We catch up with executive producer Patrick Bach from DICE to talk about all things Battelfield 3, but especially about the upcoming DLC.
Battlefield 3 was highly successful, well received. What do you think was the turning point for Battlefield in this iteration?
It's really hard to say what the turning point was for Battlefield 3 since we've developing it for quite some time, we had these ideas of what we wanted to achieve, we wanted to create a great game. Battlefield is all about playing war so we wanted to be the best shooter experience on the market and I think we're really close to being there.
How has the multiplayer affected the gameplay?
I think, in general, Battlefield has always been about the big, open landscapes and vehicles and team-play and now when we're adding all of these elements on top of it, like destruction for instance, we're adding a new dimension to first person shooters that truly changes the way you play the game, so we are trying to move the boundaries of what is possible for the Battlefield franchise with the things we did for Battlefield 3, so again, like you said, it's been a very successful product for us.
As far as DLC is concerned, there is a lot more support this time. What can you tell us about the upcoming DLC, including Close Quarters?
So we released the Back to Karkand expansion pack which was very popular and was of course a classic Battlefield 2 map. Now with Close Quarters, which is our next expansion pack, we are moving indoors, we're focusing on destruction, the fast paced action we can have with the weapons and the gunplay of Battlefield 3. We're proving that Battlefield has a wide spectrum of gameplay and going indoors we started to do in Battlefield 3 and now we're expanding on that experience. Of course, after that, we'll release Armoured Kill which is all about big open landscapes, all about vehicles, you could call it the classic Battlefield experience. It's quite the opposite of what Close Quarters is. We're also announcing that we're releasing yet another [expansion] pack called End Game, but then again I'm not revealing any information on that.
Obviously we're from Arabic Gamers and we wondered what made you choose that region, what made you choose that setting?
Well in Battlefield 3 we're in many regions, one of them is the Middle East and especially Iran. The reason for that is that we're trying to create a "what-if" scenario, more of a fictional, hypothetical scenario; "what if this happened?". There are people around the world that do crazy things and what would happen if someone did something strange in this area? It's also always and interest region to do and there are some really beautiful and interesting environments to play Battlefield in. We're hearing from a lot of fans that they want us to come to their region and create Battlefield. Our fans want us to be in their region because they want to play in an environment they know about and they feel at home in. We'll see what happens in the future.
So these aren't politically driven stories? How would feel about going back in time and doing a, I don't know, Gulf War story for example?
Battlefield has never been about recreating something that was real. It's more about the fantasy and playing the fiction of the "what-if" scenario. Of course you want it to be slightly connected to real-world events, but we would never - in a Battlefield game - create something that is based on real events. We would never try to use a political reason or real reason why we would have a Battlefield played out in that region. That's not what Battlefield is all about.
Were you surprised to see how well Battlefield actually did the Middle East?
It's a surprise that it did great in the whole world, but even in the Middle East it's been very, very successful, especially compared to other Battlefield titles and other games that I know about, so it is surprising in one way, but it's also very natural because it's a great game and we know people around the world like to play these types of games. Especially when you have all the teamwork and all the variation you have in a Battlefield game. So if you look at the people of the different regions there is no doubt that Battlefield is popular even in the Middle East.
Obviously bandwidth is an issue as are restrictions on things like Steam, Xbox LIVE accounts and PlayStation Network accounts in the Middle East. Is it frustrating for a studio like DICE to try to get DLC out in the Middle East?
Well to us Battlefield in its core is a multiplayer game. It's a multiplayer online game and of course there are minimum requirements to be able to play this game. Of course we want people to have a good connection so that they have a flawless, perfect experience when they play online. So to us having a good internet connection and having a good infrastructure is the core of the gameplay experience, so yes, absolutely.
What is it about the DLC, not the Battlefield 3 DLC, that you are most proud of personally?
It's really hard to pinpoint different things, but I think we did some really great stuff with the DLC for Battlefield 1942, we did some great expansion packs for Battlefield 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam was brilliant and I think Back to Karkand is also proving the point that Battlefield, even in the old days; back in the Battlefield 2 days, had some great maps and you can actually use that same experience again and refresh it with new technology and all the new features. So there's a lot of success stories when it comes to expansion packs in the Battlefield series and we're continuing down that path.
We have to talk about Frostbite. We know that the next iteration, Frostbite 2 was used in Battlefield 3 and in other EA first person shooters. What do you think has made that engine so successful?
I think the key to the Frostbite 2 success is that it doesn't focus on one particular area. It actually focuses on many areas and also supports what Battlefield is all about. If you can build a Battlefield game you can build any game. It's not only about the rendering that's amazing, it's not really just about the animations of the people which is amazing, it's not only about the audio even though we win awards and it's amazing audio; and it's not only about all the other things which make it easy to work with, it's actually about all these things together. it's about moving everything one step further, going into the next generation on this generation of platforms. So to me, Frostbite's win is the width of the actual engine and how easy it is to use.
Check out our EA event video from a few weeks ago to find out more about this and other games this year.