quality.
One way to ensure quality and still provide plenty of variety is to keep the weapons base relatively narrow but provide more customisation options.
We'd love to get to the stage where weapons can be tuned so acutely, where we have a gun we love so much, we feel compelled to give it a name. A stage where everyone on the map is packing a slightly different piece, tweaked to their preference.
We think keeping that core of weapons tight and of high quality is the key though, that way players can choose whether they use Battlefield 3's weapons as they come or tinker to their heart's content.