Here’s Why ‘Battlefield 3′ Doesn’t Support Mods

Published 2 years ago by

Over the last several weeks, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time sharing the exciting news surrounding a user-made mod for ARMA 2 called DayZ which with over a million players, is now on its way to becoming a standalone game for developer Bohemia Interactive and the mod’s creator. The ability for the community to build mods extended the life of ARMA 2  just as it does continuously for the PC versions of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Minecraft.

For PC players of Battlefield 3, no such luck.

In the past, several of DICE’s Battlefield games shared similar success stories, dating back to the origins of the franchise with Battlefield 1942 where a group of friends (who formed Trauma Studios) built the infamous Desert Combat mod (video above, skip to 1:40) for the game. That mod – which turned the WWII shooter into one set in present day – was played nearly as much as the actual game, and DICE acquired the indie studio to help build Battlefield 2, a game that also hosted its fair share of mod support where users added missing features from the game, game engine improvements and even total conversions.

Modding allows players to create and play the game the developer cannot or will not make, whether it be moving the gameplay to a different time period, adding or changing weapons/vehicles, or simply building in missing features. Treyarch struck cold in taking its Call of Duty games a little less seriously with the inclusion of zombie mode. For Battlefield, fans hoped that a prank about dinosaurs in the game could become a reality and with mods, they can.

Battlefield 3 dinosaur mode

Why then, if the previous games in the series supported it, and if it’s proving successful for other games (and past BF installments), does DICE and Electronic Arts not support modding for Battlefield 3, a game that represents the company biggest launch ever?

This is what EA’s Patrick Söderlund said to GameStar last summer as the reason why Battlefield 3 will not have mod support:

“Because if you look at the Frostbite engine, and how complex it is, it’s going to be very difficult for people to mod the game, because of the nature of the set up of levels, of the destruction and all those things… it’s quite tricky. So we think it’s going to be too big of a challenge for people to make a mod.”

It’s too complex for the modding community is what Mr. Söderlund said. Watch the full interview for more Battlefield 3 gold, especially the explanation of tactical gameplay involving destructible lights substituting for the lack of a commander role:

This year, the tune has changed slightly and according to DICE GM Karl Magnus Troedsson in discussing the game at GDC Europe last week, the lack of Battlefield 3 mod support is because of two reasons. The first being that they’re afraid of hackers exploiting the code, the second because it’s a multiplatform title and they (inexplicably) want mods to work on consoles as well.

“We’re afraid of all the things that can come with releasing the code.”

“If we do mod support, we want to do it really, really well. We are not ready to do this yet.”

With the Frostbite 2 engine paving the way for a variety of upcoming EA titles and the importance of the Origin online service for the publisher, we can understand the fear of hackers causing an unbalance in multiplayer gameplay if they’re able to exploit the system to their advantage. We also understand that the Origin platform simply isn’t built to include or service modded games, at least not yet.

Battlefield 3 Dinosaur

When it comes to the issue of Battlefield 3 also being a multiplayer title on other platforms, namely the PS3 and Xbox 360, that shouldn’t be a factor. Of course there won’t be mod support for the consoles, they can’t even support the same player counts in the vanilla game from PC to console. It’s a closed system and there are no mods for Minecraft or Skyrim on the consoles either.

The reality is that Battlefield 3 released before it was finished. That’s why more than any previous game in the series, there’s a reliance on heavy patching and DLC. In fact, when BF3 launched the Origin service was untested to the public and still in beta. That doesn’t mean official mod tools can’t come down the line, however.

As Battlefield 3 loses popularity over time and once all of the planned DLC releases have released prior to Battlefield 4, we said before that it’d be smart for DICE to release modding tools to allow for some community passion and creativity. Who knows, maybe by doing so DICE can find a next crop of talent to hire to work on Battlefield 4 or Battlefield: Bad Company 3. If it comes down to that, let’s just hope they last longer than Trauma Studios.

Battlefield 3: Premium Edition (and the Armored Kill DLC) will be available in North America on September 11 and in Europe on September 13 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. PlayStation 3 players will also receive an additional week of early access to all remaining digital expansion packs.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Gamasutra

TAGS: Battlefield 3, DICE, Electronic Arts, Gamescom 2012, PC, PS3, Xbox 360


  • David

    Im confused…are they making dinosaurs? lol

    • Hansukei

      Nah that is the engine. It is like the Unreal Engine where they allow publishers to make there own games with there engine. EA I don’t think has any plans with Dinosaurs.

  • Matt

    Rob’s at it again. 😛

    I call BS on DICE’s reasons for the absence of mod support for BF3. Just allow modding. Even if BF3 is difficult to mod, people will figure it out. You can’t mod console games, so why would DICE hold out for console mod support? The bottom line is: mod support will increase the popularity of BF3, and that’s worth the minor problems that hackers will cause.

    • Rob Keyes

      *High Five*

    • The Avenger

      Completely agree.
      I think Mr. Söderlund underestimates the power of the modern day modder…

      • AngryAlbatross

        Just go take a look at the Steam Workshop or Skyrim Nexus for the absolute titanic amount of amazing Skyrim mods to prove that true.

        Modders can build whatever they want.

