Battlefield 3 Q&A: DICE Talks Fistfights, Vehicle Upgrades

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Battlefield 3 Q&A: DICE Talks Fistfights, Vehicle Upgrades

Earlier this week, I was treated to a new demo of the rapidly approaching military shooter Battlefield 3, which promises to raise Battlefield’s sprawling formula to soaring new heights. After watching a 10-minute demo of the game’s campaign running on PS3, I secured a few minutes with DICE Producer Patrick Liu to address some questions from PlayStation community members…plus a few of my own!

Are you playing the Battlefield 3 Open Beta on PSN? Share your thoughts (and winning strategies!) in the comments below. For more information on the Battlefield 3 beta, or to report bugs, please check out the official Battlefield 3 Beta FAQ.

BF3 - MP - Caspian Border - Gamescom_01

PlayStation Blog: There are a lot of military shooters these days. What’s the biggest thing Battlefield 3 is bringing to the table?

Patrick Liu: It’s a number of things. For a very long time, the core pillars of Battlefield have been the destruction, the sandbox experience, the scale, and the vehicle gameplay. Those are all still pretty unique to Battlefield, I’d say. My first Battlefield game was Bad Company.

PSB: You showed off some new, complex fistfights in the single-player games. How did those come about? Why not stick with knife swipes like every other FPS in the last five years?

Patrick Liu: Apart from shooting and driving vehicles, we wanted to bring something new — something we’d never seen before. We asked ourselves the question, “what happens when enemies come near you?” So we focused on melee combat, making it a more visceral experience. It feels different and unique, and breaks up the combat in the campaign.

There are different kinds of melee sequences throughout the campaign. Some of them are a bit more scripted, but there are also fancy execution-type kills if you can get behind your enemy — and if you do it in multiplayer, you’ll collect a dogtag too!

PSB: Tell me about Battlelog. Was the concept inspired by Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit’s Autolog?

Patrick Liu: In some ways it was. I would say that Need for Speed’s Autolog is more geared towards competing with your friends — beating their records and so forth. Battlelog is more of a social network: your battle feed shows what’s happening to you and your friends in real-time. We built the server browser right into Battlelog, so you can actually join all your games right from Battlelog. What’s good is that Battlelog is web-based, so we can update it on the fly. Some players have been concerned about how that works, but I can assure you it’s no problem: everybody can access it, and you can access it from any PC or mobile platforms. It lets you interact with your Battlefield 3 multiplayer experience when you’re not sitting in front on your PS3. Battlelog lets you form up squads, form up platoons, track your stats, compare your progression with your friends from anywhere.

BF3 - MP - Caspian Border - Gamescom_12

PSB: Dense urban combat is a bit of a departure for Battlefield, traditionally. Why did DICE want to pursue it? What are you bringing to urban combat?

Patrick Liu: A lot of guys on the team, myself included, wanted to try out more urban environments versus the open landscapes you’ve seen in previous Battlefield games. We’re still doing those open landscapes and the sandbox experience, but now we’re offering a wider range of gameplay and flavors. The urban environments also give us more types of destructions, from the micro-destruction of chipping away at cover to the macro-destruction of big buildings in Paris falling down over you. If you stand below that, you’re going to die!

PSB: On that note, how have the destructible environments been improved or refined over Battlefield: Bad Company 2?

Patrick Liu: I’d say it’s mainly down to the range of different types of destruction. As we showed in the office shootout in the campaign mode, you can shoot through cubicles and walls in the office – papers are flying around, it’s chaotic. We couldn’t do that kind of destruction in Bad Company 2.

PSB: Shooting through the cubicle walls: I’d never seen a shootout quite like that.

Patrick Liu: Yeah. We’ve seen other games spraying out a lot of particle effects, but I’ve never seen destruction like that, integrated into the environment and into the gameplay in that way, where you’re shooting out cubicle panels to catch the enemies off-guard. It’s pretty fresh, I think.

PSB: You showed off a lengthy campaign scenario from the PS3 version, and it covered a huge amount of space – it was a very large level. But there weren’t any load times or hitches in the pacing. That’s technically very difficult for many games – is that a benefit of Frostbite 2?

Patrick Liu: You’re right — that’s Frostbite 2 and our new streaming technology. We didn’t have that in Frostbite 1. It enables us to build bigger maps, whether they’re interior maps or open exterior sandbox environments. We wanted to push the scale as much as possible, and our new streaming technology is essential for that.

