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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171 Comments

6 Author Replies

  • 2 things come to mind… EA stop designing the BF series for console systems and Sony lift the bandwidth limits so game designers can do more as far as more players. MAG doesn’t have that so why should other games? Oh cause they are not a small part of the Sony company??
    BF3 beta sucks, with the many issues I found from mic issues not being able to communicate with anyone on my squad. Squads being random, I joined with 3 other friends just to be split up. Sound issues as well. I’ll wait to see if a ‘better’ demo comes out before I buy it.

  • I have always been biased when it comes to the BF series. I wish my PC could support it and I would go to that platform. However the PS3 experiance is still awesome. Been reserved for months.

    The knife worked on sneek up attacks, but that was it. NEEDS WORK

    The flash light and sniper scope light flicker is epic. It is true to real life. Also I am so impressed with the low crawl.

    I just want all the haters to know one thing. This is just the beta with one rush mode map. I am sure they picked it to show the close qtrs combat. I served eight years in the Army and Supported Special Operators, this series has always been closer to the real thing then the other series. I love the fact I can go from a tank to foot soldier. When I go online I have more than one style of game play. CQC is cool but I need more.

    I am waiting for the vehicles…………I am a tank master.

    Also I understand that you had to tweek the graphics down for the MP and lower the number of players, but what about SP? I don’t see that needing the cuts.

  • Can u use headset with it?

  • beta does not support headset

  • Last thing….. for the love of god, let me mute some off these people. They must have the worst mics with all the back feed, or playing music, or just humming to themselves.

  • I’m actually kinda ticked off.

    I expected to be able to bring down entire buildings. Not because they said we could, but because they didn’t say we couldn’t. There was never a full explanation of the destructibility and this caused me to get over hyped for this game…

    Anyone else get this feeling too?

  • When is the beta going to end? I hope it’s not too soon! I had no problems dowloading and installing the beta, but like many other players, theres alot of bugs/glitches, ex: one of the rocket lauchers you unlock dosen’t even shoot lol, theres the animation but nothing comes out of it. Sometimes after i get killed, once i respawn, my screen gets all crazy, like all sorts of colours and the textures are all stretched and i just can’t see where im going, the only way i can make that go away is if i swich to my pistol, but as soon as i swich back to my rifle, that bugged screen stays there untill i get killed again. sometimes when i go prone in the grass, my soldier get stuck under the floor, anyways i know most of these bugs will get patched.

    Oh and another little bug i guess… is when i shoot my rocket launcher on a wall, it dosent make “BOOM” theres just a few sparkles that flies here and there, kinda wierd, isn’t it suppose to exlode on contact with an obvious BOOM? It feels as if the rocket just splashes on the wall without the explosion. Oh! One last question: is there going to be a description for each weapons like in BC/BC2? I like to learn things from the weapons i use!

  • Also any news about Veteran rewards for this game? I have a Veteran rank of 6

  • I’m hoping the beta is an old build of the game. There’s an overwhelming amount of bugs and glitches and at times BF:BC2 looks better than what I’m seeing in the beta. Also things like the tactical flashlight and laser sight need to be looked at. They blind you from 30 feet away, even in the daylight.

    Overall, I’m having a good time with the beta, but I’d have a better time if I was playing conquest and driving some vehicles.

  • @57, I think it is just this map. Just like in BF BC2 most building could be blown up, but not all. The buildings at the end of metro are to big.

  • @59 bakerarmy

    The Veterans reward for BF3 is the M1911, though i think its just an early unlock this time, not an exclusive reward :/

  • WTF some one please help i can’t get online mp in BF3. Im getting this “Unknown error” Are the servers donwn or something? Im in the east coast of America.. =/

  • I know its hard to judge the beta since it is a beta, aside from the fact that it needs a ton of work, if this is any indication to what the final MP game is going to be like then I am passing. From the gecko it felt like I was replaying COD:MW1, i felt nothing Battlefield-ish about the beta unlike the beta for BF2. And also the graphics are VERY VERY FAR from the pics and videos that have been shown, the beta looks like a game from 2007. there was NOTHING that impressed me about the graphics at this stage and being that the game is releasing in 3 weeks, its tough to say. I might end up finally getting KZ3.

  • How about updates to the poor visuals??? It’s not fair that PC gets Real-Life visuals and PS3 (Which has games like Killzone3 & uncharted 3) is left out on these great visuals.

  • still loving killzone

  • DICE Just say that the beta is a post alpha version to test out the servers, internally I know you guys are balancing and polishing up the the ps3 version.

  • MW3? I looked at the multiplayer and it bored me thinking it was DLC for MW2, The only part of that game I would like is the coop stuff, Id buy that by it self.

  • i LOVE BC1 and BC2 and 1943,, play almost daily, but BF3 so MANY PROBLEMS, such POOR visuals and CONTROLS seem dead…,i know its a beta and all but im gonna get refund on pre-order from Gamestop ,,ive been burned too many times and ill just rent on my gamefly account… moneys too tight in my house… Maybe i woludnt be so disapointed if i wasnt pumped up with million dollar visual and gameplay in trailers ive been watchin since E3.. U listening EA… and if i gotta pay to play im really gonna just rent and forget like so many other hyped games lately..

