If we know one thing that the long history of video games has taught us, it’s that no game, no matter how gripping or enjoyable, is more fun played by yourself than next to a friend. In the realm of competitive online shooters even more so, from Counter-Strike to Halo and indeed Battlefield. So while plenty of gamers have been getting excited for the upcoming Battlefield 3‘s stunning visuals and commitment to realism, there’s no question that some have been holding off judgment until hearing some details on the team’s approach to cooperative gameplay.

Luckily DICE‘s Tommy Rydling has opened up with a few more details on what to expect from co-op, and how it will fit alongside the singleplayer component of Battlefield 3.

While we already know that Battlefield 3 will only allow online co-op, not being able to play split-screen doesn’t mean that you and a friend can’t feel like you’re accomplishing a mission together, or that you’re both playing your way through a cohesive story line. After putting the cooperative mode on display with their Gamescom 2011 gameplay demo, Rydling has gone into more detail, describing what other maps and missions will offer that the ‘Exfiltration’ level didn’t show.

That mission followed a two-man team as they infiltrated a building and escorted a VIP out of the area, and while that kind of straightforward missions design might be easiest to demo at a large event, it seems that’s not all players can expect from BF3 co-op.

As Rydling explained via the PS Blog, the co-op missions will take place in the same ‘world’ as the main campaign, but are being specifically designed to provide a unique and satisfying experience apart from the singleplayer:

“For the most part, the missions in the co-op campaign are asymmetric. This means that one mission can have you piloting a helicopter while your friend is the gunner, for example. Other situations have one player disarming a bomb and the other one defending him. Or (as you could see in our press conference playthrough at gamescom) you can do tandem kills to avoid detection. There are also other mechanics requiring teamwork, such as spotting enemies to make large firefights easier, or the essential concept of reviving one another to avoid ending up at the game over screen.

“The co-op missions in Battlefield 3 all take place in the same world as the single-player campaign, and follow a unique series of events that lead up to an explosive finish. Players in co-op will take the role of soldiers that are not tied to any one particular branch of the Armed Forces. This is an intentional design decision to allow for a vast variety in gameplay in the different co-op missions.”

The changes that reviving and spotting bring to standard gameplay were glimpsed in the co-op demo, but to hear that the developers at DICE are putting as much effort into these modes as the main story leads us to believe that there’s even more impressive missions on the way. And hopefully, the co-op modes will offer a bit more freedom than Battlefield 3‘s campaign.

Battlefield 3 Asymmetrical Coop Missions

There’s no way of missing the fact that Battlefield 3 is set to give Call of Duty one heck of a fight this holiday season, and the cooperative modes may illustrate the largest differences between the two franchises. But while some at publisher Electronic Arts are eager to enter a war of words with Activision, Rydling points out the the developers know the importance of friendly competition. Especially where one-upping friends online is concerned:

“You fight together. You die together. And you score together. After having cleared a co-op mission with your friend, your total combined score will be displayed via Battlelog, our suite of free social features that connect all Battlefield 3 players. Missions are designed to be shorter than single-player missions, so you can easily do multiple rounds in an evening to try and beat your friends’ high score. The best score of your friend will be displayed for each mission, so you know what to aim for.

“Expect to encounter high difficulty: We are definitely going for a tough challenge in all missions. Also, since competitive players will likely try each mission several times, all of the co-op missions contain randomized elements to keep every playthrough fresh. Clearing the co-op missions not only gives you scores and bragging rights — it also has benefits for your multiplayer career. There are a number of weapons that you can unlock in co-op and take with you to the regular multiplayer modes. These unlocks are based on your combined scores accumulated throughout the co-op campaign.”

With a strong narrative for the cooperative mode of BF3, DICE is already one step ahead of Call of Duty‘s SpecOps, but whether the gameplay is strong or inspired enough to beat it outright remains to be seen. Modern Warfare 3 isn’t likely to go down without a fight, but Battlefield 3‘s co-op is becoming one of the more promising features for those who enjoy a replayable shooter.

What do you think of DICE’s approach to designing co-op missions? Would you prefer missions that absolutely require a team to work together to win, or one that offers a wider variety of gameplay styles? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Battlefield 3 will be making its way onto the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 25, 2011. Tell your friends.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: PS Blog