So, expect the likes of Rush and Conquest to make a comeback, probably accompanied by a new mode born from the devs experiences making Medal Of Honor online. We doubt anyone would complain if the core multi-player concept was largely copied over from Bad Company 2 into Battlefield 3 - a year after release it's still filling servers and delighting an ever growing fan-base.
What will ring the biggest changes in how we play Battlefield online is, again, the technology. Frostbite 2 offers incredible possibilities for destruction, allowing players to smash the entire level apart in a way that even Red Faction would be envious of.
Meanwhile, troops are now animated by EA's ANT engine, used in the company's incredible-looking sports titles, to give each fight an extra layer of realism. This leap in tech has now allowed the devs to introduce the prone stance in multi-player without compromising or unbalancing the core gameplay.
How? No-one likes a camper in COD, lying in the dark corner of a room, covering the only entrance. Try that in Battlefield 3 and you'll get a short, sharp RPG coming through the wall. No more cover, no more camping.
The ANT tech is also powering a signifi cant but sensible change to the medic class (all four classes are making a comeback, although there will be alterations to the way they're loaded out). Now medics can drag downed allies to cover before reviving them, while the fallen player can provide a certain amount of cover using a pistol.
It's a small change, but one that makes the basic multi-player dynamics that much more interesting. Similarly, DICE are looking to improve spotting. For those who don't know, Battlefield multi-player is heavily team-skewed, so it's as much about communicating with your allies as shooting your enemies.
Spotting is where you line up an enemy in your cross-hairs and hit a button to 'tag' them for your whole team. Now everyone will see that enemy because a red triangle appears over their head for a few seconds - handy if they duck behind cover or go out of the effective range of your current weapon.
In Battlefield 3 the team are looking at creating a way of spotting that not only shows position, but distance too - essentially a 3D marker. Again, a tiny improvement that could make a huge difference Expect more improvements, small and significant, to make themselves known as we approach launch, this November.
EA have promised a multi-player Beta too - likely to hit around summer - which you'll already be enlisted for if you bought the Medal Of Honor special edition. For now, we're left with more questions than answers, but DICE seem to know exactly what they're doing with Battlefield 3.
The console versions might be a 'scaled down' version of early PC footage (but still 'amazing'), suggest DICE, but its threat to Call of Duty has never been larger.
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