        • Rob Keyes


    • mittsde

      Ya because I can’t see a hacker twitching about and causing mass screw ups in servers for fun. Have you been to the older cod games? It’s a good example.

  • mr. wright

    Man people just dont understand, if they allowed modding COD players could hack tje game and ruin it for everyone. Or maybe even steal data that could change COD games forever. Man wth am i saying haha. I just want dinosaur mode so bad haha. Though frostbite engine is a prized posession. Dice isnt gonna let any other company get its hands on it. Imagine if COD had that engine, or made something even more

    • Spider-Abu

      lol I see what you’re getting at….I never thought of that before, really, but yeh I guess if they do release the code and mod tools, other companies could get ideas and might use some of DICE’s techniques or technical features in their own engines or games or w/e…it’s like they’re hiding some mysterious golden possession that no one has found out about, except them, and they are trying to learn to use it properly first before showing how it works to others. Lol, or they could just be too lazy to do it or just plain scared of hackers getting the code and making private servers for pirates to play—then lost sales—EA wouldn’t like that at all and would ditch PC gaming even more. Mehh, I really want that Dino mod…I’d pay 15$ for that 😛

  • AngryAlbatross

    Origin…Origin, Origin, Origin. A worthless pile of crap that simply gets in the way of doing anything. Since its start all Origin has ever done for me is take 5 minutes to start, then freezes up for five minutes, nearly crashes, get fulled loaded, freeze again, then finally work…slowly. And it’s virtually the same for my friends. I’ll stick with Steam, at least when it has problems they can be worked around, or ignored and they’ll fix themselves.

    • ATG

      Hmm… I don’t have that issue.

  • ATG

    I’m cool with this game being modless.

  • John

    EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Bioware, Activision all these studios are now just another corporation. Where share holder profits are the #1 priority and the customer doesnt matter as long as they buy the junk we put out..

    I used to buy games without reading reviews but since 2005 I have wasted hundreds of dollars on buying games with out reading reviews.

    A few of the video game purchases I have made in the last year.

    The Old Republic(waste of $150+ on game and sub fees played for 3 months0
    Skyrim(worth it Bethesda has made my shit list of major publishers/producers yet)
    Diablo 3(it was fun but turned out to be a waste of money)
    Madden 12( its the only NFL football game on the market)
    Anno 2070(ubisofts 24/7 online drm crap game thankfully I only spent $10 for it on steam)
    Mass Effect 3(fun game until the ending, wtf is this crap Bioware, even with the free dlc ending)

  • Ruwazgrcodg

    EA really shouldnt down talk the fans, saying it may be to complicated feels like an insult to me. I swear if DICE left EA it would be the best decision they ever made

  • jielm

    I realy hope mods will be possible in the future. It’s better hackers actualy does something fun istead of cheating and ruin the game for the rest of us

  • Xec

    This guy is provoking hackers all over the world to unhack all features of the game just so he knows what they are capable of. Lets count the days of battlefield three original.

  • Boxx

    Whats makes a FPS wargame popular is – in my opinion – the MOD feature and a set of eg. a relative easy-to-use map editor, etc.

    Take a look at BF1942 and BF 2. Still relative popular and fun after so many years.

    However – EA makes no money on long-lasting games, and this may be the real reason for their mod-reluctance.

  • bUQ

    Lol look at CryEngine more advanced than Frostbite and easier to use…

  • Wonthappen

    Won’t happen, Dice was hijacked by corporate freaks who understand the real world. People are stupid, easy to manipulate, and the majority will always be there to buy cheap crap giving no incentive to game producers to actually put efforts or talent into the making of game. Hollywood make 90% of its profit with terrible movies and s***-faced actors. Don’t be all surprised that capitalism wrecks video-game, capitalism wrecks everything and makes you, the crock of s*** who’s not smart enough to realize that EA and Activision could be making chairs, its no different to them. Its about money, never will be about gamer experience again, that was back in the day when the industry was still marginal and full of passion, and also COMPASSION FOR WHAT THE CUSTOMER PAYS. EA has no f***ing ethics, quit trying to pretend like their not the biggest a-holes in the industry right now.

  • Artilleryboy

    its because they want to sell dlc’s. They dont want to loose a potential profit to player made addons because they only produce and sell shitty dlc’s and players prefer mods, their quality and freedom over the shittiness and linearity of dlc’s.

  • JackDriver

    Yeah, the engine is advanced, which is why one guy managed to implement Jets and Bots into Bad Company 2. Youtube it.

    They don’t want mod support because Dice wants to sell DLC’s, and EA wants to cash in by preventing homebrew support, and making their own content. Basically controlling creativity. They can’t make $$$ from homebrew, so they DLC it.

    Dice will never release the mod tool kit for Battlefield 3+4 and others because EA won’t allow them, and because they don’t want to, no matter how fans want them to pester about it.

    At least they should release the source code of Battlefield 2 that uses the Refractor 2 Engine, an outdated 2005-esque gaming engine so that people who mod the game can have more freedom, and also there’s no losses since Gamespy servers apparently shutdown, so there’s no reason why not to release the code.
    Sure, there’s Battlefield Play for free, but that thing sucks anyway. If Dice listens to me, release the source code. No problems.

  • xmodder