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Battlefield 3: 'DLC should be about giving players something new'

DICE says asking users to pay for "the same thing over and over again isn't the way to treat players"

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Looking at the popularity of the maps we have in Battlefield 3, the tight infantry maps are actually the most popular ones, so you can't really use data either to prove we're doing something wrong here. On top of that, if you don't like it you can go back and play Strike at Karkand or the original maps from Battlefield 3, so I would at least give it a shot and see what it means.

The Close Quarters DLC will actually make you a better player on the other maps because you'll learn stuff that you would never have the chance to learn in those maps as they're not tailored to this experience, so to me this is a great training ground for the twitch skill and the fast-moving and high-paced gameplay.

You've spoken before about favouring expansions over "piecemeal" DLC, but what is it you feel you do well to retain players? I know a lot of people who think Call of Duty does a good job of keeping users engaged with regular content updates like new maps each month.

Zoom

I think we just have a fundamentally different view on what map packs or DLC should be. To me it's about expanding the experience, about giving players something new, instead of giving players the same map with a new graphical layer on it, a map with new lighting. To me that's not a new experience, and I think to us that's key, because when you're paying for it you should get something new, whether its weapons or maps or anything else. Just paying to get the same thing over and over again to me isn't the way to treat the players.

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PS3 Battlefield 3 owners have had some benefits like early access to DLC, but select players have also suffered problems such as input lag and voice chat issues. Why do you think these problems have occurred and has DICE been quick enough to address them and open enough with the community about them?

First of all, just because it's in a forum doesn't make it our top priority. There are things that we've been fixing that have been way, way worse than the things you've brought up, and we have to make decisions on fixing the most important things first. Regarding vocal people on the internet, the statistics we get from the game often prove that certain things aren't true, and it's really hard to tell sometimes.

Or that they're in the minority?

Yes, not always but in some cases, and I think it's important for people to understand that it's not that we aren't caring, it's just that we can't always tell people that they're wrong, because people have the right to feel whatever they feel, but that doesn't make it right for everyone. It's interesting that you brought up the input lag, which has been a really hard thing for us to fix, but in this expansion pack we're actually fixing it. I didn't want to bring it up as a feature, but we are improving it quite significantly, and hopefully players who have felt it before will feel the difference, that it feels much snappier and gives better feedback, so we're definitely listening.

Zoom

And on the voice chat functionality, we've been working on it and I think we'll probably have the perfect solution very, very soon. It's very hard to fix between the combination of the built-in systems and our systems, and it's not that easy to just make it a priority over everything else because it will affect the rest of the game.

As we approach the back end of the current console generation publishers appear less willing to invest money in new IPs, so we're seeing lots of sequels, sometimes on an annual basis. In the shooter genre, particularly in the military sub-genre, a number of games seem to be following a broadly similar template, with a cinematic single player campaign, multiplayer with levelling, unlocks and killstreaks, and maybe a co-op component thrown into the mix. Do you think there's still room for innovation in the shooter genre this generation and how do you think Battlefield's exploiting that?

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