Battlefield 3 - Operation Guillotine screenshots v1

PSB:That level you showed on the PS3 was huge, but it was also highly detailed — I saw mirrored floors, reflective surfaces, tons of special effects and physics with a smooth frame rate. Are you confident that PS3 players are going to get a great experience?

Patrick Liu: Oh yeah. We’re very confident – we’re pushing the hardware big-time. Of course, we have a performance budget that we have to hit. Everything counts into that: the scale costs performance, destruction, animation, special effects…those are all the things we cram in there. I feel really good about where we ended up with on the PS3.

PSB: On the multiplayer side, how does the character progression stack up? What will I be able to unlock when I play multiplayer, and what’s different from other multiplayer shooters?

Patrick Liu: Battlefield 2 kind of started that formula, with the persistent multiplayer character and unlockables, and we continued it with the Bad Company games. Battlefield 3 will push it even further, with tons of weapon customization. And for the first time, we’ve brought vehicle customization: you can increase your speed, increase your armor, add different gadgets to your favorite vehicle, different missiles for your jet, UAV-type radar to your jeep, and so forth.

PSB: So far, what’s your favorite multiplayer mode?

Patrick Liu: I would say probably any of the Squad versions of the game, Squad Rush and Squad Deathmatch. It’s a little more intimate: each player counts. It really brings out the teamwork.

PSB: And what about your favorite weapon in multiplayer?

Patrick Liu: Probably some of the LMGs, such as the M240, maybe. It’s fun to spray down the subway in the Operation Metro level — laying down suppressive fire is super helpful. Suppressive fire is something completely new that I’ve never seen in another shooter, and gives the Support class a much clearer role: supporting the team! If you spray fire near somebody, it will make their vision blurry and impede their aiming. It also earns you points, so it’s rewarding.

PSB: Tell me about the Sniper class — how are you balancing campers?

Patrick Liu: Either you love or hate snipers. We wanted to make snipers much more of a recon class, so we’re giving that class a lot more gadgets and features to aid their spotting ability. And to counter camping snipers, look for the gleam of his scope if you can’t tell where the sniper fire is coming from!

PSB: Just a few days ago, DICE announced that full-blown expansion packs would debut first on PS3. Can you give PS3 owners a peek at the DLC plan?

Patrick Liu: We have a plan of long-term support for Battlefield 3. The launch is just the beginning for us, so you can expect new content and tweaks regularly. The expansion we’ve announced is Back to Karkand, which is free if you pre-order Battlefield 3. It’s going to be an epic map pack and it’s just as ambitious as the Vietnam expansion to Bad Company 2. It brings back Strike at Karkand, which is probably the most popular Battlefield map ever in addition to three other popular Battlefield 2 maps, new weapons and mods.

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6 Author Replies

  • Enjoying the Beta so far but there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. I hope they can see all of the problems in the battlelog. The beta really seems like an old build and the map they chose doesn’t really feel like Battlefield to me. And there’s no vehicles either!

  • BETA ROCKS!!! If anyone wants to party up with me on either BF or Black Ops, add me: bsktbl

    I’m an awesome team player, and I go for the objectives!

    Party up with me, you won’t regret it!!!


  • >PSB: Shooting through the cubicle walls: I’d never seen a shootout quite like that.

    Did you skip Modern Warfare 2? That is in at least two campaign levels.

  • beta is nice only issue i had was sound issues lag spikes and cheaters under the map but the rounds i did without issues was GREAT!! lots of fun

  • O yea #5 wat wat, but seriously i love this game. the franchise. ifeel it cant be beat.

  • I’m enjoying the beta so far but the bugs/glitches are so annoying. I’m looking for something that’s not like that other game and something that’s different. I’m hoping Battlefield 3 would be the one, especially playing it on the PS3. I just hope when the game comes out, it should be free of the bugs/glitches I’ve experienced in the beta because i’m having second thought on this. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great so far and the gameplay awesome. I just hope the game is what DICE say it should be. I’m still looking into pre-ordering this game.

  • Overall really enjoying the beta. But, For the love of god please fix the broken squad system soon.

    I’m hoping for a training area like in BF1943. I never got the hang of the choppers in BFBC2. Because I didn’t want to be taking an important piece of equipment from someone who could fly it better. It would be nice to start a private room with some friends for some training purposes. BFBC2 had private rooms but you needed 8 people just to get them going.

  • Beta is awesome ….. they must be getting alot of head shots on me….. I hate that!!! u get the first shot and they turn around and u die with 1 shot…… would have been nice to have the controller layout in the settings ….. and a respawn timer would be nice ……. WTG guys best FPS yet

  • Question the level you played does it look way better than the beta? Because I just want to know if the beta is using an old build which i believe it is.

