October 19th, 2011
Here's why, according to EA producer Aleksander Grondal.
Alienware Arena: I don't recall this much pre-release anticipation for Battlefield 2, Bad Company 1 or 2, or any Battlefield game for that matter. What is it about BF3 that's resonating with prospective buyers?
Aleksander Grondal, Battlefield 3 producer: When we released our 12 minute Faultline video from the single player campaign, I think a lot of people immediately recognized that something big was happening. Battlefield 3 is not only the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of Battlefield experience here at DICE – it’s also driven by our powerful new game engine Frostbite 2. Frostbite 2 has been developed by a separate team here at DICE for the past three years to be the perfect engine for Battlefield 3, taking the first person shooter genre to the next level.
Especially for PC gamers, I think they are always hungering for the next step up in gaming fidelity, and I think Battlefield 3 serves at the perfect excuse to upgrade your gaming rig or buy a new one. It’s building up to a perfect storm, and I think the underlying powerful technology driving Battlefield 3 is a huge part of that.
Some recent multi-platform games develop on console first then port to PC. You did the opposite. Why?
We always knew we wanted to make Battlefield 3 the true successor to our classic PC title Battlefield 2. We wanted to celebrate the PC core community that’s been with us since the start, and we wanted to make sure that we can take advantage of gaming enthusiasts’ powerful PC setups. The PC version of Battlefield 3 is a true PC game in every respect, and not a port.
Frostbite 2 looks amazing. But what contributions to gameplay will it add (i.e. what kinds of gameplay does the engine enable that previous engines haven't been able to achieve)?
Destruction, taking down the facades of buildings for example, is definitely one of the improvements Frostbite 2 brings to the game. Scale is another key pillar of Battlefield 3, with a range of environments from tight indoors infantry combat to vast open landscapes and all-out vehicle warfare – often going from one to the other seamlessly on the same multiplayer map. Previously, we have been excellent at doing either detailed indoor environments or vast open landscapes, but Frostbite 2 lets us combine both and make them look more beautiful and detailed than ever before.
There are a number of other improvements as well, such as physically placing the in-game soldier characters in the game world – they are not just floating cameras. This creates a greater sense of immersion and physicality to the game, and allows us to have gameplay mechanics such as vaulting over obstacles, automatically deploying bipods when standing next to suitable surfaces, take down trees, and create craters with explosives.
What benefit does ANT bring to the table?
By incorporating the ANT animation technology (famous from the latest FIFA and NHL games), you can now realistically vault over objects, and the believable animations also let you go seamlessly from prone to running, while reloading, for example. It all adds up to immerse you in the game world and make you experience the physicality of it. The stealth kill knife takedowns are also very dramatic and intense. Instead of just running a generic slashing motion animation, we actually show a proper military takedown. These takedowns look awesome for the attacker and frightening for the victim, and is a first for a shooter in multiplayer.
How does the game cater to PC hardware enthusiasts, tinkerers, and optimizers? With the right hardware, will BF3 be the showcase/best-looking game on the planet upon release?
We have made sure that Battlefield 3 scales beautifully with your hardware to give you extra graphical flair as you move up the performance ladder. That’s the way Frostbite 2 is built to work. While you will get a good experience with a modern mid-range PC, we want to make sure that the more you tinker and optimize, the more you get out of the game. When you take off in a jet and fly across the massive expanse of the Operation Firestorm map, watching the burning oil fields while all-out warfare rages all around you, I think that is one of the best showcases you can have for today’s most powerful PC hardware.
We have big plans for both friendly competition and professional esports within Battlefield 3. We will have more to announce for PC when it comes to competitive features. But already out of the box, we have features that will let players compete in new and more social ways than before.
Simply the inclusion of Team Deathmatch says a lot about our ambitions when it comes to competitive play. We haven’t had Team Deathmatch in the game since the original Battlefield 1942, but now is a great time to bring it back. Also, the possibility to form up in Platoons will be a major incentive for a lot of players to engage in competitive gaming.
Platoons are tightly incorporated into Battlelog. Up to 100 friends can create a Platoon, create an emblem, and start competing against other Platoons in the world. Battlelog keeps track of your Platoon’s accumulated stats, and also tracks every member against one another, so you can see who is the best Engineer, best Recon, and so on. We will have more news to share later on competitive gaming in Battlefield 3.
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