  • I’ve never played a Battlefield game before but my bud on PSN told me about the destruction and stuff and it sounded epic,but it doesn’t seem like he said. Looks like it just chips away at cover. I really wanted to use some vehicles but none yet. Anyway it still seems really good with animation and all. I just might get this and ill be sure to tell my buds. It’s pretty fun too :P

  • Loving the Beta, a few bugs but not trippin cuz i know they gonna get fixed. But eh anyone wanna team up add me though, im a good team player, and good at watchin backs and cover fire.

  • Over all, i enjoied the BF3 beta. At first the graphics weren’t as good as i had anticipated, but after adjusting the brightness it looked alot better. I’m no expert but I did get the feeling that the recoile of the guns could have been lowered a bit. Even when i was lying prone on the ground,perfectly still it seemed too much. Also one time when i deployed on my squadmate who was on the ground, i responed also in a prone position which in general is a good thing, incase we were under heavy fire, but this particular time, i got stuck in the guound causing me to see under the map and be disoriented. i recovered just in time to see an opponet running in my direction,i barely got off a few shots before he killed me. I’m not turned off; i know this is just a beta/not the full game;But i trust that they will address&fix any issues before release

  • I just wanted to say I appreciate all the new changes, but there are alot of things I wish you guys would change. For starters the graphics are just average at best. Having no button mapping options really hurts the gameplay too. I know the latency issues can be fixed, but I still have a funny feeling that the hype behind this train is about as real as Santa. I feel very let down, as I was expecting this game to be the deal breaker fps for this Christmas, as COD is now $100 (to get the full version that is), and I really wanted to not feel left out, but it looks like I’m gonna do without now that I know this game isn’t exactly what I expected.

  • A fun beta. Hopw you guys can fix the main problems like getting separated when making a squad and some of the mic issues

  • Did fell asleep while waiting for the download to finished, will be playing it today after work..and hopefully buying the game this Christmas! wooohhoooo!

  • the beta is awful,DICE I’m disappointed

  • I can’t enjoy the beta because it keeps freezing my PS3, 40 sec into the round!!

  • Liked the beta so far even tho there r a few glitches. Probably getting this day 1.

  • I’m gonna get in trouble for this but I seriously think it looks better on the 360, I’ve tried both beta versions now. The only thing I’ve noticed is the PSN beta servers are fine and the competitor’s beta server has been down most of the time…

    Having said that, there are many issues to be tended to in this beta but that’s what a beta is for right? Really awesome game though!

  • Enjoying the beta so far. Nice work DICE. Not a fan of EA but have always enjoyed the Battlefield series (I hated the music in Battlefield Vietnam though haha).

    Heres one minor suggestion. Please get rid of the junk that flies around on the Metro map. Im not even sure what they are, flying peices of paper? It kind of makes it hard to see, or it distracts you into thinking its a moving enemy. It wouldnt be so bad if there wasnt so much of it. Im talking about the outdoors section mostly even though I think its indoors too. Think they went a little overboard with it.

  • Fix that glitch to get under the map and freely shoot at enemies but enemies cant shoot you. Also my friends end up in the same game but never the same squad when we squad up and join a match.

  • I read that you were listening to console players a lot more this time. You understood that we wanted more players on the field, more in a squad, and more options. I am a console player and I have some requests.
    I know you said “More players is just a promotional gimmick” But I agree with having the “Sweet Spot” of 32-40 players in a game. It offers a lot more variety than getting killed by the same guy, who NOW knows all of my moves. Secondly- I hated the fact that I could only have four players in a squad on BBC2. Four players in a squad feels like preschoolers who lack the proper social skills are forced to sit in a tiny room and are obligated to talk. (lol) Thirdly- Adding the ability to customize button mapping would be great! I don’t feel comfortable with the fact that I have no control over my character in the most important way. I’d like to change my buttons that i feel would make more sense or feel more comfortable. Fourthly- The menus seem a but clumsy and forever. I feel pressured to just pick anything because I might be in the middle of a game or I just lost the patience to figure out how to navigate the menus.
    I hope to see the changes as well as all other fans would like to see. (Diggin’ the Beta!)

  • OOh! And can we have some mood music to add to the atmosphere? Or is that defeating the feeling you guys were going for?

  • fun beta.but i think the guns are a little overpowered. imean it only take like two shots then BOOM. ur dead. i really hope they lower the weapon damage in the final game.mainly because it takes away the main abilities of a medic because unless u get lucky, the medic cant heal u because u already died too fast. and raise the spwn wait time so medics have more time to revive their guys. i mean everytime i try to revive a guy he just spwns again really quickly. soooooo yeah.im just a little worried that this issue wont be fixed. so PLEASE DICE READ this message!!!!!!!