    • Speaking broadly, betas are called beta for a reason – depending on the game, the beta build can be significantly older than the latest internal build due to older code sometimes being more stable and more tested…important considerations in a live environment with external players. Betas are meant to give you a taste of the game, so if you’re curious how the final game stacks up, be sure to give it a play at a friend’s house or look for reviews around launch!

  • I want to buy this game, but if it has an online pass count me out since I would have to buy another for my brother


  • This is my first BF expierence and the menu selection seems a bit clumbsy but once orented in the game I enjoyed the game play. There are quite a few bugs but I’m hopeful that the issues will be worked out before actual release.

  • Please a map with vehicles before the game comes out :)

    • I haven’t gotten a ton of time on the beta level – I heard there was a vehicle? But not like the maps in the final game, with jets and tanks and jeeps.

  • I love Battlefield 3….seriously.

  • THX Sid for the update ,but will you plz tell me about the glitches in the beta such as falling through or the screen turing blue i would like to buy this game but i need to know if those glitches will be fixed i would be thankful if u wrote me bace thx for the info keep up the good work :)

  • In my humble opinion, the focus on BF 3 is mostly on the PC version. I confess I am a little bit scared.

  • P.S. I hope the official game looks alot better because I wasn’t blown away at all.

  • Those screen shots are NOT the PS3 version.

  • Need fixing…

    1. The lighting is beautiful, but overwhelming. You can’t see enemies at distance. Check Lens of Truth’s pics of the florescent bulbs in the subway. The PS3 has way too much going on.

    2. The knife needs some adjusting…. standing on top of enemies knifing away and noting. Check ad Company 2’s knifing… much better.

    3. Better matchmaking. On my first game my entire team was level 1 and the other team had level 30s, a couple 20s and lots of teens. We hung in there, but it was unbalanced.

  • @guitarded77 matchmaking on consoles was always a nightmare in every BF title. Poor options and menus. Let’s hope they’ll do something better on final version.

  • the game rocks even in beta hope the get enough data out from the testing so the game will be glitclhes

  • Move support would be nice, also I’d like to see some custom soundtracks incorporated at a later date, nothing beats a shooter like this that can do custom soundtracks online… sometimes you just want to shut out the voices and kill 1000 people in a row to some heavy metal… without sacrificing your sound-effects.

  • THANK GOD WE HAVE THE BETA, I was on the fence about buying it now i know for sure THIS CRAP isnt worth 40$

  • Seriously disappointed by the game guys. Don’t hype what you can’t back up…

  • None of the battlefield games have been balanced …… just quit and start again … believe me i understand …. COD is much better at leveling the teams

  • Yep, compared to those PC visuals we keep seeing in promotional materials, the PS3 version looks subpar.
    Sometimes, BBC2 looks even better.

  • Okay. Since this technically a Q&A let me ask a solid question.

    Question: Will this game be supporting EA’s (greedy, repulsive) “online pass”? Because, honestly that alone will turn off a lot of people including myself.

    Beyond that this supposed “beta” (which is actually a demo) is really, sorely lacking in a lot of areas. You should tweak the spawning in this game it’s pretty worthless if there is already rampant spawn camping. You should also fix the disconection issues, and why on earth does this game “save” at every deploy? It’s annoying and slows the game (I have even caught lag from the saving.) The screen also pops and blinks in and out in a redish hue. The recoil is w-a-y too much (especially considering you are suppose to assume the role of a “trained” professional.) The resolution is iffy and considering the “hype” this game got for graphics the console versions are below par. I’d also reccomend not doing match making and instead do server selection (which is always a better choice.)

  • Will the beta hav Version updates for More maps? .. And yaaaa my question is will BF 3 hav the “My Life” By JJ as their Official Theme song ? Caz i really love it ;)

  • It’s weird that even on PCs, ppl complained a lot about BF3. Although the lucky guys who manage to play Caspian Border were amazed by the game. The videos on youtube of that map are really insane.

    I guess they released Operation Metro because it is more like a COD map style, instead of giving a battlefield map style, so to make COD players feel more comfortable with the game.

  • I’m really enjoying the beta so far, though there are some annoying issues. Somehow, I can’t tell why, my L1 (aiming) and L3 (sprinting) buttons don’t get any answers when pressing them sometimes. I have to change weapon or prone/crouch, then retry sprinting or aiming depending which bugged.

    I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal of a bug, but it makes the difference when you’ve got ennemies all around you and your controls get messed up. It’s not my controller, I’ve checked it with 3 other ones and the same happens.

