From a new interview with Patrick Bach:
There can be no doubt that the ‘slice’ of the campaign we saw is impressive. But there’s one nagging question left: why did a company and franchise better known for large-scale, vehicle-based online warfare choose to exclusively flaunt single-player, with no MP footage on show?
Bach was quick to acknowledge that some people may moan about this, but he’s not too worried. After all, it would take a colossal failure for DICE to drop the ball on the multiplayer modes that it pioneered.
“We think that single-player games are great, and if you have a great single-player, that makes the game better,” he tells us. “That doesn’t mean that you need to take away MP. Our DNA is still MP, the competitive element of games.“
Although he can’t go into too many details about the multiplayer, Bach gives us some helpful hints about the content of the online portion of the game. The maps will be larger to compensate for more vehicles – including fighter jets, returning to the series for the first time since Battlefield 2, at last. There will be 24 players on the 360 and PS3 as opposed to 64 on the PC, and the maps will be scaled to fit. Bach doesn’t believe that more players equals more fun, however.
“I think we’ve had some bad experience in the gaming world with more players; it just adds more complexity. Of course, it’s a great number for marketing – the number is only for marketing. When you play it you’re thinking, ‘Why does it play crap, why does it animate crap, why does it look crap?’ and it’s like, ‘Well, you got this big number, so why aren’t you happy?’”
Along with not blindly aping the MAGs of this world, Battlefield 3 will still retain that core feel of smaller battles forming the backbone of an overarching, objective-based narrative. DICE may be chasing the Call Of Duty crowd, but it’s not changing in the process.
“We want to make a game for grown-ups. We don’t want to make a children’s game, a twitch, infantry-focused on-drugs sugar-rush experience. This needs to be an adult game with mature features and depth. It’s supposed to be a sport. It should be: ‘I can trust this game.’”
What DICE also wants you to trust is that the Frostbite 2 engine will be just as brilliant as it is in single-player, which would go some way to realising the goal of creating large, open spaces pocketed with dense, tight locations to destroy at will. MP lead designer Lars Gustafsson describes the strength and malleability of the engine as “enabling us to spend less time squeezing the paint out of the tube, and more time painting the picture right”.
Gustafsson, naturally, also agrees with Bach’s opinion that Battlefield 3’s multiplayer shouldn’t be copying other shooters: “If you constantly just spawn into the meat grinder with no delay, it’s impossible to create a weighted battle, a tug of war, and it becomes a chaotic team deathmatch. [It’s about] that physical experience of being there. The pacing, that awareness of not only yourself but the world reacting to you.”