We know that despite a stellar trailer showcasing the intricacies of Battlefield 3’s single player campaign, developer DICE will be putting the brunt of their focus on multiplayer. What we don’t know yet (it’s still early obviously) is how that multiplayer will work: will it be primarily objective based, will it feature a level progression — things of that nature.
What we do now know however, is just how many players DICE would like to feature for any given multiplayer game. The answer, though a bit surprising, speaks volumes about the type of experience Battlefield 3 is poised to deliver.
While other multiplayer titles that tried to follow in Battlefield’s footsteps, most recently MAG, have tried to up the player count to staggering numbers, DICE made it quite clear that they are actually keeping the number of players that can participate in a multiplayer match relatively low.
They did try out much larger numbers, but, as DICE CEO Patrick SÃ¶derlund explains, they wanted to shoot for whatever number made the game fun.
“A lot of people ask us about 64 versus 128 or 256 players. Technically, we can go to 256, we’ve tried it. We play tested with 128. You’ve got to make a game that’s fun to play. And, arguably, we think that the most fun you can have is when it’s between 32 and 40 players. And we’ve done substantial research into this and tested 128 and that it’s not fun. Maybe we haven't done our design work good enough, but we just feel like there's no point in going higher than 64.”
Obviously this number is still much larger than what can be found in the more popular matches seen in Call of Duty or Halo: Reach, but it’s still surprising to hear that Battlefield 3, with all of its amazing graphical power and being a "multiplayer first" experience, wouldn’t try to push player capacity to the limit.
The expectation is, with a lower a player count, DICE can focus on the delicate art of balancing each and every map within the game and making each mode within the multiplayer feel as enjoyable as the next. Sure, it would be something to be in the midst of the closest thing to a full-scale battle in video game form, but participating in a polished experience will always win out.
It’s going to be some time, we would imagine — probably once our collective jaws our picked up off the floor — before DICE moves past showing off the single player and delivers some substantial multiplayer info. Whenever they do, we hope it takes the Battlefield series into some bold new territory, but keeps many of the elements gamers have come to love.
Which would you prefer: 128-man battles or a smaller scale 32 vs. 32 matchup? What other areas would you like to see DICE make some unexpected design choices?
Battlefield 3 is set for a Fall 2011 release on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Source: Atomic PC