    Also, the class swaping and weapon loaout changing is a mess. Seriously there is way to much buttons involved only in this. D-pad, L1-R1, Circle, D-pad again, X… I’m all with you for being different than Call of Duty but your loadout menu is way more confusing than intuitive.

    For the rest, well it’s a beta, so the lag should get fixed when the real game is released. I’m glad I pre-ordered it!

  • I am having a blast! Great game Dice!

  • It’s a day one purchase for me. But. Whether I also buy MW3 or not as well greatly depends on how long I want to play BF3 and level up classes. In BF2 I maxed out 3 of the classes. A lot of these comments seem unfair for a Beta – not a demo, but IDK. The beta is only one Map and it’s pretty enjoyable. Have to level up more and try other things , like the Bipod and what not. Just scratched the surface. lol

  • I just have to put in my two cents here. I’m normally pretty picky about graphics. ESPECIALLY if the developers are talking about how they have the “best graphics” on consoles. Crytek anyone? Anyway, I must say that I was actually pretty impressed with the performance of BF3. I see a few people on here complaining about old builds, and not being impressed. Whatever! After the crysis2 debacle i’m VERY weary of third party developers, but I think DICE pulled through. Solid performance. A couple hiccups here and there but it still runs smooth. Large maps, animations are awesome, interior details are nice, high resolution. Its all there. This game wasn’t even on my radar, but I might have to pick it up now. I try not to fall for the hype anymore, but this made me a believer.
    Bravo DICE, Bravo.

  • Downloading now can’t wait:D


  • The beta is great but their are a few issues like the lags and glitches also i hope they upgrade the graphics for the final game because if u compare this to the pc beta theirs a huge graphic diffrence.

  • The only problems I had with the beta was (1. the lighting was overwhelming in the subways, I couldn’t really see the enemies from a certain distance. (2. The knifing was unresponsive and (3. twice now my screen has turned grey. But other than that, I love it I can’t wait for the game to get here!

  • @ dsrbmd of course there is going to be a huge difference its on pc. the pc tht r playing the beta have all of these graphic chips tht r installed in it to make the game even better. ex( Caspian Border is only for pc its a 64 player map only pc’s can handle tht many people) but yea the pc versions have mod graphic chip n all tht so thts y it looks better

  • This game has lived up to my expectations I’m enjoying this beta till it ends i am just dying to get into a vehicle already though lol cant wait till its released but the map choice is really entertaining to me i cant wait to get my hands on the full copy man has battlefield always been a favorite game of mine

  • When is the first patch coming to the beta so we can’t lay under the ground?

    Will the final game have in-multilayer HDD custom soundtracks?– |
    |—-selling points for me
    Will we be able to fully customize our controls? ————————-|

  • that formatted wrong^^

  • One more question:

    In the near future will we be able to play the “Caspian Border” map in the beta. I was really looking forward to doing some dog-fighting. :D

  • I have enjoyed the beta but there are some issues that need attention. 1) I cannot hear my friend through the bluetooth in the battle, while we are at the lobby, we can hear each other, but when the the game starts, we are no longer able to hear each other. 2) I create a squad at the lobby with my friends, when we start the game, the squad is destroyed and some friends ended in the other team. Graphics need a little improvement and I want the vehicles.

  • Really liking the beta so far, it’s super fun A little more like MOH then BC2 but that’s alright.
    Any one else have problems with the RPG’s not blowing up when shot trough glass?

  • It’s true that it pushes the hardware to its limit, every time I played my ps3’s fan went from low to highest in less than a minute… did it again today then my system shut down with flashing red light because it overheated. I like the game though.

  • i’m disappointed about the graphics, a lot. even BBC2 looks better. I tried the alpha on pc version and i can say i was expecting more from PS3 Version.

  • Beta is amazing I personally am just loving it. Most of the guns are fair but falling underground can get annoying, The array of attachments are so fun to play with trying to find me a perfect gun is almost impossible. If anyone wants to play add me up and send me a message vinnie1771 I like playing tactical :]

  • I wish the one thing they would have implemented with the beta was the ability to mute other players. So tired of listening to other little kids cursing up a storm every time they get killed. Which in this game is quite often.

  • and i forgot to say, matchmaking on any game, IT’S A BIG BAD IDEA

  • The game looks quite well on the PS3 compared to the PC version. I have also downloaded the BETA for PC, and I run it on Ultra settings and the only differences I saw were the the Resolution (obviously) and some low res textures in the PS3 version.

    So, considering that I prefer playing on my coach with my 50 inches TV; I will buy the PS3 version. XD

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