PSM3: Can a modern FPS survive without a both a high-quality story and multi-player?
PB: It's certainly getting harder and harder, because there has been an inflation in what people expect from a game. If you pay £50 for something you demand the full package, because otherwise you can always buy another game that'll give you more hours of entertainment. Plus, you've got two very different types of players - some want to get immersed in the single-player experience, while others want to jump in and spend hundreds of hours in multi-player. Some people who played Bad Company 2 for example, just played the campaign and never started the multi-player. Then there were others who just jumped into the online and never played the story. So, although some will spend their £50 and only play one part of the game, I think you need to have both parts. It's certainly not impossible to survive as a pure multi or single player game now, but it's much, much harder than it was even a couple of years ago.
PSM3: So, you're having a drink with friends. They own a games console, but they only buy FIFA and Call Of Duty every year because their mates tell them to. How do you convince them to buy into Battlefield?
PB: Something we hear a lot from people who haven't actually played Battlefield is that they would like a modern day first-person shooter, with everything you have in other games, but with vehicles and proper destruction. They say "That would be awesome". And I say "Well, you can buy that game today..."
I think it's the fact that people don't know about Battlefield, which is the problem, rather than the quality of the gameplay or the excitement it offers. Awareness is our biggest concern right now, and we've certainly taken great steps towards that with Bad Company 2 and what we've shown of Battlefield 3 so far. This is the game everyone says they want to play, but relatively few have actually played it. So, it makes us sad when we hear that, but we understand that most people just don't hear about games in the same way we do as enthusiasts. They don't read the same magazines, visit the same websites, watch the same TV - and often if it doesn't go beyond games-focused media, you just don't hear about it.
Interview 2 - Lars Gustavsson
PSM3: With such a committed fan base, do you have to look extra hard at every feature you change from both Battlefield 2, and Bad Company 2, going into BF3?
Lars Gustavsson: Definitely. We've made mistakes in our history where we've changed things because we thought it'd make for a better game, but we soon realised that once we'd shipped that game it belongs to the community - so if we hear a unified voice, or hear about a clear imbalance we have to change it. The way people play Battlefield becomes what the game is.
PSM3: One thing that surprised me was that you've blended the Assault and Medic class. Why did you do that?
LG: Our main thinking with the medic class is that we want more people in the game, playing, than sat in the spawn menu. So, the more chances we give team mates to help with things like revives, the better. We constantly evaluate where people are on the battlefield - and as we saw it in Bad Company 2, Medics were rarely equipped to be on the real frontline. It was the Assault class that people took to the front, so it seemed natural to combine the two. Of course we're doing a lot of testing and balancing, because we don't want to create some kind of super-class. But at the end of the day our motto is 'Play your way' - so you can alter your set-up to be more Assault than Medic or vice-versa, by swapping different parts of your kit all the way down to rifle attachments and things like that. Finding your preferred set-up will be a big part of the Battlefield 3 experience.