  • Honestly it’s not a “beta” people. It’s a demo. C’mon. Less then thirty days to release and you believe it’s a “beta”? Get real. Honestly though it feels like DICE (or EA (ElectronicArts) just got w-a-y too cheap and afforded to cut corners by not having a real Q&A (Quality and Assurance) with real “testers” whom are paid (handsomly) to find, report and help determine the best way to fix said bugs. The game “may” run better as a whole and even look prettier on a PC (Personal Computer), but the fact remains that this is a seriously sloppy demo to what was supposed to blow our minds (figuratively.) I’m just not impressed by it. As for the amount of players online with terms to the console. I believe both MAG and Resistance2 both would like to state that it can be done and that DICE just got lazy in that regard.

  • yo this thing is dumb im very frustrated because yesterday the beta was playing nice but today i came home and after i pressed start it said it cant connect to ea online and my internet is running fine and not only that but it also freezes my effing ps3 and i gotta restart it i dont know what to do i already deleted it and redownloaded it but it didnt solve the problem is anyone else having this problem?

  • Winning strategies:

    – Don’t fall through the map.

    – Don’t let the game crash on you.

  • The Beta is great in all but what happen to the realistic destruction? Its like you gotta find a sweet spot to put a hole in a wall or building and the rocket explode sound effects are delay or just dont work sometimes…treat us like you are doing the pc players and this game needs a lot of patching up.

  • Please please please. If you are someone who has your mic turned on but you are NOT talking to your team on it and instead have friends in the room you’re chatting to, or you’re just listening to crappy techno music and think it’s so awesome we all need to hear it. PLEASE just stop it already. The only reason games have mic ability is to allow people to communicate and work as a team. Not so we can hear your parents shout at you, or your poor choice in beats.

    I just got done playing some BF3 (btw pc version is so much better, or rather PC = Superior for FPS) and for the whole hour I’m on, some guy has his mic open and you can hear some chick talking to him in the back ground and what sounded like a washing machine. He didn’t ONCE talk about the game in the slightest. WHY oohhh why… is your mic even on? So the whole hour all you hear is this running in the background and the Beta doesn’t even tell you who is talking or how to even mute people. Totally crap.

  • Another thing, I just can’t stand the controller lag of consoles online for FPS. I’m trying to melee someone and it’s happening like a second later. Even when I’m just running along by myself I’m tapping buttons and they are all about a second in delay.

    Now for a PC gamer this is so annoying. The accuracy is so poor too. You see someone you would probably tap your mouse button for like 3-5 rounds and have them die. But on the console the strategy all seems to be sprint, sprint, sprint, sprint SPRAAAAAYYYY… sprint, sprint, sprint. It doesn’t matter if it’s Resistance 3, CoD, BF, Killzone. It just seems that because of inaccuracy and a poor control scheme that well tactics are the same for all games lol.

    Think I’ll stick to playing my FPS’s online on a PC – tad more competitive.

  • Why are you posting PC images?

  • SURE WOULD BE NICE TO TALK TO MY FRIENDS AND STAY IN THE SAME SQUAD…

    Just sayin…

  • And another thing the grenades dont looks like little peeble and the grenades have quick release what happend to the hold then release when you want too or a hold time denotation? This game needs help seriously

  • The beta is awesomw but the squad is messed up i try to makw a squad with my friends and its not working

  • I consider myself the best medic ever :D

    90% of the time i’m in the top 3 of a round regardless of attack or defense.

    my tips for a medic (assault class).

    – ignore your K/D, don’t worry about killing things for anything more than staying alive. Focus on getting objectives, and healing and reviving yourself and team mates. you’ll get far more points from those than just killing things. take all manner of risk to revive your team mates because you get just as many points as a kill.

    – don’t be stingy with the medic box, toss it in the middle of a fire fight and go about your business you’ll get mad points while they shoot each other.

  • – when bombing a node camp there and hide as much as you can, let your team use you as a spawn point and defend the base. also keep them healed an revive accordingly. the same can apply to defense but don’t restrict yourself to a single node when defending unless an attack is obviously immanent.

    – reviving is difficult while standing up, dive down prone next to them for an instant revive, this is also safer.

    – and once again, approach a battle thinking only of hitting objectives and helping anyone out you see, killing is a means to reach that goal.

    using these tips you’ll be at the top of your squad or team pretty much all the time. You could have a K/D of 3/25 and still be at the top (that’s a true story, i was second overall)

  • I downloaded BETA….but NOT completely impressed with it. In terms of graphics….well they suck (just being honest). I understand it’s multiplayer….but I expected more from what’s suppose to be a AAA title. My first clue should’ve been the size of the file….small for a FPS….!! Other than that, gameplay seemed fine but maps reminded me a lot of crysis 2 for some ODD reason. There were lots of jagged textures which, of course, gave way to many cheaters hiding beneath a rock. Go figure. I’m not a call of duty fan….only started playing last year on OPS….but i must say….i much more impressed with what i saw in that game. I might wait a bit on this one and wait for reviews.

  • BTW – if you’re an RPG fan….then you must check out “No Ni Kuni”. That game is gonna rock….!! Reminds me of Lunar in suedo 3D.

  • Enjoying the beta, the game runs amazing. Lot of weapons, unlocks, good graphics, its just good. Good job, i would like to see how bigger maps work on PS3 and vehicles since consoles will get 24 players online but overall it feels amazing, loving it. Getting this day one, already pre ordered long ago

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