More than a few titles have been released since Battlefield 2, with Bad Company 2 being the last to carry the franchise name. But with the certified follow-up, DICE is proving that the time has not been spent twiddling their thumbs.
The entirely new Frostbite 2 engine has been built to make the game possible, and seeing the engine in action is a sign of good things to come. What matters in shooters is how the power of the platform and the engine used, and if there were any doubts that Battlefield 3 would bring revolutionary visual quality, the latest gameplay trailer has put them to rest.
With Call of Duty and other franchises seeming to have found their comfort zone where graphics and game design are concerned, DICE is determined to innovate. Black Ops was the latest shooter to bring some interesting storytelling to the cinematic franchise, but its artificial intelligence and cutscenes were still the standard fare.
Some might say that the graphics seen in the trailer were provided by an insanely-expensive gaming rig that could never be duplicated at home, but DICE General Manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has made it clear that they plan on dominating the competition by beating them on every console and platform:
"We are gearing up for a fight and we're here to win...Where other shooters are treading water Battlefield 3 innovates. Frostbite 2 is a game-changer for shooter fans. We call it a next-generation engine for current-generation platforms."
If the gameplay revealed is a sign of the next generation, then it can't get here soon enough. Fans of the series don't have to worry about DICE changing their winning formula of giving players choices during combat, as the new engine will only add to the overall experience.
If you've had enough of corridors and linear gameplay, then you'll be happy to hear the team's goals for the game, as explained by executive producer Patrick Bach:
"We wanted to create the most immersive and emotionally powerful Battlefield game ever and we needed new technology to deliver on our vision.
"Battlefield 3 preserves the franchise's signature sandbox style and even brings back classic fan favourites like jets, going prone and 64-player multiplayer on PC."
The fact that Bach explicitly names "emotionally powerful" as one of the qualities that the team is striving for is a major indication that the team isn't resting on visuals alone to sell game. If the game can simulate the real world, then that makes it much easier to be pulled into the story being told, and a better experience hinges on just that.
Hopefully the game can live up to the expectations of both publisher and developer, and actually claim the title of the 'Call of Duty-killer.' In that regard, Battlefield 3 couldn't be coming out at a better time, with the studios, development, and entire future of the various CoD series somewhat up in the air.
We now know that DICE is getting ready for a fight, so maybe their competition would be wise to do the same. And no matter who loses, fans of quality shooters are sure to win.
Battlefield 3 will be coming later this year to the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.