We have an awesome Q&A for you guys. It’s with Patrick Bach, Executive Producer on Battlefield 3.
1. With the time between game releases getting shorter, what would you say to critics who believe the shorter times are stifling innovation and encouraging products which follow expected tried and trusted formulas?
Yes and no. I would argue that if you do have a clear vision on what you want to achieve and an experienced team you can actually plan for success. This could in some cases mean that you will use well known components in parts of the product and in other parts create completely new components. Everything does not have to be new to create a great gaming experience. In comparison with the music industry you do not need all new “never-used-before” musical instruments to create a new song but you do need some new components and a great idea.
2. With Multiplayer aspects becoming more prominent in games nowadays and with lots of stiff competition in the marketplace, how does Battlefield 3′s multiplayer aim to entice gamers?
Battlefield has always been a strong contender in the FPS multiplayer space. There is no reason for us to not be able to stay ahead in this area for Battlefield 3. Dice do have more than a decade of experience in Multiplayer FPS and most of the key individuals building Battlefield 1942 (released 2002) is still today part of the Battlefield 3 team. We are always trying to improve on the Battlefield formula and Battlefield 3 is no exception.
3. A lot of focus is shifted towards the multiplayer aspects of games but what of the single player options – what can lone players expect beyond the single player campaign?
We are not only focusing on the multiplayer experience but also making sure anyone can get into the game no matter your personality or mood. Lone players like you say enjoy the Single player campaign but can also, without caring about Teamplay or responsibility for others, just have a great time in multiplayer.
4. What are your thoughts on your rival’s products which look like shipping around the same time as Battlefield 3, do you think cross game rivalry is healthy and do you actually learn much from what the competition is doing and how well they perform?
Competition is always healthy to push things forward. I think everyone is evolving from a healthy amount of rivalry and it inspires everyone to try harder to give the consumer a better product. Worst thing that could happen is if games stopped moving forward and we see that as a big part of our mission. We all need to start moving into the next generation of FPS games and we will try to take the first step.
5. It’s been reported that EA aims to take the shooter crown from Activision and publish the top first person shooter for this generation. With Call of Duty performing so well, are you confident you attract the COD crowd?
From a developer perspective we are always trying to create the best game possible. We do believe that the Battlefield formula with a great Shooting experience as a core and including Teamplay elements, Vehicles and Destruction is the way forward for the genre. If we succeed in making the better game or not; we will still push the industry forward and that is a great win for consumers, developers and the industry as a whole.
6. What are your plans with DLC Content? Another VIP-Pass?
The only DLC we have announced now is the “Back to Karkand” pack that includes re-made maps, Weapons and Vehicles from Battlefield 2. If you pre-order the game you will get that for free.
7. The stunning footage of the game seen so far is supposedly from the PC version: when will you be showing some footage from the Xbox 360 version? And which differences can we expect from the PC version (aside the already known multiplayer differences)?
Our philosophy is to not to talk about things we cannot prove and this is true also when it comes to the quality of the Xbox 360 version of the game. All of the core game systems (animation, destruction, rendering, audio etc.) are the same on all platforms so there will not be a difference when it comes to the general experience of the game. Some technicalities will of course be different due to larger memory and the graphics cards you can have on the PC. We are trying to push the envelope of FPS games in general and this will be obvious in all versions of the game. Looking back to what quality we achieved with Battlefield Bad Company 2 last year we do know how to make high quality games on all platforms.
8. Battlefield has always been a multiplayer-focused franchise, then you created Bad Company for a more campaign-oriented, console-friendly experience. Now, with Battlefield 3 you seem to be mixing both philosophies in one single game: will both series continue to exist and develop independently?
We tried to give the Battlefield Bad Company series a unique soul of itself to not confuse it with the Core Battlefield series. We are hoping that that is obvious when looking at the material we have released so far from Battlefield 3. At the core they are both Battlefield games so of course there will be similarities but the tone and depth of Battlefield 3 will be fundamentally different.
9. We know the game will sport a co-op campaign, separated from the main one. Can you give us some details about it?How many hours should it take to complete?
We have announced that we will have a Co-op mode in Battlefield 3 but not what it will be. We will make sure we utilize all our Battlefield knowledge to create something really interesting in this area. Just wait and see.
10. Can you give us any details on soldier upgrades and weapon modifications?
No, cannot give any details at this time. I can tell you that it will not be less than in any of our earlier titles for sure.
11. Will the Onslaught-Mode feature in Battlefield 3?
See question 9.
12. Why is there 24 player limits on consoles? Is it engine performance or networking issues?
We always have to find the sweet spot between player count, visual quality, destruction, vehicles, network traffic and general game quality in all games we are building. In this case we are focusing on all of the above and have come to the conclusion that 24 players on the console gives us the right balance. We had this number in Battlefield Bad Company 2 and that worked pretty good we think. We still have more players than most other FPS games on console with the added value of vehicles and destruction that we are almost alone in having. We have seen some games trying to do more and not always succeeding since it is really hard to keep the quality of the experience when just adding more players. We are not worried that the intensity of the multiplayer experience will not be enough on the consoles even if we are pushing the numbers further up on the PC.
13. Base camping was sometimes frustrating in Bad Company 2 (Atakama Desert is good example). Are you planning to re-introduce “no points in enemy base” system in Battlefield 3? What about team kills?
This is something we are constantly looking into. We are trying to find the perfect balance in all out maps, game modes and kits but I cannot give any specifics at this moment on exactly what we are doing for Battlefield 3.
14. Will there be training mode (or something similar) for multiplayer, where players can learn how to fly helicopters or use other vehicles?
Again I cannot comment on this at this time. Sorry.
15. Will a demo coming before the release?