In our previous issue of PSM3, we visited Battlefield 3 developer DICE, all the way out in Stockholm.
The result was a 10-page, hands-on verdict of 2011's hottest shooter, but that wasn't all. We also sat down with executive producer Patrick Bach and multiplayer lead designer Lars Gustavsson for an in-depth chat about their plans.
Over these two interviews we discover that Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 'aren't even the same sport', find out why DICE's QA testers are encouraged to fight dirty (read cheat) and discover that we've only seen the tip of the beautiful iceberg that is the Frostbite 2 engine. Here are both interviews, in full, for your reading pleasure...
Interview 1 - Patrick Bach
PSM3: Many see BF Bad Company 2 as the best multi-player on PS3. How far do you go in changing a winning formula?
Patrick Bach: Well, that's the winning question, actually. We are still striving to build a Battlefield game, so we would never do anything to wiggle the levers and change the core experience. I think Bad Company 2 is a great example of us getting more and more right, and it really set us down the path we're on now - we just want to make the best Battlefield experience we can. We have no urge to innovate for the sake of innovation - we just want to move the genre forward by making the core Battlefield gameplay more intense, a more physical experience, where your presence on the battlefield is clearer. We want to explore destruction, we want to explore animation, lighting... to make an even more vivid experience. Then we want to deepen the experience with persistence, unlock trees, ranking up. We basically want to take what we have and make it better.
PSM3: So you're looking to be 'best in genre' rather than reinventing shooters?
PB: Absolutely. We don't want to make any other game than Battlefield. We're not trying to copy anyone else. We have built so many Battlefield games now that we know what it is, we know what it should be. So we're both trying to capture that real Battlefield essence, and widen the appeal at the same time. We want to make it more accessible for new players and deepen the experience for veterans. We have a lot of avid fans who have been playing for hours - we don't want to get rid of them and focus on another group of people - they are still our core audience, and they're the people we want to please first.
PSM3: It must be difficult to keep both sets happy, right?
PB: We initially thought it would be hard, but the more we make, we're finding out that it isn't. The core formula is quite simple - if you want to just pick up a gun, run around and shoot stuff, then you can do that. If you learn to support by spotting and handing out ammo, then you can still get a lot of points from just helping out. There are a lot of people who play online who just aren't that fast, and they don't like the whole twitch-style shooting, but they still have a role on the battlefield because the 'rock-paper-scissors' gameplay we have caters for that. Then there are the vehicles. We have people who only want to play as a tank pilot, or they only want to fly a jet, and they can do that. That's the brilliance of the Battlefield concept, and I think we've definitely caught that with Battlefield 3. We know what makes the game great, and we know what to avoid changing - it's something we've really done well at with our last few games. I'm not worried we're going to lose players with Battlefield 3 - I just see a big opening for more people to come on board and enjoy it.