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E3 2011's Most Anticipated: Battlefield 3

CVG E3 2011 Awards: Vote for the games that most excite you!

The games on show at E3 2011 are some of the best in living memory. So you really owe it to yourself to vote in CVG's inaugural E3 2011 Awards... in the Most Anticipated Title category.

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Shortly before the show, we'll work out which of these 60 special E3 game previews have enjoyed the most page views, Facebook 'Likes', ReTweets and poll votes (see below) and crown our first victor of the Los Angeles event there and then. Show your favourites the love!

Game: Battlefield 3
Publisher: EA
Likelihood of E3 2011 showing: Certain

Nobody actually says the words 'Call Of Duty' as we talk to Karl-Magnus Troedsson, DICE general manager and Battlefield 3 overseer, at the company's Stockholm HQ. Still, the shadow of Activision's first person shooter behemoth - Battlefield's most prominent rival - hangs over our interview like a poisonous cloud.

"Our competitors are getting a bit lazy," he remarks, pointedly. "They're using the same engine, the same recipe for building a game. At some point you need to take that leap and change things a bit. I haven't seen them take that kind of risk for a long time. We are doing that now. They had better watch out. We are coming for them."

If anyone else was saying this, we'd scoff. But this isn't just anyone: it's DICE, veterans of the shooter circuit for over a decade and - from what we've seen today - packing the muscle to back up the fighting talk. And the muscle has a name: Frostbite 2.0.

"It's going to be a huge step forward," says Troedsson, extolling DICE's new engine. "We're putting forward a brand new engine in the middle of a hardware cycle, and that is fuelled by a very strong need: we want to beat the current number one and we want to take that position.

IN THE BUNKER
The proof of DICE's intent comes in a demo room in the bowels of their Stockholm HQ. Here, we're treated to the universe's first glimpse of Battlefield 3. DICE executive producer Patrick Bach fires up the disc, grinning like a kid.

He's clearly been looking forward to this. "This is not Bad Company 3," he proclaims. "This is a game we've been thinking about for a long, long time. The ultimate Battlefield." Hell, yeah.

The demo begins and we're in a truck with four US Marines on their way to investigate the disappearance of a squad of comrades - so far, so familiar. They're yapping about not paying taxes - colloquial banter reminiscent of the Bad Company spin-offs.

But then those truck doors open, and all memory of the previous titles evaporates in a blast of dazzling Iranian sunlight. "We've spent a lot of years building the Frostbite 2.0 engine," Bach continues.

"The goal for us is to create next-gen technology and emotions on current gen platforms." If by that he means the best damn lighting we've ever seen then he's smack on the money. As the squad moves smoothly through the narrow streets, shafts of sunlight slice through gaps between the overhead high-rises, illuminating particles of dust and reflecting dynamically off roadside puddles. It looks astonishing.

Art director Gustav Tilleby is the man behind Battlefield 3's striking visuals. "Deferred rendering is a technique we've implemented with Frostbite 2.0," he tells us. It's the same tech behind the exceptional looks of Killzone 3 and LittleBigPlanet 2. "This gives a totally different level of realism and quality."

Tilleby's not kidding. Plaster peels away from parched brick houses and streets are caked in grime. It's dirty, coarse, believable and packed with detail - light bounces realistically off bleached walls, casting deep shadows that are mercifully free of jagged edges.

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