Next week looks set to be a big week for Battlefield - not that it won't be for the rest of the industry, of course - due to the expected release of Battlefield 3's Close Quarters DLC and the long-rumoured Battlefield Premium service.
Back in April we got the chance to chat to Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach about Close Quarters, which will offer tight, infantry-only combat across four new maps, as well as a range of other topics including next-gen consoles, new IP versus sequels, and the used games market.
How will the Close Quarters maps impact the flow of gameplay?
We've had this type of gameplay in some of Battlefield 3's maps and sections of its maps already. But what we wanted to do with Close Quarters was to see how far we could take it, how far we could push the idea of tight infantry gameplay in a game like Battlefield, which has the classic huge open landscapes, vehicles, team play focus for a lot of people. There are people who play Battlefield 3 in this type of fashion, who like the tight infantry gameplay and the destruction. This is an expansion pack that is more tailored for that type of gameplay.
It doesn't mean that we're throwing everything else out of the window. We are planning the expansion pack that comes after this, Armoured Kill, which is all about big open landscapes, vehicles, all out war on huge battlefields, which will complement Close Quarters quite nicely. They'll also prove the point that Battlefield can handle everything from a quite small scale environment to huge big open landscapes.
Are the indoor maps much more destructible than those in the core game?
Yes and no. In a way they aren't because the core of the destructibility is available in Battlefield 3, but we are taking it to another level by making sure that more things blow up and it's a more intricate part of the experience. There's also a whole tactical layer when it comes to blowing away doors and walls and changing the landscape as you play the map. That's very important to us, and we've tried to again move the boundaries of what this [game] could be without screwing the core game up.
I think we are a bit stubborn, we try to prove to ourselves that we can do certain things. In some cases we decide to do something and then we have to figure out how to do it afterwards and this is a great example of us doing that, where we more or less just decided to see how far we could take it and where we'd end up. We were also worried that maybe Battlefield wouldn't hold up to this type of experience, but it sure does.
A number of people have expressed concerns that Close Quarters won't offer traditional Battlefield gameplay. Obviously they can wait for something like Armoured Kill if they prefer, but if you were talking to these Battlefield purists, what would you say to convince them to pay to try this?
First of all, if you absolutely hate these maps then you can get it for the ten new weapons [which carry across the core game and all DLC packs] or the achievements, but I have a hard time seeing the purists that only like Battlefield 1942... those people, most of them who have been playing Battlefield 3, have been getting used to the idea that Battlefield can be so much more than just the more slow-paced, open landscapes and vehicles gameplay.