When compared to the Bad Company off-shoot, DICE’s Battlefield 3 is obviously much more gritty and realistic than its tongue-in-cheek, outrageous counterpart. Authenticity in first person shooters nowadays can be a very important factor in creating a much better atmosphere for a player to enjoy. There have been several FPS games in the past few years that focused on creating a realistic simulation while also delivering intense action, but the developers of Battlefield 3 are going about the challenge in a very different way.
From the E3 footage of Battlefield 3 and the various trailers released, it’s clear that the team at DICE is making a photo-realistic presentation one of their top priorities. But with newly announced co-op features and a seriously impressive multiplayer portion, DICE is making sure all their bases are covered.
The military shooter genre is a packed one, after all, and many gamers this fall will be measuring BF3 against Modern Warfare 3, even if the developers don’t believe in the rivalry. From what we’ve seen so far, the developers of BF3‘s commitment to realism is the deciding factor, which is no coincidence.
Whether or not the authenticity factor in BF3 will be all that important in the long run, it will surely make for a much more engaging game. Especially if you have acclaimed author and former Special Air Serviceman Andy McNab as your military adviser.
Battlefield 3’s executive producer Patrick Bach, in speaking to EDGE magazine, discussed what McNab has been adding to the game:
“Andy McNab has been working with us for quite some time now, talking to our writers about authenticity when it comes to mission structures…We’re selling fun, and he doesn’t come from fun, but he understands the connection between his experience and the fantasy that we want people to live through our game. He’s a really, really nice guy, and extremely useful to the animator. He knows everything from the fire rate of any particular gun to what mortars actually sound like depending on the propellant you use – there are so many details he knows about. We have some gun nuts here in the office, but they were like, wow, this guy knows his s**t.”
Anyone who enjoys their military history will undoubted know Andy McNab as author of Bravo Two Zero and military adviser for Michael Mann’s Heat. With 17 years of experience under his belt, 9 with the SAS, McNab is more than qualified for the job. It’s almost immediately evident what McNab’s information has provided for DICE, as seen in the Frostbite 2 showcase video.
One thing DICE wants to avoid is having realism be connected to authenticity, as the two can be mutually exclusive. A decision regarding the game’s story and implying any kind of potential controversy from creating a narrative that could be viewed as a parallel with current-day happenings. Bach explains:
“We’re not trying to base it on any political or religious conflict – controversy is probably a good marketing tool, but we make games. Our goal isn’t to make controversy…We are trying to stay away from things that are real – authentic and real don’t have to be the same thing.”
With the current political motivation of pulling troops out of the Middle East, the story for Battlefield 3 taking place in 2014 should be viewed, like most modern day games, as speculative fiction. Avoiding insult in video games can be delicate sometimes and occasionally, some individuals may be offended by certain events that appear.
Perhaps in the case of Battlefield 3, a simple story of US forces engaging the enemy over various countries might be the best thing, linearity be damned.
Battlefield 3 will be releasing on October 25, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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